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Check out this short video for an overview on the basics of planting a new tree. Additional detailed instructions are below.


Happy planting!​​

Selecting the Right Planting Location

​Identifying the right planting location is critical in maximizing the health of the tree and minimizing potential harm to nearby structures.

LOOK UP | Be sure to find out the mature size of the tree species you wish to plant so you can select a location that will allow it to reach its fullest size without posing issues to nearby structures, utility lines, or other trees.

Your planting location should be:

> 3 feet from pavement or fencing on all sides

> 15 feet from buildings or other trees

> 25 feet from electrical wires, if your tree will grow taller than 30 feet

DETERMINE PLANTING CONDITIONS | Factors such as sunlight, drainage, and soil quality should be taken into consideration when choosing a location for a new tree. Compare what your preferred location offers to the needs of your preferred tree species.

A Simple Guide to Planting Trees

Five Point Plan from Our Friends at

Woody Warehouse Nursery

​12/18/2022 | Courtesy of William DeBoer

CONTAINER AND HOLE SIZE | Regardless of which container you have, the hole you dig should match the container height and be 2-3 times the container width. Doubling the width helps the roots as the venture into the vastly different medium of the soil. All Woody Warehouse Nursery containers should be removed prior to planting, as they do not break down in the ground and will hinder the root's ability to escape. They will gladly receive empty containers to be cleaned and reused.

DIG THE HOLE | A good old-fashioned shovel works great when you are digging just a few holes. Make sure you do not plant deeper than the container depth. Burying the trunk of the tree can lead to long term health issues. Make sure the top of your new plant's root ball is in line with or slightly above ground level. If you are too tall, simply remove more soil. Likewise, if you are too far down, backfill with existing soil. The root flare should be visible at the surface level. If you do not see the root flare, remove excess mix until it is visible.

ASSESS THE SOIL | This is a great time to assess the soil you are getting ready to plant in. Does it crumble or have sand? Is it mostly blocky clay that does not break down? If the sides of the hole are shiny and sheer, not only will the roots have difficulty branching out, but it might suggest a drainage issue. If your tree species cannot handle those conditions, you may need to find a new planting location. Use your shovel to break up sheer sides so they are rough and have holes and cuts. This will help the roots once you backfill.

PLACE THE TREE AND BACKFILL WITH EXISTING SOIL | With the hole dug correctly to match the root ball, it is time to gently place the tree (having previously removed it from its container) and backfill the hole with the existing soil. Tamp down firmly to remove air pockets, but not too aggressive as to significantly compact the soil. You do not need to add fertilizer as excess will promote vigorous growth leading to water stress during the summer. Native plants do not need pampering like common ornamental nonnatives. Have faith that in most circumstances your soil will contain adequate nutrients.

ADJUSTMENTS AND WATERING | Now that your native tree is installed, ensure the orientation is straight. If not, correct and tamp down the soil to hold the position in place. Staking is not necessary unless the tree is leaning heavily to one side or you are in a very windy area. Ensure newly planted trees are watered regardless of season.

Root Force Container.png

A note about Woody Warehouse Nursery trees.

They are grown using the RootForce growing system. The true benefits of these specialized containers are dense, fibrous roots that are "searching" and ready for planting. No need to cut and mangle the roots due to encircling.

Simply pull out of the container, plant, and enjoy watching your native tree thrive!



  1. Plant root flare slightly above ground level.
    You don't want the tree sticking out like a mole hill, but letting the flare reside an inch or so above ground level will help with settling so that the tree does not get buried over time.

  2. Leave the soil amendments at the store.
    Native plants will not need expensive ingredients or root stimulants. You can actually do more harm than good by offering the 'platinum package' to trees that do not require them.

  3. Don't forget to mulch.
    Post-installation watering and adequate water retention will greatly aid in the tree's success. Construct a 'donut' mulch ring that is 2-3 inches deep around the base of the tree. Avoid piling excessive amounts of mulch (often called mulch volcanoes) and keep mulch from directly touching the tree's trunk.

Follow Up Watering

​An important factor in tree survival is providing the right amount of supplemental water during the first three years.

Watering frequency largely depends on soil drainage and weather conditions. As a general rule, water your tree for about 30 seconds with a rain head nozzle every other day during the dry, hot summer months if natural rainfall is minimal. Mulching your tree will also help retain moisture during hot weather.

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