The Best Way to Plant a Tree to Help it Survive


Planting trees properly ensures they survive to grow strong and healthy. Regardless of the type of tree you are planting, there are basic considerations to keep in mind. Like all plants, trees require the proper soil nutrition, water and light to thrive. Also keep in mind that tree roots spread out in all directions, so avoid planting too close to roads, underground utility lines or building foundations. Even the healthiest tree has to be removed if its roots cause damage to structures.

Step 1

Measure the width and height of the container or root ball of the tree you are planting. Dig the hole twice as wide as the container width, piling the removed soil nearby. Make the hole the same depth as the height of the container or root ball.

Step 2

Use the mattock or pick to loosen the soil at the bottom of the hole. Remove the container or wrapping from the tree's root ball and set the tree inside the hole, disturbing the roots as little as possible during the process.

Step 3

Fill the hole half full with the soil you removed. Water it thoroughly to collapse any air pockets in the soil, then finish filling the hole with soil. Water a second time.

Step 4

Create a berm around the top edges of the hole with the remaining soil. Make the berm about 4 inches high. Fill the area inside the berm and around the trunk with bark mulch to preserve soil moisture and to aid with water retention when irrigating.

Step 5

Water the tree daily for the first week. Water as needed after the initial week, providing a single deep irrigation when the soil feels dry to the touch. Generally, trees require watering every other day two weeks after planting, every three days in the third week, and once a week thereafter.

Tips and Warnings

  • Avoid adding fertilizer or soil amendments to the planting hole, as the roots will remain in the small, rich area instead of extending out to seek nutrients and water.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Shovel
  • Mattock or pick
  • Mulch


  • Texas A&M Extension: Planting A Tree
Keywords: tree planting, sowing tree seedling, tree care

About this Author

Jenny Harrington is a freelance writer of more than five years' experience. Her work has appeared in "Dollar Stretcher" and various blogs. Previously, she owned her own business for four years, selling handmade items online, wholesale and via the crafts fair circuit. Her specialties are small business, crafting, decorating and gardening.