How to Plant a Tree: Eight Steps to Successful Tree Planting

Ready to plant a tree, but not sure how? Follow these eight steps to get your new tree or shrub off to a great start. Trees can add beauty and economic value to your property.

1. Dig A Large Planting Hole

The planting hole for your tree or shrub should be as deep as the root ball and twice as wide. It’s better to put a $100 tree in a $200 hole than a $200 tree in a $100 hole.

2. Prune Sparingly

Prune only broken branches from the top of the tree, making sure to leave the branch collar. Allow an entire season of growth before starting corrective pruning.

3. Prepare The Hole and Soil

Fill the hole with good, rich native soil, and wait until the tree or shrub is well-established to fertilize it. Absolutely do not apply high-nitrogen fertilizer – it can burn the tender roots.

4. Place The Tree At The Proper Height

Add enough soil to the bottom of the planting hole to bring the tree to its original soil-line growing level.

5. Fill The Hole Gently But Firmly

If the tree or shrub is balled or wrapped in burlap, cut and remove the string or wire from the hole. Spread the roots out, fill the hole by gently firming the earth around the tree to hold it in place, and water the planting hole to eliminate air pockets.

6. Stake The Tree, But Only If Necessary

Staking a tree can damage the bark, so it should be avoided when possible and only done if the tree is too tall to stand on its own or has a weak root system, as in dwarf fruit trees.

7. Add Mulch

Two to four inches of leaf litter, straw, shredded bark and twigs, peat moss, or wood chips will conserve soil moisture and protect roots from heat and cold. Spread mulch in a circle up to three feet wide; keep the mulch a few inches from the trunk.

8. Water Regularly

Regular watering during the growing season is essential to help your tree develop a strong root system. Keep the soil moist but not soaked. A good watering every 7 to 10 days should be adequate.

Selecting and Planting Trees and Shrubs

We can recommend, provide, and plant trees and shrubs that create the look you desire, are well suited to the growing conditions in your yard, and match the level of maintenance you prefer.

Want Expert Help?

Contact us for help selecting and planting trees and shrubs for your yard or property.

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now. Chinese Proverb