How to Plant Pine Trees on a Tree Farm


Pine trees are planted on a pine tree farm when they are in the seedling stage using mechanical or manual methods. A pine seedling has a tap root and a few small feeder roots intact and is 12-18 inches long. The manual method is often preferred because it is more cost effective for smaller planting areas and it is easier to access land in remote areas using the manual method. Pine seedling planting rates are usually about 650 to 700 pine trees per acre.

Step 1

Choose a day during the months of December through March to plant the pine seedlings. The earlier the better, but you may have to wait until after a soaking rain if the winter weather is unusually dry.

Step 2

Bring seedlings to the planting field in an ice chest or cooler with the seedlings misted with water. At no stage in the process should the seedling roots be allowed to dry out.

Step 3

Fill the planting bag with seedlings. The seedlings are light and you can carry hundreds at one time. However, don't carry more seedlings in the bag than you can plant before the roots of the seedlings your are carrying begin to dry out.

Step 4

Start planting by shoving the dibble bar, or sharpshooter shovel with a 10 inch long blade, into the ground to a sufficient depth to plant the first seedling. Rock the blade back and forth enough to open a hole 3-4 inches wide. Insert the first seedling into the hole making sure the main tap root goes straight down and does not curl upward forming a "J." Also, make sure the feeder roots point downward and are not coming out of the top of the planting hole. Plant at the same depth as the seedling was planted in the nursery. You can easily see a soil line above the root system of the seedling. Leave the seedling sitting loosely in the hole at the correct depth.

Step 5

Shove the dibble bar into the ground 3-5 inches from the planting hole where you placed the seedling to the same depth as the original hole. Rock the dibble bar back and forth to seal the soil around the roots of the seedling. Then, repeat the motion one more time a few inches from the second hole to close the second hole. Use your heel to press the dirt over the third hole.

Things You'll Need

  • Pine tree seedlings
  • Dibble bar
  • Seedling bag
  • Ice chest


  • Alabama Extension: Storing, Handling, and Planting Southern Pine Seedlings
  • SFRC Extension: Planting Southern Pines
  • Auburn U: Comparison of Hand vs. Machine Planting of Pine Seedlings
Keywords: pine seedlings, planting pines, tree farm pines

About this Author

Based in Rockdale Texas, Jim Gober has been writing garden-related articles for 25 years. His articles appear in several Texas newspapers including The Rockdale Reporter, The Lexington Leader, The Cameron Herald and The Hearne Democrat. He is a Master Gardener and Certified Texas Nursery and Landscape Professional. He holds bachelor degrees in English Writing from St. Edward's University and Finance from Lamar University.