How to plant a tree

There is nothing more satisfying than planting a tree and watching it grow over the coming years. Follow our steps below to get your tree off to a good start. 
 

Time required
60 minutes
Level of expertise needed
Beginner
How to plant a tree

Equipment


  • Tree in a container
  • Bucket
  • Watering can
  • Spade and fork
  • Stake and tie
  • Tree guard or spiral
  • Mulch (organic matter like chipped bark)

Top tip!

It is important to understand the eventual height and spread of whatever tree you plant - check labels or look for free information on our website. The best time to plant is between October and April.

1
Step 1
Step 1

Dig a hole three times as wide as the pot and the same depth. Loosen the soil around the hole with a fork.

2
Step 2
Step 2

Thoroughly soak the root ball in water before planting - standing it in a bucket is good for this.

3
Step 3
Step 3

Loosen the root ball to encourage roots to grow into the soil.

4
Step 4
Step 4

Place the root ball in the hole so that the point where the roots meet the trunk is level with the surface of the soil surface.

5
Step 5
Step 5

A piece of wood can be useful to check the level.

6
Step 6
Step 6

Refill the hole ensuring there are no air pockets around the roots. Firm the soil around the tree making sure the stem remains upright.

7
Step 7
Step 7

Use a tree guard or spiral if your garden has wildlife visitors who may want to nibble the bark.

8
Step 8
Step 8

Water well. Add a 5-8cm (2-3in) layer of mulch but leave a 10cm (4in) mulch-free collar around base of stem.

9
Step 9
Step 9

Top-heavy trees will probably need staking. Put the stake in firmly at a 45 degree angle - use a hammer to make sure it's secure.

10
Step 10
Step 10

Now attach a tie to your tree to support it in windy weather. Garden centres can show you how to do this when you buy it.

All how to guides

Get involved

The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.