Tree Seedling Planting Instructions

Anyone can plant trees, but not all trees are planted successfully. Combining the right species with the right site, proper timing, and correct planting process, are all vital steps in establishing a successful seedling that will survive and grow for years to come.

Red and white oak trees are suitable to our climate, but they should be planted as soon as possible after receiving—ideally over the weekend—to increase their chances of survival. Below are instructions that you can use to ensure that your seedling is properly planted.


1. While preparing the ground for planting, keep your seedling in a bucket of water to keep roots moist. On hot or windy days roots can dry out rapidly.






2. Dig hole deeper and wider than root system, insert seedling and fill loosely with soil.







3. Gently firm around seedling to eliminate air pockets around roots. Do not stomp!







A properly planted seedling should have the root collar (zone between root and stem) even with ground level. Seedlings planted too deep, too shallow or J-rooted (tap root facing up) will not take full advantage of the seedling’s capacity to produce roots and foliage and is less likely to survive.



Water deeply every 7-10 days and let the ground dry out before the next watering. This encourages the roots to grow deeper which will ultimately stabilize the tree during storms and heavy winds and will also help the tree find water during dry spells.


Source: Indiana Department of Natural Resources

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