5 Tips For Planting Trees

September 2, 2020

Even though it’s not quite the fall season yet, cooler weather is just around the corner. And if you’ve been waiting all summer long to start planting trees around your yard, now is finally the time to start planning!

Many people believe that the summer is the best time to plant trees because that’s when they’re growing, but actually, the spring and fall seasons are the best time to plant. But planting a tree is much more than just digging a hole, putting the tree in the ground, and hoping for the best.

At Apex Tree Experts, we’re passionate about helping homeowners throughout the Tacoma area have happy and healthy trees from little samplings into maturity. We offer tree pruning, hedge trimming, stump removal, and more. If you’re planting trees, you can rely on us for tree services throughout the life of the tree.


5 Top Tips For Planting Trees in the Fall

Dig the Hole

It sounds easy enough, for digging the hole for a new tree is an important first step in the process. The hole should be around two to three times wider than the root ball on the tree, this will give the roots plenty of space to spread out and establish within the soil. The hole should not be too deep, though. At the base of the trunk of the tree, there will be a slight flare where it extends into the roots. This flare of the trunk should not be covered with soil. It’s not uncommon even for nurseries to plant a tree too deep, so if it’s more shallow in the ground than it was in the previous container, that’s okay.

Prepare the Roots

Roots need oxygen to truly thrive, so take a look at how the roots are growing when the tree is first taken out of the container. If the roots are taking the shape of the container or are growing in a circular pattern, they will need to be broken up. Pull the roots apart with your hands or if they are especially tough, don’t be afraid to use a pair of scissors to break them up at the very bottom of the root ball. Causing some initial stress will be much better for the tree in the long run. Leaving the roots as they are could make it hard for them to draw water from the soil, and there is a greater risk of the tree dying when the roots are not broken up.


Digging a wider hole for the tree is also an opportunity for mulch to be added. Place about three inches of mulch around the tree, about two to three feet from the trunk of the tree. Types of mulch can include shredded leaves, wood chips, or a mixture of manure and other organic materials. Mulch offers a variety of benefits, including moisture retention, it can help keep the roots cool, and can minimize weed growth.


Watering is one of the most important tasks that you have when planting trees. Newly planted trees should be watered regularly until it is fully established, which can take months or even up to a year. For the first two to three weeks, water the tree every day. The next two to three weeks, cut back to around every other day. From there, you can pay close attention to how to tree reacts, and watering will depend on the weather conditions at the time as well. Being in the Tacoma area, we see quite a bit of precipitation, so you may need to water less than this. In general, give the tree around one gallon of water per week per square foot of the root spread.

Stake the Tree

To give the young tree some stability, it may need to be staked. Trees that are 10 feet tall or higher, or if there is a lot of wind in the area, use a soft material or padded wire where the stake touches the trunk.

Apex Tree Experts offers professional tree services throughout the Tacoma area. From guidance on planting new trees to tree trimming, removal, and stump grinding, you can expect quality service and experience contractors to ensure that your trees are happy and healthy throughout their lives. Contact us today for a free estimate.