When’s the last time you planted a tree? It’s been a full year for me but I’m ready to plan some more this spring. If you’re planning to plant then here’s some helpful information from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Seedlings should be planted as soon as possible. If you need to store them, keep them in a cool and dark location to protect them from damage. And, be sure to keep the roots moist—but not wet. This will prevent seedlings from drying out.
Plan and prep your planting site so you can move quickly on planting day to minimize touching and exposing seedlings. First, figure out how many seedlings you want per acre and the space you need between seedlings to meet your goal. For example, if you spaced seedlings 8 feet apart you would end up planting 538 seedlings per acre. Remember to prep your site to expose soil and remove competing vegetation before you start planting. No need to take the seedlings out of the bag and have the roots drying out while you take time to prep the soil.
Follow these steps when planting your seedlings:
Keep seedlings covered, in the shade, and out of direct sunlight.
Handle seedlings carefully and as little as possible.
Use a planting bar when planting several acres.
Clear away debris from planting site.
Create a hole big enough for the roots to be fully extended.
Place seedling in hole so first/top root is slightly below soil surface.
Distribute roots evenly and prevent the roots from forming a “j” in the hole.
Pack or heel-in soil firmly around roots to remove any air pockets.
Water seedling after planting.
Follow this illustrated planting guide or check out this pocket-sized planting card.
To improve survival of your seedlings after they have been planted, provide seedlings with a good soak of water at least once a week. Also keep surrounding vegetation from competing with seedlings. Finally, consider fencing, cages, or using planting tubes to keep your seedlings safe from animal damage.
For more information, check out our tree planting and care page.