Picture a flattened bowler hat. The young tree is planted in a mound slightly above the level of the ground, surrounded by a saucer-like moat to collect rainwater. That’s the goal.
Let’s back up to the start. A bareroot tree – it’s too late to plant one now, you would have had to have done that a month or so ago – goes in the ground as soon as it arrives. If you’re not ready right away, keep the tree cool, in the shade, and the roots moist, either in a bucket filled with water or well packed in moisture-retaining material like leaf mould or shredded paper. A bareroot tree is dormant – it has no or very minimal leaf growth.
A potted tree, which will by now have foliage, can go in at any time. If your new planting gets overtaken by drought, extra care is needed: a temporary shelter to shield it from the blazing sun, a daily soak, and a daily misting. Now and into June, there should be no problem planting a container tree and while regular care is a good idea, if the planting has been done right (see below, especially the mulching part) and there is reasonable precipitation, the tree should be in good shape to survive if you have to plant and leave. Read more