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Planting a Tree

It is important that you read and follow these guidelines so that you are successful in your tree planting endeavor. You must follow the steps in the sequential order stated below to properly plant and ensure a long life for your tree.

Tools and materials

You will need the following:

  • Tape measure
  • Work gloves
  • A shovel
  • A pick-axe
  • A hand towel
  • A hose
  • Mulch

Step 1 - Location, Location, Location

The first step is to choose a location that is conducive to the growth of the tree.

If you are planting a shade tree to cool your house, small trees can be planted 10-16 feet from the house.

  • Large trees can be planted 16-22 feet from the house.
  • Try to plant your tree on the East or West side of the house for maximum energy benefits.
  • Before planting call Sunshine State One at 1-800-432-4770. Also, check for power lines. Do not plant too close to utility lines, unless the mature tree will be shorter than the line.
  • Be sure to handle your new tree carefully. Always carry your new tree by the container, never by the tree trunk or stems. This will keep from accidentally damaging branches or the roots.

See Right Tree, Right Place for information on whether your tree is suitable for planting near utility lines.

Step 2 - Dig a home for your tree

Remember, proper planting is crucial to the survival of your new tree.

Remove your tree from the container carefully – the roots and soil should not separate too much. If the tree is stuck in the container, jiggle it a bit to loosen the roots.

  • Dig a hole 2-3 times wider than the container and the depth should be the same as the top of the soil in the container.
  • Position the plant so that the top of the root ball is even with the soil surface. Planting too deep could cause your tree to die.

Step 3 - Fill it in and water it

  • Once your tree is in position, fill the hole with soil until it is half full.
  • Slowly water to saturate the soil (this removes air pockets that could also kill your new tree), then fill the hole with remainder of soil and soak again.
  • If possible, add a 3" thick ring of soil around the outer edge of the planting area. This will keep the water in and help to encourage your new tree to grow.
  • Next, place an organic mulch such as wood chips, leaves, pine needles or pine bark 3 to 4 inches deep around the entire planting area without coming in direct contact with the trunk.
  • Wet down the mulch.

You're done!

Things not to do

Only stake the tree if it is absolutely necessary. Stake should be removed after one year.

  • Do not prune a newly planted tree. This will not be necessary for at least 1 year after planting.
  • Do not add fertilizer to a newly planted tree. Wait at least 6 months after planting to add fertilizer. Often fertilizer is not needed at all (especially with native trees).

Contact the Cooperative Extension at 305-248-3311 for fertilizing recommendations.

Back to Top Page Last Edited: Thu Dec 12, 2013 2:45:33 PM
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