How to Plant a New Tree


Trees can provide shade in your yard or to your home, which cools the temperature and helps conserve your overall energy cost. Trees often generate beautiful flowers or feature striking foliage that adds a natural beauty to the overall appearance of the area. A tree may also produce fruits or nuts for you or the surrounding wildlife to enjoy. Planting trees correctly is vital to ensure the tree can flourish and live for many years to come.

Step 1

Select trees suited for your specific location in the country for best growing results. Pick new trees designated for your USDA hardiness zone to avoid problems later.

Step 2

Pick your planting site in an area that offers full sun and soil that is well draining. Know the full size of the tree in both height and canopy, and allow enough space for the tree to mature.

Step 3

Use a mechanized tiller (or hand tools) to break up the soil in the planting site to a width of at least two, and up to five times the size of the new trees container. Dig a hole in the middle equal to the contrainer's depth.

Step 4

Remove the new tree from the container to inspect the roots. Use a sharp knife (or pruning shears) to cut away any weak or broken roots found.

Step 5

Place the new tree in the hole and verify it is planted at the same height that it was in the container (or slightly higher for settling). Take more dirt from the hole (or add dirt) to adjust the height.

Step 6

Fill the hole with the same dirt removed part way, and then flush with water. This gets rid of any air pockets and settles the dirt around the roots. Add more dirt to completely fill the hole and water again. Add additional soil if the rootball shows after watering.

Step 7

Make a watering ring surrounding the new tree. Make the ring bigger than the planting hole. Pile up the dirt 3 to 6 inches high and wide. Fill the basin with water and add more soil (if needed) to the wall for any leaks.

Step 8

Place a 3- to 6-inch layer of mulch in an area going out at least 3 feet from the trunk, creating a circle around the tree. Do not place the mulch within 6 inches of the transplanted tree.

Tips and Warnings

  • Never add fertilizer to the hole used to plant a tree, since it can burn the roots and harm the tree.

Things You'll Need

  • Rake
  • Mechanized tiller (optional)
  • Knife
  • Pruning shears
  • Mulch
  • Water


  • American Forests: How to Plant a Tree
  • Texas A&M University: Planting a Tree

Who Can Help

  • The United States National Arboretum: USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map
  • Trees Are Good: Tree Planting
  • USDA: Tree Planting
Keywords: transplant tree, newly planted tree, plant a tree

About this Author

Diane Dilov-Schultheis has been writing professionally since 2000. She is a food and travel writer who also specializes in gaming, satellites, RV repair, gardening, finances and electronics. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and has been published on Yahoo!, the Travel Channel and Intel.