DIY Network

The Right Way to Plant a Tree

Healthy roots and cultivating the surrounding soil are keys to success in planting a new tree.

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avoid planting tree too deeply
Photo 7 of 7Finish backfilling the hole, but remember not to cover the top of the root ball, which is the root crown stake.

Finishing Touches(7 of 7)

Create a circular berm around the base of the tree to help contain water and channel it to the tree's roots.
Water thoroughly right after planting, soaking the planting area. This will help get the roots established and settle the soil
Spread mulch or wood chips about 6 inches deep over the entire planting area, leaving a bare 4- to 6-inch area directly around the trunk.
If you did have to stake your tree, periodically check the stakes and ties to ensure that they are not harming the trunk or branches. The tree should be able to stand on its own after one year.

Tree Survival Tips: What to Avoid

Here are two of the more common situations that cause newly planted tree saplings not to survive--and tips for avoiding each problem.
Drowning. Check root moisture for newly planted trees. Don't be fooled by surface soil conditions: check the soil 4 to 6 inches deep. The soil should be moist, not soggy. One effective means for watering, and one which wastes less water than using sprinklers, is to place the end of hose against the trunk and let the water drip all day or night.
Suffocation. Avoid planting too deeply. The root crown (where trunk meets the roots) should be 1-1/2 inches to 2 inches above ground level.



  • Gabe Beeler
    Board-Certified Master Arborist
    Fallen Leaf Tree Service