How to Plant New Trees in Your Backyard Without Killing Them

So, you’ve decided to add a little more life to your backyard by planting a new tree or two. It’s a wonderful idea! Trees not only enhance the aesthetic appeal of your yard, but they also provide shade, improve air quality, and offer a habitat for local wildlife.

However, planting trees isn’t just about digging a hole and dropping in a sapling. If not done correctly, you could end up with a dead tree instead of a thriving one. Let’s walk through the essential steps to ensure your new trees get off to the best possible start.

Preparing the Site

Before you even think about planting a tree, you need to prepare the site. This step is crucial and often overlooked. If you’re replacing an old tree, you might need to deal with the remnants of the previous tree first. This could involve stump grinding. Removing the old stump properly will prevent it from interfering with the growth of your new tree.

Choosing the Right Tree

choose the new tree

Selecting the right tree species for your yard is paramount. Consider the climate in your region, the amount of sunlight the site receives, and the soil conditions. Native species are often the best choice because they are adapted to local conditions and typically require less care. Think about the tree’s mature size as well. Ensure there is enough space for the tree to grow without interfering with buildings, power lines, or other structures.

Planting the Tree

Now, it’s time to get your hands dirty. Dig a hole that is two to three times wider than the root ball of your tree but no deeper. The top of the root ball should be level with or slightly above the ground to allow for settling. Planting too deep can cause the roots to suffocate.

Watering and Mulching

watering new tree

Watering your new tree properly is critical for its survival. For the first few weeks, water the tree deeply once or twice a week, depending on the weather. The goal is to keep the soil moist but not waterlogged. As the tree establishes, you can reduce the frequency of watering.

Staking the Tree

In some cases, especially in windy areas, you might need to stake your tree to provide additional support. If your tree can stand on its own, it’s best to let it do so. However, if staking is necessary, use soft ties to attach the tree to the stakes, ensuring they are not too tight. Check the ties regularly and adjust them as needed to prevent girdling.

Pruning and Fertilizing

Pruning your tree correctly from the beginning can help shape it and remove any damaged or diseased branches. However, avoid heavy pruning at the time of planting. Lightly prune to remove any dead or broken branches.


Planting a tree is a rewarding experience that contributes to the environment and enhances the beauty of your property. By following these steps and taking the time to care for your new tree properly, you can ensure it grows healthy and strong, providing benefits for generations to come.