Tree Planting Tips and Steps

To get a healthy tree started on your property, follow these basic tree planting tips and steps.

  • Tree Planting
    Some of the most important tree planting tips to remember are to consider your soil and choose the right site.

  • Tree Planting

In general, the best time to plant a tree is in the early spring or the late fall, but research your specific plant in case of exceptions. Where to plant is the spot where the tree will have the amount of sunshine it needs — full or partial, as specified; full if not specified. And, if it isn't hardy, plant it where it will have shelter from the wind. Plant big deciduous (shade) trees on the south side of the house where they will shade in summer and let warming light enter your windows in the winter. Conifers do well as winter windbreaks on the north or windy side of the house. (Wisely placed trees can improve your home's heating/cooling situation a lot!) Follow these tree planting tips for best results.

Digging the Hole to Plant a Tree

Dig planting holes wide and shallow, no deeper than the rootball's size, and make them wider than needed to accommodate the tree's spreading roots. The larger the area that you dig up around the hole in preparation for planting the tree, the easier it will be for its roots to spread and find food and water. Remove any grass for three feet in diameter.

Testing for Clay or Compacted Soil. Dig a hole about 10 inches deep (a shovelful), and fill it with water. Check it again in 10 hours (overnight). Is it empty? If it has drained less than an inch an hour, you have a serious drainage problem.

Soil. Any kind of tree that needs "well-drained soil" is at risk to drown within two years if it's planted in compacted and clay-type soils — those that are poorly drained. Instead, plant tree varieties that are adapted to poor drainage — hardy plants that don't specifically need "well-drained soil." Or else rebuild the soil in a very large rooting area for your tree by working lots of organic material into the top 12 inches of dirt; or bring in better soil from somewhere else and create a large planting mound out of ft.

And dig wide: Every inch of diameter dug out to the side before planting literally increases your tree's chances of survival in such difficult soil. It may also help to set the tree higher than usual in the planting hole. The sides of a hole in clay should be left with a rough surface rather than slick-cut by the digging tool. Don't work clay or saturated soils on the day you plant. Do your digging a bit ahead for the most normal soil structure to put the tree into.

Basic Tree Planting Tips and Steps

1. Unpot the Tree. Speed matters. Don't let the roots or rootball dry out. Care matters also. Don't let the roots or rootball break. Your plant either will be "bare-rooted" and wrapped in some sort of protective substance or will come with the roots in a ball of dirt in some kind of container to hold it together — a peat pot, burlap, wire basket or bag. If it's a metal pot, cut off the pot with tin snips. Tear it off if it's made of paper. You have to get as much of the wrapping off as possible without actually harming the rootball. This may have you struggling with knives, wire cutters, etc. Untreated burlap can, if necessary, be planted with the tree.

9/21/2015 1:57:17 PM

With the plants and a couple of trees that my wife left to grow on the pots it seems like those plants would be ready to be taken out. For us the smaller plants would be easy for us to take out and plant them on the trenches that I made. The bigger plants though, is what I'm thinking about calling a tree service company to see if they can help me pull out the big sunflower and aloe vera plants that my wife left on the pots.

3/5/2015 2:18:41 AM

Thanks for the helpful information I was looking for. While planting a tree 2 things are most important. One is to take care of rootball that it should be kept protected until you put it in a hole and second is safely landing rootball in a hole. Thanks Rachel Zoe



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