How do I plant a tree?
  • Before you dig, locate all underground utilities by calling Sunshine State One Call at (800) 432-4770 two days before digging. This is a free service. 
  • Dig a shallow, broad planting hole. The hole should be 2 - 3 times the diameter of the root ball, but only as deep as the root ball.
  • To avoid damage when setting the tree in the hole, ALWAYS lift the tree by the root ball and NEVER by the trunk. The trunk flare, where the roots spread at the base of the tree, should be partially visible after the tree has been planted. It is better to plant the tree a little high, 2-3 inches above the base of the trunk flare than to plant it at or below the original growing level. Planting too deeply is a common cause of tree failure.
  • Straighten the tree in the hole before backfilling it with soil. Fill the hole about 1/3 full and gently but firmly pack the soil around the base of the root ball. If the tree is balled and burlapped, cut and remove the string and wire from around the trunk and the top third of the root ball. Fill the remainder of the hole, taking care to firmly pack the soil to eliminate air pockets by adding the soil a few inches at a time and watering in. Continue this process until the hole is filled and the tree is firmly planted.
  • Stake the tree, if necessary. Trees establish more quickly and develop stronger trunk and root systems if they are not staked at the time of planting. If you do need to stake the tree, use wide, flexible tie material (not wire) that will hold the tree upright, provide flexibility, and minimize injury to the trunk. Remove support staking and ties within one year.
  • Mulch the base of the tree. Mulch helps retain moisture, moderates temperature extremes, and reduces competition from grass and weeds. Place mulch in a layer 2-4 inches deep, keeping the mulch 1-2 inches away from the base of the tree. Your ring of mulch should extend at least 2 feet from the tree trunk to minimize the risk of string-trimmer damage to the trunk. Even though cypress mulch may be the least expensive and most readily available mulch, avoid using it since its use is threatening the survival of these native trees. Use melaleuca mulch instead, an environmentally-friendly alternative that is helping to eliminate an exotic invasive tree species.
  • Provide follow-up care. Keep the soil moist, but not soaked (overwatering will cause leaves to yellow and fall off). Gradually reduce the frequency of watering as the tree gets established. Conduct only minor pruning until the tree has completed a full season of growth.

Show All Answers

1. How do I select a tree?
2. How do I plant a tree?
3. How do I hire an Arborist?
4. How do you prune a tree?
5. Removing a tree?