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How to plant trees in your garden the right way – Step by step instructions

Gardener Ilias Antonopoulos planting a tree

Want to learn how to plant trees in your garden? Trees that will produce fruit for years to come!

Autumn and Winter are the perfect time to plant new trees in your garden. Do you miss orange trees, apple trees, cherry trees, tangerine trees, pomegranates, quince trees, almond trees, lemon trees, fig trees, etc.? Now is the perfect time to plant trees!

In this article I will try to give you practical tips to successfully plant trees. Trees that will catch on and be enjoyed by you and your successors for many years to come.

A Chinese proverb says:
If you want 1 year of prosperity, plant corn.
If you want 10 years of prosperity, plant trees.
If you want 100 years of prosperity, educate the children

Where do we get the tree saplings from?

We buy the tree saplings from nurseries. Your local nurseries will help you choose trees that suit the microclimate of your area.

They usually come in pots. If the tree you have chosen to plant is not self-fertile, you will need to purchase at least two trees, usually of different varieties that will cross pollinate its other.


Instructions for planting tree saplings

Step 1

instructions to plant trees 01

Dig a hole where you want to plant the tree. Place the removed soil to one side only. Tip: Keep the surface soil separate because it is more rich in nutrients. You will use it as the first layer to fill the hole with the planted tree.

The pit should be 2 to 3 times the diameter of the soil ball of the tree we bought from the nursery.

instructions to plant trees 02

The depth at which the sapling is planted is a critical parameter that can affect the survival of your new tree.

Instructions will be provided by the nursery. There are two situations.

Case A (Wrong). This is a very rare case, not to mention wrong. You will be asked to plant the sapling at a depth that covers the graft (the part of the tree’s union with the rootstock).

Case B (Right). You will be required to plant the sapling at a depth such that the point where the graft is present is above the soil surface. As a rule of thumb, try to plant the tree sapling in such depth that the roots will be in the same depth as when they were inside the pot you bought from nursery.

The fact is that the closer to the surface the roots are, the more easily they absorb oxygen and have access to the nutrients that are mainly found in the surface layer of the soil.

If in doubt, or if following case A, you see that the planting depth is alarmingly deep, ask your nursery again.

graft in a tree sapling

Step 2

instructions to plant trees 03

Pour a layer of compost or manure into the pit. The tree will use the nutrients in the first critical months of its growth in the new location.

Step 3

Next, insert a support stake into the pit. We will tie the sapling to this stake so that it will not be buffeted by the winds.

The stake should be placed on the side where the wind usually blows in your area.

Step 4

instructions to plant trees 04

If the sapling was growing in a pot, then you will notice that the roots are all intertwined and rotate around the center. To help the roots grow properly, we need to untangle them. To do this, we necessarily remove the external soil from the soil ball with our hands and release the roots. In the end, the roots should look like untangled. Use a hand pruner to cut the tips of the roots.

We wet the soil ball and the roots. For better results and to give sapling roots a nutrients boost, you can soak the root ball inside a bucket filled with water and manure.

Place the sapling in the pit.

Step 5

Pour some general-purpose fertilizer on top of the pile of lower level soil that was removed by opening the pit.

Step 6

Pour first the top level soil (that you kept apart) into the pit. Then add the soil with fertilizer back into the pit and around the sapling. Shake the sapling gently so that the soil goes everywhere and no gaps are created around the roots.

Step 7

Tie the sapling onto the stake. Tie it carefully so that the stake does not come into contact with the sapling. If the stake comes into contact with the sapling, there is a risk of injury to the sapling.

Step 8

Pour a thick layer of compost around the sapling. Make sure that the compost does not come into contact with the trunk.

Water your new tree. In winter, one watering a week is enough.

Step 9

If necessary, prune the sapling. It is a good idea to ask the nursery for instructions on pruning the tree you have planted.

Good luck!

Good luck with planting new trees in your garden! Plant trees and prosper!


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