Tips on Planting the Right Tree in the Right Place

Before you dig, do your homework.

Anyone can dig a hole and “plant” a tree, but you want the tree to survive. Ask yourself if this is the RIGHT TREE and is this the RIGHT PLACE?

Pick the Right Tree

There are hundreds — even thousands — of different kinds of trees that you can select to plant. Check with your local nursery, certified landscaper, garden club, or city forester for a list of the trees that will provide all the characteristics you desire (size, shape, colors, flowers, hardiness, growth rate, etc.) and grow best in the spot you select.

You can buy a tree from a local nursery (or mail order catalog), or ask them to make a donation. Beware: Many government agencies, businesses, and community groups give away tree seeds and small seedlings, but these “free” trees may not be the RIGHT TREE for your particular planting spot. Also, bigger trees, when planted property, usually have a better chance of surviving then small ones. HELPFUL HINT: Plant the biggest trees you can!

Check the Soil

Be sure to check the soil conditions, drainage, and how much water and sunlight the tree will need. Try to anticipate how large the tree might grow in the future and allow plenty of room for this expansion. This simple exercise will improve your long- term chance of success. It is also a wonderful way to integrate key science concepts and processes (change, cycles, predicting, collecting and analyzing data) into your Arbor Week activities.

Find the right location

  • To find a good spot at school, check with your superintendent and landscape crew.
  • To find a good spot in town, check with your city forester or local park director.
  • Always check with your utility companies! (Overhead wires? Underground pipes & cables?)

If a good location can not be found, don’t panic! Plant your trees in large pots or containers. Place the trees outdoors on the patio, in the courtyard, near a window, or along the sidewalk or driveway. (Don’t forget to check on the trees regularly).


Learn about the trees of Idaho

Learn about our dynamic forests