What you'll need

  • A tree selected to suit your location -- your Home Depot associate can help determine the right tree for your needs.
  • A round point shovel
  • Organic soil (if good soil is not available at the site you've chosen to plant your tree.

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How to Plant a Shade Tree

If located properly around your home, trees can have a positive impact on your heating and cooling costs.

Choosing the right type of tree matters, too. While evergreens help block the wind in every season, deciduous trees help block the strong sun in the summer, but allow sunlight to pass through bare branches in the winter to help warm your home.

Step 1: Choosing a Shade Tree

  • Select a garden spot where you’ll benefit the most from a shade tree, preferably on the south or west side of your home. Choose a tree whose canopy will grow to provide summertime shade.
  • Determine how long you’re willing to wait for your tree to provide shade. Fast-growing trees may give you more shade sooner, but those with moderate growth rates (and generally stronger wood) are more likely to live longer and less likely to be damaged during storms.
  • Consider maintenance issues. Different trees have varying levels of work associated with them in regard to raking, pruning and cleaning up.
  • Always try to choose a tree native to your area. This will minmize maintenance and ensure the tree will have a better chance at a long and healthy life.
  • Consider a tree that has been able to develop for 3 to 5 years. This will ease the transplanting process.


Step 2: Transporting and Planting Your Shade Tree

  • Deciduous tree can be planted in the spring once frost is out of the ground or in the fall before the ground freezes. A good rule of thumb is to plant early in the spring on in the fall between the first week of August and the end of October. Local climates vary, so it’s a good idea to check with The Home Depot garden associate for the best times to plant in your area.
  • Minimize stress. Make sure your tree is well protected during tranport. Secure loose branches and twigs with twine and pad the trunk and roots with burlap.
  • Keep the root ball moist and cover exposed roots. Try to keep the tree in a shady location until you are ready to plant.
  • Roughen the sides and bottom of the hole to allow the roots to penetrate the soil more easily.  The soil should be moist.
  • Use a spray of water to loosen the roots and straighten them out. Do not expose the fine root hairs to direct sunlight or winds. This may damage them.
  • Plant the tree so that the top of the root ball is level with the top of the hole. Fill in the hole with good quality soil or the soil that had been removed from the hole.
  • Fill the hole 2/3 full and then tamp it down. Fill the remaining space with water and allow the water to settle the soil.
  • Once drained, fill the hole completely with soil.
  • It is a good idea to create a ridge of soil around the root ball. This will help direct water to the roots while the tree is establishing itself in its new location.


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