A Step by Step Guide On Properly Planting Your Trees: What To Do and What Not To Do


We see more often than not landscape professionals wrongly planting customers trees and years later, hiring us to correct their mistakes.

Trees require time and care to become well established. Once you grant them that, they have the potential to become a great investment for you and your property.

Before planting, find a tree that will thrive where you are wanting to plant it and with the soil type that you have. Once you have done that, pick out your tree and/or trees, prepare to plant them in the


What to do:

  1. Dig a hole the depth of the root, but twice as wide. Remove all plastic, burlap, wire, and anything else. These things can lead to girdled roots if not removed.
  2. Get a shovel or knife and break up the roots that have begun to circle around the root ball. This also prohibits root girdling and promotes the roots to grow out and establish themselves.
  3. Place your tree in the hole and begin to backfill with the native soil that was removed when digging the hole. Pack the hole with your foot and don’t be afraid to put some weight on it to ensure it is packed.
  4. Make sure the root flare is placed about an inch above the soil line to decrease the chance of the stump flare becoming non-existent. (Check your other trees and make sure you see the trunk angling down.)
  5. Take your clippers, and prune any damaged, rubbing, or crossed branches. Do not prune the leader (the branch at the top. Typically, going straight up.)
  6. If using a stake, drive it to the side of the hole, where it is not driven through the root ball. Stakes can usually be removed after one year.
  7. Lastly, water in your tree and fill any spots of soil where the water has made a void and water again.

What not to do:

  1. Do not place a tree with burlap, wire, the tree label, plastic or anything else in the ground.
  2. Do not plant the tree with a gap of air in between the root ball and soil in the bottom of the hole. Water will accumulate and the tree will not get enough oxygen.
  3. Do not prune the leader or buds.
  4. Do not drive the stake through the root ball.
  5. Do not cover up the stump flare or volcano mulch your root zone.


Should I fertilize the tree I just planted?

The short answer is no. New trees need to focus their energy on establishing their roots. Fertilizing promotes leaf growth before the roots are ready to support it and results in a stressful situation. Most importantly, please call us before you put any fertilizer on your tree in the future so we can navigate and ensure what you are applying to your tree is not going to kill it.

Do y’all plant trees?

Yes, absolutely, yes! Not only do we plant trees, but we offer to pick them out for you to ensure that you are getting the highest quality that you possibly can. Call us and we will be glad to help!

How Much Should I Water?

Water 2-3 times/week for the first month, then weekly until the 6-month mark

  • During months 6-12, water every other week
  • In year two, water 2 times per month
  • In year three, water once per month

Should I Mulch?

Yes, but no more than 2-3” thick and start about 3” away from the stump flare. Slope the mulch down parallel with the soil, so water does not get trapped against the base. Bonus, once mulch starts to break down, it adds nutrients to the soil!