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How to Plant a Backyard Tree Grove

Fresh, homegrown fruit is something any homeowner with a patch of land can easily achieve. Or perhaps you would prefer to create a natural forest setting by planting pines, maples or even redwood trees. Depending on your climate zone, you can discover which trees will work well in your landscape and plant them yourself with just a little bit of work. When you plant trees, especially those that are native to your area, you will be helping the environment by providing homes for birds and other creatures, not to mention giving your family a pleasant outdoor space to play and relax.

Planting a Backyard Grove of Trees

Measure the area of your backyard where you want to plant your tree grove. Let’s say it’s 100 feet by 100 feet: many trees require 15 feet of space between them and other trees, so this size area will allow you to plant about 30 trees. You can calculate the number of trees you have room for based on your yard’s size and the 15-foot-apart rule.

Decide what types of trees you want to grow. If you visit a good tree nursery in your neighborhood, the staff can point you to their selection of trees and make recommendations about what will work well. Keep in mind that some trees will grow larger than others and might need more than 15 feet between them and other trees. Also consider the mature size of your trees because you won’t want to plant a smaller tree, such as a lemon, in the shadow of what will become a towering pine tree.

Plot out where you will plant each tree by measuring and then marking the spot by digging a small hole with your shovel.

Dig your planting holes, making each one slightly larger than the root ball of each tree. Mix one 2-gallon bucketful of compost with the soil you dig out and then backfill a small amount back into the hole before you set your tree in. Next, fill the hole completely, tamp the soil down firmly with your foot and then water it well. Spreading a 2-inch-thick layer of organic mulch such as compost, sawdust, wood chips or other organic material around the base of each tree will help to keep down weeds and maintain soil moisture.

Be patient. Large trees, such as pines, can take many years to reach their full adult size. However, citrus and other fruit trees can begin providing you with their bounty in just three or four years.


Plant smaller trees, such as many fruit trees, in the front row of your grove and larger trees, such as pines and redwoods, toward the rear. Smaller trees, such as most citrus, need less than 15 feet between them and other trees. If money is no object to you, you can purchase fully grown trees and hire a service to plant them using heavy equipment.


Always check for underground gas and electric lines before you begin to dig holes for your grove.

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