5 Essential Steps for Tree Planting Success

Planting a tree may be easier than you think. Just follow these digging, watering and planting tips to ensure your tree grows big and strong.

1. Plant at the Right Time

The first step in tree planting is knowing when to start. It’s best to plant trees in spring or fall because it gives the roots time to establish before the extreme heat of summer or a chance for the roots to reach out in fall, when the tree is not growing leaves.

Check out 7 things you need to know before planting a tree.

2. Be Safe When Digging

Be sure to call 811 or your local utility number before digging a hole. Create a hole that is two to three times wider than the root ball, but dig only deep enough so the root flare is level with or slightly above the ground.

3. How to Water Your New Tree

Create a circular mound of packed dirt around the planting hole to keep water near the roots. Add 2 to 3 inches of mulch after backfilling to retain moisture, but leave breathing room around the trunk. Learn the best time to water your plants.

4. Keep Up the Moisture

Generously water the tree after planting is complete, and as needed until the ground freezes. If you’re a birder, plant of these top 10 berry trees and shrubs birds love.

5. Support the Tree

Every tree needs different levels of support. Research whether your specific tree needs a stake. Plant one of these fast-growing trees that establish themselves quickly and need less time staked.

Molly Jasinski
Molly Jasinski is an editor, writer and social media manager for Birds & Blooms. She’s been with the magazine since 2019 and with Trusted Media Brands since 2012. She brings more than 10 years of editorial experience to Birds & Blooms and has a bachelor’s degree in print journalism. In her role, Molly works closely with bird experts Kenn and Kimberly Kaufman and gardening expert Melinda Myers, in addition to the Birds & Blooms freelance writers. Molly was featured in a May 2023 episode of The Thing With Feathers birdwatching podcast. She's a member of the nonprofit Friends of Wehr Nature Center in Franklin, Wisconsin, a popular location for birdwatching in southeastern Wisconsin. She goes out birding often and is still hoping to spot a tufted titmouse in the near future.