3 Steps to Planting a New Tree This Fall

3 Steps to Planting a New Tree This Fall

A wise arborist once gave us great advice, “If you have $100 worth of tree, you should spend $200 digging your hole.”

Well, although that arborist wasn’t Davey board certified master arborist R.J. Laverne, he does share that philosophy when offering advice on planting a tree.

Among the many benefits of planting a tree are the tree’s ability to provide us with fresh oxygen, the added property value and the cooling effect it has on our yard. And with the fall season in full swing, we’re presented with the perfect time to plant. Adding trees to your yard at this time of year allows the roots to become established before dormancy, giving them a head-start next spring.

Taking full advantage of these benefits requires a plan!

Phase 1: Setting the stage

As our wise arborist tells us, digging a hole to accommodate the whole root system of the tree is essential for proper tree growth. Not planting trees deep enough can lead to a number of long term problems.

To avoid potential tree decline, dig a hole that is at least twice the size of the tree’s root ball. Then, identify where the tree’s roots being and plant at this depth.

Phase 2: Placing the tree

As you place your tree in the hole, carefully roll it by the root ball. The tree should only be transported by the base to avoid wear and tear on the bark.

Keep in mind that the soil environment can be to blame for stunted growth in new trees. Be sure to use existing soil on the site rather than bringing in additional soil.

Phase 3: Maintaining the tree

After the tree is planted, add a good amount of mulch to provide roots with moisture as they come in. Keep the mulch a few inches away from the base of the tree so that the trunk isn’t covered.

To help your tree grow properly, keep stakes in for about a year before letting the tree take on its natural growth. Keep your tree hydrated all the way up until the soil freezes.

You can find more information on fall tree care and a video guide to proper planting on our fall checklist. Contact your local arborist with additional questions about tree planting.

Additional resources:





  • Ted Coonan September 29, 2016 >Thanks for your great tips in this article and the associated article: Fall Tree Pruning
  • John Lopez November 2, 2015 >Well, you could get help from tree service providers either for planting a tree or maintenance, In my opinion this is the best option.
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