How to Plant a Tree (And Reverse Climate Change!)

Posted by Crystal Ponti on

Planting a tree is a simple act of breathing life back into our very oxygen-deprived planet. In fact, it’s the easiest and most affordable way to reverse the effects of climate change. With each tree you plant, carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere, thereby cleaning the air and reducing atmospheric temperatures.

Trees also beautify and add value to your property and neighborhood. And since they live for hundreds of years, they can be enjoyed for generations to come!

In order for a tree to have the best possible chance at survival, there are some proper planting protocol that should be followed.

Planting a Tree from a Container (Nursery)

If you’ve purchased a tree from a nursery that is containerized here is the step-by-step procedure for planting:

  • Find a suitable place to plant your tree. The ground shouldn’t be too wet or too dry and relatively flat.
  • Dig a hole that is two to three times the size of the container. The hold should slope at the sides like a saucer for the tree to take root.
  • Remove the tree from the container by gently tapping the sides and bottom and easing it out. Never yank or pull it roughly as you could damage the roots or foliage. Remove any tags or labels which can hinder the tree’s growth.
  • Place the tree in the middle of the hole. Do not allow the root flare to fall below the hole. Push some soil under the tree to allow the root flare to sit slightly above ground level. Use soil to secure the tree in a straight, upright position. Firmly pack the hole with the original soil. There should be no air pockets. Keep backfilling until the soil is just below the root collar.
  • Dig a basin to hold water around the hole, and thoroughly water the tree. Allow time for the water to soak in and then place a barrier of mulch 2 to five inches deep and about two to three feet wide around the base of the tree. Do not allow the mulch to come in contact with the tree.
  • Keep the soil and mulch around your tree moist, but not soaked. The tree should never be sitting in a soggy hole. Water the tree generously once a week during dry periods for the first year.

Do not use fertilizer or any chemical on young trees! These products can burn the tree’s foliage or cause total death of a tree.

Planting a Bare-Root Tree

A bare-root tree requires extra gentle handling and caution when planting.

  • Gently unpack your tree and detangle the roots with care. Remove any packing materials, labels, or tags which can hinder tree growth. Soak the untangled roots in water three to six hours. Do not allow the roots to dry out between soaking and planting.
  • Dig a large hole, larger than what seems required, allowing ample space for the roots to grow outward and not crowd together. Remove any grass that is growing within three feet around where the tree is to be planted.
  • Plant the tree at the same depth as where it previously was planted. Leave plenty of room for the roots. Fill the hole less than halfway with soil, packing the soil around the lower roots (gently). Do not add chemicals or fertilizers to young trees.
  • Fill the rest of the hole with the remaining soil. It should be firm, but not packed tightly.
  • Dig a basin to hold water around the hole, and thoroughly water the tree. Allow time for the water to soak in and then place a barrier of mulch 2 to five inches deep and about two to three feet wide around the base of the tree. Do not allow the mulch to come in contact with the tree.
  • Keep the soil and mulch around your tree moist, but not soaked. The tree should never be sitting in a soggy hole. Water the tree generously once a week during dry periods for the first year.

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