How To: Plant a Tree

By Matt Seek | April 1, 2013
From Xplor: April/May 2013

Arbor Day, which Missourians celebrate on the first Friday in April, is about appreciating trees. And why not? Trees clean the air, keep soil from washing into rivers, provide homes to animals, and offer shade to people. What’s the best way to celebrate this leafy green holiday? Plant a tree!

here’s what you need

  • Tree seedling (Order seedlings at
  • Spade or shovel
  • Bucket of water or a garden hose
  • Several handfuls of mulch

here’s what you do

  1. Plant your seedling as soon as possible. If you can’t plant it right away, store it in a cool, shady place and keep its roots moist.
  2. Choose a planting site that gives your seedling room to grow. Remember: Baby trees get bigger. Some, such as oaks, get much bigger. To learn how big your tree will grow, visit
  3. Dig a hole the same depth as the seedling’s roots and about a foot wide. Keep your seedling in its wrapper until you’re done digging. You don’t want its roots to dry out!
  4. Place your seedling in the hole. Make sure its roots are spread out and not bent.
  5. Crumble soil around the roots and pack the soil firmly with your hands.
  6. Give your seedling lots of water. This will firm up the soil.
  7. Spread mulch around your seedling, making sure the mulch doesn’t touch the trunk. Water your baby tree once a week unless nature gives it a good drink of rain.

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This Issue's Staff

David Besenger
Les Fortenberry
Karen Hudson
Regina Knauer
Noppadol Paothong
Marci Porter
Mark Raithel
Laura Scheuler
Matt Seek
Tim Smith
David Stonner
Nichole LeClair Terrill
Stephanie Thurber
Cliff White