How to Properly Plant a Tree


Trees add a natural look to the surroundings and come in various sizes, shapes and colors to fit in any type of landscape. Trees often provide shade to your home or other structures that lowers energy costs. Many trees also produce beautiful, fragrant blossoms that turn into tasty, fresh fruits or nuts that you or the wildlife can enjoy. Planting a tree properly will ensure it not only survives but also flourishes for years to come.

Step 1

Designate an area for planting your tree that provides an adequate amount of space for the fully mature tree. Allow enough room for both the height and width of the tree.

Step 2

Plant trees in locations providing full sun and well-draining soil. Most trees call for spring planting, when the soil warms and the last chance of frost has passed.

Step 3

Dig a hole for planting your tree at the same depth of the container holding the tree, and from two to five times as wide. Rake the bottom of the hole to loosen the soil.

Step 4

Remove the tree carefully from the container. Examine the root system closely and loosen or untangle roots, if needed. Cut off any frail, broken or twisted roots.

Step 5

Place the tree in the hole. Check the height and add or remove some of the soil until the tree sits at the same level as it was in its container.

Step 6

Fill the hole with the removed soil halfway. Saturate the hole with water to settle the dirt around the tree's roots. Finish filling the hole.

Step 7

Create a watering ring out of dirt that is larger than the planting hole. Pile the dirt up 3 or more inches high and wide encircling the transplanted tree.

Step 8

Fill the ring with water and allow it to drain. Fill the watering basin with water twice a week for the first month. Water the tree weekly throughout the first growing season, whenever rainfall does not provide moist soil conditions a few inches below the surface.

Step 9

Add a 3- to 4-inch layer of mulch around the tree. Do not put any mulch against the tree's trunk and extend the mulch out at least 3 feet or the width of the tree's canopy.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not add any fertilizer or soil amendments to the hole when planting trees.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Rake
  • Knife
  • Water
  • Mulch


  • USDA: Tree Planting
  • Texas A&M University: Planting a Tree

Who Can Help

  • Pennsylvania Horticultural Society: Plant a Tree!
  • Arbor Day Foundation: How to Plant Trees
Keywords: planting tree properly, plant trees, transplanted 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.