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Tree Planting Guidance

April 26, 2017

Planting a tree on your property can provide shade on a hot summer day, increase your property value, and it’s good for the environment. When planting a tree in your yard, keep in mind the following tips.


First, when deciding what type of tree will work best in your yard take note of the conditions of the area. Does it receive a lot of light or very little? Is it an area that tends to get excess run-off when it rains? What is the maximum height a tree can grow in this area? Is there enough room for a large root system to spread out? Trees can be a big investment, so it’s a good idea to do the research before purchasing a tree. Your local garden center can also help you determine what types of trees will thrive on your property.

Next, contact Diggers Hotline to have your property checked for utility lines. Keep in mind that trees should NEVER be planted directly over utility lines. As roots grow, they can become tangled in utility lines causing damage which could result in service outages and pricey repairs. Try to plant trees no closer than four or five feet from any type of utility line. The more space you keep between the plant and the utility lines, the better.

After the markings are complete and your Diggers Hotline start time has passed, you will need to dig a hole for the tree. The hole should be approximately twice as wide as the current root system. It may also be helpful to aerate the soil within several feet of the hole to aid the roots in growing. Make sure the hole is just deep enough that the roots are not crowded and that the root collar (the area where the trunk begins to branch into roots) sits just slightly above ground level.


Take care to always lift the tree by the roots, not by the trunk. Similarly, the tree should not be pulled from the container. Instead, tap the container to gently remove the tree. If it cannot easily be removed, the container can be cut away using a wire cutter or hand shear. If the tree is in burlap, simply cut off any excess material. However, if the burlap has been treated, you will need to remove it completely.

Keeping the tree straight and the root collar just above ground level, fill in the hole around the roots. Be careful not to crush or damage the roots while packing down the soil. You want the dirt to be firm, but not tightly packed down. There is no need to add fertilizer or any additional products to the soil. After the hole is filled in, you can mulch the area around the tree, but be sure to leave the area around the root collar free from dirt and mulch. Water your tree frequently, but not so often that you flood the soil.

By following these simple steps, you can ensure that your tree is properly planted and will grow to its full potential, allowing you and those around you to enjoy it for years to come