How to Plant Seedling Trees


A seedling tree is a young tree, generally between two and three years old, with few branches and an established but immature root system. The planting of seedling trees is a simple way to replenish lost resources, reduce pollution and improve the surrounding climate. However, successful planting requires forward planning and preparation as new trees are not known for their hardiness. Discover a few steps that will help give your seedling the best possible chance for long-term survival.

Step 1

Plant your seedling as soon as possible. Prepare the tree for planting by removing its packaging or container and placing it in a bucket of cool water. Allow the tree roots to soak for at least three hours.

Step 2

Select a planting site large enough to allow the tree to grow without interfering with utilities. Inspect the chosen site for both buried elements and those overhead while factoring in the probable size of the full-grown tree.

Step 3

Dig a hole that is three to five times larger than the root ball and approximately the same depth as the root collar. The root collar is the place on the seedling where the roots meet the main trunk of the tree.

Step 4

Build a small mound of soil in the center of the newly dug hole. Position the tree in the center of the hole on top of this mound. Adjust the mound to ensure the tree collar will be at ground level once the hole is refilled.

Step 5

Shovel three or four scoops of fill dirt into the hole and add water. This prevents air from becoming trapped in the fill dirt, and it holds the tree in position while the remainder of the hole is filled.

Step 6

Push the remaining fill dirt back into the hole. Pause periodically to press down on the dirt with your hands or feet. Compacting the soil will help the tree remain upright and steady as it grows and takes root.

Step 7

Water the newly planted tree for five to 10 minutes. Then spread a 2-inch layer of mulch beneath the tree. Arrange the mulch in an 18-inch circle around the tree's base, leaving 6 inches of space between the mulch and the tree trunk.

Things You'll Need

  • Seedling tree
  • Shovel
  • Water
  • Mulch


  • How to Plant a Bare Root Tree
  • Recommendations for Planting Tree Seedling
  • Tree Planting
Keywords: plant a tree, plant seedlings, grow trees

About this Author

Lisa Parris is a freelance writer covering a variety of topics, particularly health and wellness. Her work has appeared in various publications including the "Journal of Comparative Parasitology" and "The Monterey County Herald." She holds a bachelor's degree in biology from Peru State College.