How to Plant a Tree

Did you know that trees provide many benefits to our environment? Not only do they help clean the air, but they also provide shade and shelter. Trees can improve the quality of our lives, both physically and emotionally.

Planting a tree isn’t just as simple as digging a hole, putting the tree into it and waiting for it to grow. While that may work with some trees, like Redwoods, most require extra care in the early stages of growth. To make sure your tree gets the best start possible, you need to make sure it is planted properly.

In this guide, we will discuss how to plant a tree and some benefits of doing so.


What are the benefits of planting trees?

Air quality

Planting trees helps improve air quality by producing oxygen and absorbing carbon dioxide and other pollutants. Trees also trap particulates, such as dust, pollen and smoke.

Reduce noise pollution

Trees can help reduce noise pollution by absorbing sound waves and reducing noise levels.

Shelter from the sun and wind

Trees provide shade from the sun on hot days and shelter from the wind on cold days. They can also help reduce energy costs by providing natural cooling in summer and protection from the wind in winter.

Provide food and habitat for wildlife

Trees provide food and habitat for many different species of animals, birds, insects and other wildlife. By planting trees, you can help support local ecosystems.


How to plant a tree

Planting a tree, even a small one, isn’t as simple as digging a hole and plopping the tree into it. The more care you give your young tree now, the better it will grow and thrive in the future.

Select a site for placement

If you are planting a tree in the ground, choose an area that allows for plenty of room for the root system to grow. You also want to make sure you are not planting in an area with underground utilities.

Select your tree

The first step is to select your tree. Consider the purpose of planting a tree, and then choose an appropriate tree species. For example, if you want a shade tree, choose one that will grow quickly and provide ample shade over time. If you are just looking to plant a beautiful tree, consider what types of flowers or foliage will best suit your tastes.

Select your container

If you are planting a potted tree, choose a container that is large enough and will allow ample room for roots to grow. Choose something that is pretty and fits into your landscape design plan as well. Make sure it has drainage holes at the bottom; otherwise, you will need to drill some out yourself.

Prepare the soil

Whether you are planting a container-grown or balled and burlapped tree, you will need to prepare the soil. If you are planting in the ground, you will need to dig a hole that is twice as wide as the root ball and just as deep. If you are planting in a container, make sure to use potting mix or tree planting mix instead of garden soil.

Choose the right time of year

The best time to plant a tree is in late fall or winter. However, that isn’t always possible if you are planting a deciduous tree, as they lose their leaves in winter and can be difficult to tell which way is up! The next best time is in early spring before the buds break. The ground is normally soft enough for digging then and there should be enough moisture for proper growth.

Choose the right location

Not all trees will grow everywhere. Find out what kind of soil your tree likes and where it will get enough sun for its needs. See if there are any nearby structures or underground pipes that could be damaged by its root system as well. It’s also important to consider how windy your area is, as some trees don’t do well in strong winds and can easily snap or get uprooted if they aren’t properly supported when young.

Place your tree

Once you have prepared the site or container, it’s time to plant your tree. For trees that come in a container, simply remove the tree from its pot and place it in the hole or container. Be sure to loosen any roots that are bound up before placing it into its new home.

For balled and burlapped trees, remove any straps or twine holding the root ball together before placing it into the hole. Be sure to backfill the hole with dirt, tamping it down as you go, until the tree is at the same level it was in the pot or ground before.

Water your tree

After planting, give your tree a good watering. For newly planted trees, be sure to water deeply and regularly for the first few years while its roots are getting established. A general rule of thumb is to give it about an inch of water per week.

You can do this by placing a cup or can next to the trunk and letting a slow trickle of water run until it reaches that mark. Be careful not to overwater, as that can also damage your tree.

Mulch around your tree

Mulching helps keep moisture in and weeds out. It also protects the tree’s roots from temperature extremes. For best results, apply a layer of mulch that is about three to four inches deep and extends outward about two feet from the trunk of the tree. Be sure to leave a “well” around the trunk so that water can still get to the roots.

Stake your tree (if needed)

If you are planting a young tree or one that is known for being weak in windy conditions, you may need to stake it. This involves putting one or more posts into the ground next to the tree and attaching them to the trunk with straps or other materials.

Be sure not to damage the bark as you do this, and only use materials that won’t harm the tree if left in place for too long.

Monitor your tree

Once your tree is planted, give it a year or two to get settled into its new home before making any major pruning cuts. You may need to do some minor shaping in the first year or two to remove any damaged branches, but otherwise, let it grow! After that, you can start pruning it to encourage growth in the desired direction.


What are some professional tips for planting a tree?

  • When planting a tree, it’s important to choose the right spot. The tree should be in an area that gets plenty of sunlight and has well-drained soil.
  • You’ll also want to make sure there are no underground utility lines or pipes in the area where you’ll be digging.
  • Once you’ve selected the perfect spot, it’s time to start digging. The hole for your tree should be twice as wide as the tree’s root ball.
  • Be sure to loosen up the bottom of the hole so that the roots can easily spread out when they’re planted.
  • When you’re ready to plant the tree, lift it by the root ball and lower it into the hole. Then, backfill the hole with soil and water it well.
  • It’s important to keep the tree watered, especially during its first year after planting. Be sure to give it a deep watering about once a week.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should you fertilize your newly-planted tree?

You can, but it’s not necessary. Fertilizer gives trees a boost of energy, which can be helpful if the tree is struggling to establish itself. However, too much fertilizer can actually harm young trees. If you decide to fertilize, use a slow-release fertilizer and follow the instructions on the package.

How often should you water your newly-planted tree?

Watering depends on the weather and soil conditions. In general, young trees need to be watered once a week during the growing season (spring through fall). Water deeply so that the entire root system gets moistened. Allow the soil to dry out slightly between watering sessions. during hot, dry weather, you may need to water more frequently.

How deep should you plant a tree?

The rule of thumb is to plant the tree at the same depth as the root ball. Therefore, The hole should be three times as wide as the root ball.

Where should you plant a tree?

When choosing a location for your new tree, consider its size at maturity and make sure there’s enough room for it to grow. Also, think about the tree’s needs. Does it need full sun or would it prefer some shade? Is the soil well-drained or does it tend to stay soggy?

Once you’ve selected the perfect spot, dig a hole that’s twice as wide as the root ball but just deep enough so that the tree is at the same level it was in the nursery container.

How do you know if your tree needs water?

Stick your finger in the soil next to the tree. If it’s dry several inches down, it’s time to water.

What are some signs that your tree is not doing well?

Here are a few signs to look for:

  • The leaves are wilting or turning brown.
  • The bark is cracked or peeling.
  • There are no new leaves or buds.

If you notice any of these problems, consult a professional arborist or tree care specialist. They can help you diagnose the problem and come up with a plan to get your tree back on track.



You’ve now learned the basics of how to plant a tree. By following these simple steps, you’ll be giving your new tree the best chance at a long and healthy life. So what are you waiting for? Go out there and start planting!