How to Plant a Tree in Portland, Oregon


Planting carefully chosen trees can enhance your garden and increase the value of your property. Located just 50 miles from the West Coast, Portland enjoys a mild climate with plant hardiness zones varying between 8 and 9. The Arbor Day Foundation recommends 60 types of trees for these zones, although there are many other varieties that can be planted. A visit to your local nursery will provide additional ideas and information on what trees will best suit your landscaping goals.

Step 1

Choose a well drained location for your tree that will provide ample room when the tree is mature. Factors to consider in site selection include whether the fully grown tree will be too close to neighboring properties, buildings or power lines. The best time to plant deciduous trees in Portland is from November through to April. Evergreens may be planted in fall, winter or spring. Never plant during the hot dry, summer months as trees will have difficulty getting established under these conditions.

Step 2

Call the Oregon Utility Notification Center at least two business days before you dig the hole for your tree. This is required by law in Portland. The center can be can be found on-line or reached at 1-800-332-2344.

Step 3

Dig a hole that is twice as wide as the root ball. The hole should be 1 to 2 inches shallower than the height of the root ball so that the flare of the tree trunk will be above ground level after planting. The flare is the point where the trunk widens just above the roots. Loosen the soil around the hole and down the sides to make it easier for the roots to penetrate.

Step 4

Remove any twine that is binding the branches and lower the tree into the center of the hole. Double check that the height is correct and cut any twine that is around the root ball. Pull the burlap back and push it down the sides so that it will be buried. If the root ball is in a wire basket, pull the top ends of the basket back and force them down so they will below the surface after back filling the soil.

Step 5

Shovel half the soil back into the hole and add 1 inch of water around the root ball. Finish back filling and tamp the soil lightly with the back of shovel. Make a small berm of around the edge of the planting hole with the leftover soil. This will keep water close to the root system.

Step 6

Position two planting stakes on opposite sides of the tree and well away from the root ball. Pound them in until they are firmly secured. Cut pieces two pieces of strapping long enough to wrap around the trunk and stake. Standing behind the stake, loop the strapping around the trunk and cross it to make a figure eight. Pull the strapping taught and tie or nail the ends to the stake. Cut off any excess strapping.

Step 7

Give the tree about an inch of water within the berm and spread 3 to 4 inches of mulch around the base as far out as the drip line. Wood chips or shredded bark make good mulching materials.

Tips and Warnings

  • Always get extra help when planting trees. Use proper lifting procedures to avoid injuries and use a tree dolly to move large plants close the planting site.

Things You'll Need

  • Round point shovel
  • Planting stakes
  • Sledge hammer
  • Strapping
  • Garden hose


  • Arbor Day Foundation: Hardiness Zone Look Up: Portland, Oregon
  • Arbor Day Foundation: 30 Most Popular Trees for Zone 8
  • Arbor Day Foundation: 30 Most Popular Trees for Zone 9
  • Oregon State University Extension: Selecting, Planting, and Caring for a New Tree

Who Can Help

  • Dig Safely Oregon: Call Before You Dig--It's The Law
Keywords: plant trees portland, tree planting portland, plant trees oregon

About this Author

Based in Surrey, British Columbia, Stephen Oakley is a freelance writer focusing on environmental issues, travel and all things outdoors. His background includes many years spent working in the Canadian wilderness and traveling worldwide.