Tree Planting Tips from Professional Arborists


Spring is a great time for tree planting! Saplings that are put in the ground now have a chance to establish roots before the seasonal rains and summer heat encourage new top growth.


Planting trees on your northern Utah property can increase its value, which makes the project a smart investment. But to get your saplings off to a good start and give them the best chance at growing healthy and strong, you’ll need to follow the proper tree planting steps. Here, the professional arborists at Rivendell Tree Experts explain what you need to do.


Choose the Right Saplings


Different tree species have different needs. Consider the soil and sunlight conditions at the tree planting sites, and make sure you select saplings that are capable of thriving on your property.


Locate Your Underground Utility Lines


Hitting a utility line when you’re working on a tree planting project could knock out the power – and it could even cause serious injury or death. To avoid this, find out the locations of your lines before you begin.


Dig a Properly-Sized Planting Hole


Professional arborists recommend digging a hole that’s about two to three times as wide as the sapling’s root ball. The hole should be shallow, only as deep as it needs to be to accommodate the root ball.


Prepare the Sapling for Placement

Before placing a sapling in the hole you’ve dug, remove the container or wire basket, if it has one. Then, use your fingers to gently pull apart the root ball, as doing so helps encourage healthy root development after tree planting.


Place the Sapling and Fill with Soil


Set the sapling in the hole, making sure the trunk is straight. Add soil to the fill the space, lightly packing it in to eliminate any air pockets – too much air can dry out the roots and lead to growth problems.


Support the Sapling with Stakes


If the sapling is struggling to stand tall on its own, you can use tree stakes to hold it in place. Pound the stakes into the ground, though the root ball, and loosely tie them to the trunk. You should only stake as needed and in general, stakes shouldn’t be left there longer than 6-12 months. Stakes left longer can cause other negative issues.


Apply Mulch at the Base of the Tree


Mulching is beneficial for young saplings, as it helps keep more moisture in the soil. Professional arborists advise on applying a layer of mulch that’s about two to four inches deep around the base – but be sure to leave space around the trunk. Also, be sure you don’t "volcano" the mulch up against the tree as that encourages disease and root issues. Make sure the top of the root flare is visible above the mulch.


Provide Follow-Up Tree Care


Once your saplings are solidly planted, they’ll need ongoing care to keep growing strong and healthy. Water them once a week, or frequently enough to keep the soil moist without water-logging the roots.


Are You Thinking About Planting Trees?


​If you want to make sure your tree planting project is completely trouble-free, consider hiring a professional arborist.


​Rivendell Tree Experts, based in Lehi, serves homeowners and businesses in the greater Salt Lake and Utah County areas. Our experienced arborists provide free, no-obligation consultations and estimates – and we don’t charge an arm and a leg to plant trees. For more information on our tree planting service, contact us today!

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