Whether you have grown your tree seedling from seed or have purchased a seedling, getting it into the ground is an easy process. If you are considering purchasing a seedling, the North Carolina Forest Service suggests that you choose a species that is native to your region and one that is adaptable to your particular soil type. Plant your tree seedling in the winter.
Dig a hole 8 to 10 inches deep and wide enough to accommodate the seedling's root ball without it being wound around itself.
Place the seedling in the hole, and add or remove soil to adjust the planting depth. The seedling should be planted at the same depth at which it has been growing. Generally, the collar (the area where the trunk meets the roots) should be slightly below the surface of the soil.
Hold the tree seedling upright, and back fill the hole halfway with soil. Fill the hole with water, allow it to drain, and finish filling it with soil. The water helps to settle the soil around the seedling's roots and removes air pockets. Use your feet to tamp around the base of the tree to remove any additional air pockets.
Flood the tree with water and allow it to drain. Add a 3-inch layer of mulch, completely surrounding the seedling. Keep it 2 inches away from the stem and spread it out 12 inches in all directions. Mulch helps to maintain moisture in the soil and discourages weeds.