1. Don't plant close to a building, sidewalk or driveway. Your little baby could end up forty feet tall depending on the variety, and the roots will seek out and destroy your sidewalk or foundation in short order.
2. Don't plant where the tree or shrub will be shaded for a good part of the day by other large trees. This is especially important if you transplant in the early spring before the leaves come out. Imagine your yard in full leaf, keep the angle of the sun in mind, and then choose where to transplant the new tree or shrub.
3. Dig a big hole. This hole should be twice as wide and twice as deep as the root ball of the new plant. Replace six inches of this dirt with well-rotted manure or compost in the bottom of the hole. Place two inches of soil on top of these amendments.
4. Use a shot of nutrition when you first transplant. Ask your local greenhouse or extension service what kind of fertilizer is recommended for each specific plant. You may need something as simple as a Vitamin B Upstart. Do not over fertilize, please.
5. If your new tree or shrub came in a pot from the greenhouse, remove it from the pot by gently tapping on the bottom. Be careful to not damage the baby. If roots are growing out the bottom drainage holes, trim the pot away with a sharp knife without cutting the roots off.
6. Place the root ball in the hole with the crown at ground level (not above or below ground level). Firm the soil well around the roots but please don't step on it to compact. Water thoroughly. If the dirt settles, add more dirt on top. Keep your new tree or shrub well watered for at least the first two weeks, and then you can ease up to less frequent watering.
7. Make a “moat” around your new tree or shrub. Dig a three inch deep, 6 inch wide trench about 2 feet away from the trunk or main plant. Fill with well rotted compost if you like. This trench helps to guide water toward your plant, and you can fill it in at the end of the season.
8. Prune the new plant appropriately. Look up information on the specific transplant, or ask your greenhouse adviser or your local extension service. Some pruning is beneficial for most trees and shrubs in the first year.
9. Don't fertilize trees and shrubs in the fall. Only fertilize in the spring when they are starting new growth. Apply fertilizer after you have watered the plant thoroughly.
10. Hang a bar of hand soap on the lower branches to help keep deer and other pesky animals away. If the soap has a strong, pretty smell, it will bother the deer.
Finally, for better winter protection, give all your trees, shrubs, and perennial flowers a good drink of water just before first frost. Aim for the roots and avoid any foliage. This may help eliminate winter kill and ground heave on the new roots.