How to Plant a Seedling Tree


There are many advantages to planting trees in a yard or landscape area. They bring maturity and beauty to the area, improve the environment, and help to promote the life cycle of nature. Normally transplanted from pots where they have either been grown, or seeded from cuttings, tree seedlings must be planted during the right time of year and under the right conditions in order to adapt and grow in their new location. In addition, adequate root contact and depth when planted are important factors to successful tree seedling propagation.

Step 1

Select an area for planting the tree seedling where it will have room to grow into a mature tree. Trees should be spaced far enough away from other trees and obstruction so as not to create disturbances in later years. Know how big your variety of tree will grow to when it reaches maturity.

Step 2

Plant seedling in the fall or early spring when there is no chance of frost for several weeks. Dig a hole approximately twice as deep and twice as wide as the root ball of the tree to be planted.

Step 3

Back fill the hole partially with rich compost and garden soil mixed with native soil taken from hole. Allow adequate space in the hole for the root collar of the seedling to be planted evenly with the soil line. If the tree is being transplanted from a pot in which it was either rooted or established, transplant the seedling with the potting soil intact around the root system. Hold the seedling in place and continue to back fill with compost and native soil. Pack soil firmly around the roots and ensure the new tree is planted firmly enough so that it cannot easily be uprooted.

Step 4

Water seedling thoroughly at first, and periodically for the next several weeks to ensure the soil does not dry out and hinder root growth. Stake the seedling to help protect it from wind and passers-by.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel or spade
  • Compost
  • Tree stakes


  • "University of New Hampshire": Planting and Care of Tree Seedlings
  • "American Forests": How to Plant a Tree
Keywords: plant tree seedling, seedling transplanting, prepare ground seedling

About this Author

Damon Hildebrand is a retired U.S. Navy veteran. He has more than 15 years within the oil and gas industry in both technical and managerial positions. Hildebrand has been a technical writer and communicator for the last four years. He is a certified specialists in lubrication and tribology, as well as a certified maintenance and reliability professional.