The saying goes “When’s the best time to plant a tree?.. yesterday! and the second best time… today!” Trees are beneficial for so many reasons: creating a home and life source for many animals and insects, providing relief and promoting health for humans, and storing carbon dioxide that would otherwise be warming the Earth.

Here’s a quick how-to on how to plant a tree. For more resources check out Canopy’s link here: and Friends of the Urban Forest here:

Tree Planting Steps

For seeds, make a little indentation, then bury it shallowly, maybe as deep as the seed’s width (depends a bit on the seed, though)

For plants do these steps:

  1. Clear the ground of all plants, grass, etc. in a circle about the length of the plant’s root or about 6 in diameter, whichever is larger.
  2. For plants, always remember that breaking the root or stem will probably kill the plant. Be very gentle, especially during the moments when the plant’s root is exposed.
  3. It matters how far apart you plant the plants.  Usually they should be about 1 full plant-height apart – the height of the grown plant, not the height of what you are planting.
  4. Dig a hole a little deeper than the plant’s root (or container) so the root can stretch out & be comfortable.  On a steep slope, the hole can lean a little off the vertical. Keep the dirt handy.  
  5. Hold the plant or container in the hole.  You want it deep enough so the boundary between root & stem will be buried a little.  If needed, either dig deeper or fill in some dirt to get the hole the right depth.    (To plant in sand, dig really fast & deep or just moisten the sand so you can dig normally.  But it’s a super pain to plant in sand & remember that smaller plants grow better in sand anyway) 
  6. When the depth is right, remove the plant from the container and sprinkle the dirt in, including dirt from the container. Ideally, the root will be surrounded on all sides by dirt, but it can lean against the side of the hole if necessary.  A good rule of thumb is that all the dirt you dug out should go back in.  No fair piling the dirt up around the stem if you didn’t get the hole  deep enough. To deepen the hole, dig next to it so you can lift out the plant without exposing the root. 
  7. Pack the dirt down around the plant so the side roots have dirt to climb sideways on (Unless you’re planting in sand – In sand, the roots will need air gaps, so leave the sand loose).  
  8. Where feasible, make a little ring of dirt & pebbles around the plant will keep water in to nourish the roots.  
  9. When done, give the plants a good dose of water and continue watering.