The Correct Way to Plant a Tree


While the rewards of planting a tree may not always be immediate, when the payoffs come, they are huge and worth the wait. Trees add beauty and interest to the landscape while providing cool shade on hot summer days. Often, trees will provide an energy-saving windbreak that will help to protect your home from winter cold. Although trees are usually planted for the visual appeal that they provide, trees that are properly planted and cared for can also raise property value.

Step 1

Remove any wire, rope or string from the tree's root ball. If the roots are burlapped, either cut the top of the burlap or fold the top one-half to one-third of the burlap down around the root ball. Any burlap allowed to remain will wick moisture from the soil. If the roots are wrapped in synthetic burlap, the burlap must be completely removed.

Step 2

Dig a hole only as deep as the tree's root ball, but two to three times as wide. Place the tree in the hole. Be sure the crown of the tree, which is a flared area where the trunk meets the roots, is 1 to 2 inches above the soil. If the crown is buried, the tree can suffocate and eventually die.

Step 3

Backfill the hole with the same soil until the hole is half full. Fill the hole with water and allow it to drain, then finish filling the hole with soil.

Step 4

Water the tree again immediately after planting. Water the tree daily for the first week, using only about a quart or less of water. Give the tree 1 to 2 quarts every other day during the second week. Water the tree every third day during the third week, using 2 to 3 quarts of water. After the third week, water the plant deeply enough to saturate the soil once every week when the soil feels dry to the touch.

Step 5

Spread 3 to 5 inches of organic mulch such as shredded pine bark or pine needles around the base of the tree. Leave an uncovered span immediately around the trunk, as mulch shouldn't be allowed to pile up against the trunk.

Things You'll Need

  • Knife
  • Shovel
  • Garden hose
  • Organic mulch


  • Texas A&M: Planting a Tree
  • University of Illinois: Correct Tree Planting
Keywords: plant a tree, planting a tree, tree planting

About this Author

M.H. Dyer is a long-time writer, editor and proofreader. She has been a contributor to the East-Oregonian Newspaper and See Jane Run magazine, and is author of a memoir, “The Tumbleweed Chronicles, a Sideways Look at Life." She holds an Master of Fine Arts from National University, San Diego.