Tree planting and transplanting best practices

All the grown up trees you see around were once small trees. Thus, to maintain that green environment you enjoy while looking at it, you need to plant some more trees. Tree planting is not a stressful task, but it is a tricky process.

Transplanting is the act of moving the tree from one location to another. Planting is the act of placing the tree in an area where it will be easy to put it on the soil. It is worth noting that even trees which are almost 10 feet long can be successfully transplanted and planted in a new area.

Various factors determine the suitability of an area to support tree growth.

These factors to consider when selecting a planting location include;

Soil texture and drainage

The texture is the feel of the ground. Soil texture and drainage are directly related. Sandy soil is coarse in texture and drains well whereas clay soil is compact and has a poor drainage. The medium texture soil is called loam soil and is the best for farming as well as supporting vegetation.

To check the drainage of an area, just dig an-18 inches hole and fill it with water. Leave it overnight and check in the morning whether the water has drained through the soil. If not, the area has poor drainage.

Correct the drainage problem by digging a deep hole to break the impermeable layer and reach the porous section of the soil it will ensure that water will not stick in the hole for long.

Soil pH

It is the measure of alkalinity or acidity of the ground. A ph below seven indicates acidity and a ph of more than 7 indicate alkalinity. Ph of 7 indicates neutral soil. Most of the vegetation and trees do well in the ph ranges between 5.5 and 6.5. Soil ph can be brought back to normal by adding lime or calcium carbonate.

High ph tolerant trees include green and white ash trees, ginkgo and honey locusts. Areas around construction sites and buildings are known to have a higher ph.

Water level

There are some trees which are resistant to water and those which withstand drought conditions. Trees which do well in highly humid areas are river birch, hackberry, red maple, and Russian olive. Drought resistant trees include cork tree, ginkgo, Kentucky coffee tree and Caragana.


Some trees are more shade tolerant while others require more light for healthy growth. Shade-tolerant trees include green and white ash trees as well as the American linden.


The place where you plant trees should be away from any buildings or driveways. If you must plant trees along the path, ensure they are acidic soil resistant trees so that they won’t be affected by the concrete. Trees with huge roots can cause cracks on walls of houses and buildings.

Tree planting techniques

Trees can be transplanted from one place to the other by use of various methods.

Some of these techniques include.

Bare root

It is the cheapest and the essential transplanting practice. However, if not well maintained, it results in the highest mortality rate. The plant is uprooted with bare roots and stored for planting in spring in a temperature and humidity controlled place over winter.


The trees are bundled in moist materials ready for planting in spring. The same principles in bare-root process apply here too.

Field potted

These are plants that are dug with a ball of soil around them and placed in a container ready for planting.


These are tree plants which are dug as bare root and placed in a container. While planting, cut all the circular roots.

Container grown trees

These are trees which have been raised in a container from the time they were small seedling or seeds.

Balled and burlapped

These are tree plants which are carried from their original ground, and the balls are held together with a twine or a mesh.

Tree spade

Just like the shovel tractors, this machine cut the tree off the ground together with most of its soil and placed in the new location it is intended to be transplanted.

After planting care activities

  • Mulching to conserve moisture as well as prevent the weed from growing.
  • Fertilization to supplement the nutrients already in the soil
  • Pruning to maintain a healthy, natural growth
  • Staking – It is the support given to weak trees to prevent them from breaking.
  • Protect the trees from winter damage and damage from animals.

If you need more help or would like to hire a professional, reach out to: