Tree Planting Basics

Tree Planting Basics

A common mistake people make when planting a tree is to directly plant it into the ground from the container. Below are guidelines to follow to make sure you have planted your tree in the most optimal way possible.


Choose the right tree for your site, and the right site for your tree!

Avoid planting trees close to one another and take into account potential obstacles for growth such as overhead or underground utilities that may prevent your new tree from thriving.


Winter and early spring are the best times to plant new trees.

When temperatures are cooler, trees are less active and can handle the stress of planting better. Planting before the growing season gives new trees an opportunity to become established before the stress of summer heat.

Site Preparation

Before digging, especially if planting a larger tree, locate any underground irrigation or utility lines so that they will not be damaged. In Texas, homeowners (or their contractors) are required to contact Texas811 two business days before digging, even in their own yard.

  • Remove turf grass or other ground cover before digging
  • Dig the right-sized hole for the tree you are planting
  • In general, the hole should be three times the diameter of the container or roots of the tree to be planted


We have two guides that will show you how to plant a tree so you can avoid common issues like girdling roots, improper depth, over/underwatering. The following links can be found here:

  • How to Plant a Tree
  • How to Plant a Tree How-to Video

Initial Care

Plan to water your new tree at least once a week in the spring, fall, and winter, and twice a week in the summer. We have two guides that can be found here:

  • Tree Watering Guide
  • How to Water a Tree How-to Video

Maintain a proper mulch radius (3″-4″ deep, two to three feet from the trunk) around your new tree, adding more mulch as needed and as the tree grows. Learn more about mulch here:

  • Benefits of Mulch
  • How to Apply Mulch How-to Video


Young trees do not need to be trimmed for several years, but may benefit from structural pruning.

Additional Resources

Texas A&M Forest Service has tree planting guidelines online. In addition, the International Society of Arboriculture also offers planting tips.

At Tips Tree Planting, we love trees and we love our community! We hope this article on tree planting will take the guesswork out of how to plant a tree. We have additional resources on our North Texas Tree Owner’s Guide:

  • Tree Selection
  • Tree Planting
  • Tree Care
  • Common Tree Issues
  • Getting Help with Your Trees