Tree Planting Guide For Shade Trees

Most people think, tree planting, what’s the point to show people how to plant a tree? Dig a hole, put the tree roots in it, and cover it up! Sure, basically that is the jest of it.

There is so much more to planting a tree the right way than just the basics. If you want your tree to be healthy. It needs more than just to be stuck in a hole in the ground.  It’s a little more complicated than you think.

Tree Planting

How Do I Plant my Tree?

First, you need to figure out exactly where the best place to plant your tree would be. There are some things to consider when finding the perfect spot to plant. You don’t want to plant it too close to other trees, roots grow out and can damage each other.  This is the same reasoning for not planting the tree too close to your driveway.


The next step is to find out how deep to dig. You’ll need to measure the root ball to decide the depth and width of the hole you will need. Make sure to measure from the bottom to the top of the flare of roots and from side to side. Now when you dig your hole. You have to make sure that you dig it deep and wide enough.

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Give your tree lots of room for it to be able to grow so it can take root. It needs to be about two feet wider and as deep as the ball of roots.

Leave the very middle of the hole just a little higher so you have something for the root ball to sit on to where it isn’t constantly sitting in the water. To make sure that your root system grows healthy.

Planting Your Tree

Planting Your Tree

Please do not just drop the tree into the hole. You can break the roots up by doing this. Carefully put the tree into the hole you dug. Make sure to cover all roots when putting the dirt back in. Do not overfill it. The dirt should be even where the roots turn into a stem.

Once you have the tree in, find the best side of the tree. Turn that side to where it can be seen. Make sure that you have it standing as straight as you can. You can stake the tree but only if it is absolutely necessary.

Refilling The Hole

You will need a mix of the dirt you dug out of the hole and compost. You need to make sure that there are lots of soil to give the roots the stability they need. Yet also give them the room where they can grow. The mixture should be 1/4 compost and 3/4 original dirt.

When filling the hole, do it a little at a time. Between each time you will need to lightly tap the dirt down with your shovel. This will prevent any air pockets.

Tip: If the compost has a strong smell to it, do not use it. It has not been composted right. This can actually burn the tree’s roots.


If your tree is young or weak, a stake may need to be used. Keep the stake in place for about a year. Give the roots time to take hold and start growing. Keep the tree from falling over or getting blown down.

Proper Care For Your Tree

Now that your tree is properly planted. The work doesn’t end here. You can’t just plant the tree and leave it to its own to grow. It has to be cared for. Caring for a tree means watering it, using mulch, and pruning it when it is needed.


For the first few weeks, you will need to take the time to water your tree. every day. This will help the roots to take hold and start to grow. One of the main questions people ask a lot is, “How much water do I give my tree?”. There is no specific answer to that question.

It depends on a few things. How much rainfall do you get on average in your area? What is the humidity usually like? How much sunshine, on average, does your area get? All of these are deciding factors. When it comes to how much you need to water your tree.

What we suggest is this. If you are using an outside water hose to water your tree then water it for about thirty seconds. This should be enough. But if you live in an area that remains hot and dry, check back in a few hours. If the soil is extremely dry, you need to water your tree just a little more.

You can check the soil by inserting your finger a couple of inches into the hole. If it is still moist, then your tree has enough water. What I can tell you is that if you are planting fruit or nut trees, it is best to water them every single week. For the life of the trees.


Tree Mulching

To help to keep some moisture in the soil, add mulch around the tree. At least two inches deep but be mindful to keep the mulch at least a foot from the trunk. It can cause the tree trunk to rot. Mulch adds nutrients to the soil. And it keeps weeds away.


Pruning is not always necessary. If there isn’t a problem with your tree, like limbs that are broken, dead. Or they have a disease, then pruning isn’t needed. If you have any limbs with one of these problems. Make sure to use pruning shears and be careful when pruning your tree. Removing damaged limbs keeps your tree healthy. This gives it room to grow.


It won’t be long before you’ll be able to enjoy your tree. I have a big oak tree in my front yard, and the shade it provides in the summertime is something. I wouldn’t trade for anything. We have spent many afternoons under that tree having a picnic. If you take proper care of your tree. You’ll be doing the same thing in no time at all!

Angela Duhon

Angela Duhon My name is Angela. I'm happily married, have four grown children, one grown stepdaughter, 10 grandchildren, and 4 pets. Writing has always been a passion for me. Now I have the time on my hands to pursue my passion. I love researching information, cooking, reading, learning, and God.

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