9 Easy Steps for Proper Tree Planting
blogdetail.jpg 18 Jan

9 Easy Steps for Proper Tree Planting

Planting a tree in your yard is a rewarding experience that adds beauty to your landscape and provides many benefits. A healthy and well-maintained tree can be an investment in the future, offering shade, reducing your cooling bill, and creating a favorite gathering spot for family and friends. However, to ensure the success of your tree-planting project, the Southern Star Stump recommends the following simple and crucial steps. 

Select the Right Tree and the Right Spot

Choosing the suitable tree species and the perfect spot in your yard is the foundation for successful tree planting. Consider the tree’s mature size, growth rate, and compatibility with your soil and climate. Native trees are an excellent choice as they are well adapted to local conditions but ensure enough room for growth without interfering with buildings, utility lines, or other structures. The last thing you want is a premature tree and stump removal emergency. 

Dig a Square Hole

After choosing the tree and location, dig the planting hole. While many people usually dig round holes, digging a square hole is more beneficial. A square hole encourages the growth of tree roots into the surrounding soil more easily. The hole should be twice the root ball size in width, allowing the tree to sit at the same depth as it was in the nursery or container.

Trim, If Needed

Consult a certified arborist to inspect the tree for damaged or overgrown roots. Timely trimming roots is essential for healthy growth, as it allows you to remove broken or dead branches. This step helps adapt to its new environment and minimizes the risk of tree and stump removal projects.

Plant Tree

Remove the tree from its container or wrapped root ball and place it in the center of the square hole to ensure the correct depth and level. Fill in the hole with the soil you removed, tamping it down gently as you go so you don’t damage the roots. 


After planting the tree, water the hole thoroughly to settle the soil and eliminate air pockets. The hole is filled with soil until it’s level with the surrounding ground. Tamp the soil down lightly again to ensure stability. However, don’t harden the soil around the tree to avoid compaction and the subsequent consequences. 

Stake as Needed

Young trees may need staking for stability. This is crucial to prevent toppling over in strong winds or storms. Use soft materials like tree straps to secure the tree to the stakes, allowing room for movement while still providing support. Once the tree becomes established, remove the stakes, usually after the first year.


Add a 4-inch layer of mulch around the base to help hold moisture, regulate soil temperature, and suppress weeds. Mulch also enhances the aesthetic appeal of the tree’s surroundings. If you need help to choose mulch material, consult a tree service expert or use the wooden chips from a stump grinding site. When applying mulch, leave space around the tree trunk to prevent moisture buildup, which can lead to rot.


Proper watering is crucial during the initial years after planting. Water the tree regularly, especially during dry spells. Deep watering encourages the roots to grow deeper into the soil, improving the tree’s stability and resilience. Monitor the soil moisture to ensure it remains consistently damp but not waterlogged.

Cage as Needed

Install a protective cage or barrier if you have wildlife or pets that may threaten your newly planted tree. This will help safeguard the tree from damage while it grows. Onboard a trusted tree expert to determine if caging is necessary and recommend the proper technique. 

Planting a tree is a beautiful investment for your property and the environment. Following these simple steps will enhance your landscape’s beauty and ensure your tree’s long-term health. If you have any doubts or questions, contact us at the Southern Star Stump for valuable guidance tailored to your specific needs. We leverage extensive knowledge and expertise to provide quality services, including affordable stump removal, and stump grinding, at competitive rates.