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How to plant a tree

and take care of it

Tree care before planting


If you have a bare root tree, it is best to plant it as soon as possible, preferrably within three days.

Never store a tree indoors in a heated space.

Store the tree outside in a shaded spot out of direct sunlight, or store in an unheated place such as a shed or unheated garage.

If the outside temperature will drop below freezing, then put the tree in a place that will remain above freezing, such as a shed or unheated garage. If you can't bring it into a garage, then mulch the roots or container heavily to keep the roots from freezing.

Water during storage and before planting:

If you have a bare root tree, and are not able to plant it immediately, keep the roots moist by watering and mulching. 24 hours before planting, soak the roots in a tub of water.

If you have a balled-and-burlapped tree or a tree in a container, keep the soil moist until you are ready to plant. 24 hours before planting, gently give the tree enough water to saturate the ball or container (the tree can be placed in a tub of water overnight).

Planting a tree

UC Green (Cooperative Community Greening)* has developed instructions available as pdf files. You will need Adobe Reader to view the files.

Depending on the type of tree you are planting, select from the options below:

Tree care after planting

  • Tree Care* (PDF, 23kb) - now that your tree is planted, read some tips on keeping your tree healthy.
  • Watering* (PDF, 91kb) - As a nursery person once said, if you don't intend to water your tree, save your back and your money . Here are a few good tips on watering.
  • Mulching - Maintain a 2-4 inch layer of mulch as far out as the spread of the tree's branches. The mulch controls weeds, keeps the soil moist, and replaces grass (which competes for nutrients). Keep the mulch from touching the tree trunk to avoid decay. Recommended mulches include composted leaves, pine needles, seasoned wood chips, shredded wood mulch,  or root mulch.


* By following this link you will exit the Abington EAC website and go to a website that is not associated with or endorsed by the Abington EAC.