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Tips for Planting Trees

Early spring is a good time to plant trees here in MN! The tree has the entire growing season to establish itself in its new spot.

Fall is also a great time to plant trees in MN! The tree can focus on growing its roots in the fall without worrying about growing new leaves or flowers.

Both of these times of year avoid the hot temperatures of peak summer, which are stressful to a newly planted tree.

Whenever you decide to plant a tree, there are some tips and tricks to know when planting to ensure your tree has the best chance of thriving.

planting a tree

Digging the Hole

Dig the hole JUST as deep as the root ball. The trunk should flare out right as it meets the soil. Do not cover the trunk with any extra dirt (or mulch), as that can suffocate the tree.

planting a tree

Examine your roots

If the roots are root-bound, or circling around themselves, you will want to cut those. If you skip this step, as the tree gets bigger, the roots will wrap around themselves or around the trunk, and cut off the supply of water and nutrients (essentially strangling the tree).

Another step to take is to score the outside of the root ball with a sharp knife. This will cut the small roots and allow them to grow new shoots out of the cut ends. These new shoots on the outside of the root ball will allow the tree to stabilize itself as those roots grow stronger and grow out. The steps you take when a tree is young are important in determining the longevity of your tree’s life.


Do not go wild with the fertilizer. Roots that are growing in fertilizer-rich soil will not venture out not the soil surrounding it. Studies have shown that trees planted in only the regular soil do better than those who grow in amended soil. If you want to fertilize, do so in the entire area that the roots will grow into to encourage root growth outward.



Adding mulch to the top of the soil after it is planted is a great way to hold in the moisture as the tree establishes. It also keeps the ground insulated around the tree. Start your mulch about 2-3 inches from the trunk in order to let the root flare breathe.


Watering a tree

Trees are stressed when they are transplanted, and some of their small roots have been cut or damaged. Watering regularly and closely watching how the tree responds to your care are important things to do after a tree has been planted.

It is especially important to consistently water your new tree when we get hot days. You don't want your tree going into too much stress, or it may not have enough vigor to survive the winter.

Please let us know if you have any questions about planting your trees!

Keep going and keep growing!


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