How to Plant a Tree
Here’s a quick guide to proper planting techniques, plus what not to do when you plant your tree.
- Plan before you plant. Choose a tree that fits the site—or vice versa. Find out your tree’s estimated height and width at maturity, and plant accordingly. Don’t plant too close to buildings or other trees. And don’t forget to look up! If you see nearby powerlines, try a powerline-approved tree. Call *811 before you dig.
- Dig a hole two to three times as wide as your rootball in the shape of a wide V. Dig deep enough that the rootball sticks up about two inches above finished grade. (See illustration.)
- Remove twine and burlap as much as possible. Cut wire baskets if you can’t remove them. Always remove tape or rope around the trunk.
- Fill the hole with water and let it drain before you put the tree in the hole. After placing the tree, fill the hole with soil and water thoroughly to settle the soil and remove air pockets.
- Do not stake your trees. If the tree is very unstable, install two stakes at either side. Remove no later than one year after planting.
- Do not prune at planting. You can remove dead wood, suckers, and broken or damaged branches.
- Water your new tree regularly for the first two years of life, especially during periods of drought.
- Do not fertilize your tree for the first year after planting.
- Add mulch to a depth of three to four inches around the tree. Don’t make a mulch volcano! Leave a couple of inches of clear space around the trunk so the mulch doesn’t touch it.
- Enjoy your tree for the rest of your life.