Tree & Bees Tips for Planting Trees

Planting a tree is not as simple as going to the local nursery, picking out the one you like best, and shoving it in a hole. The labor involved in tree planting isn’t all physical—successfully planting and growing a tree involves some mental taxation as well. Learn the right type of tree to plant, your local regulations for planting trees, and a few other pertinent details so you can pick the perfect tree.

What Type of Tree Should I Plant?

Choosing a tree to plant is the fun part. Make sure you pick a tree that is well-suited for your hardiness zone, produces colors you would like to look at for a long time to come, and has a maintenance level you can tolerate.

Planting Trees Guide
The Frigid North
If you live in a colder climate, you may want to consider an evergreen such as the Colorado blue spruce which will stand strong through ice and snow. If you prefer a weather-hardy tree that produces a color other than green, the Eastern Redbud blossoms with fantastic pink flowers in early spring. Another good choice is the sugar maple—it provides a rainbow of foliage and can even take a good deer rut without too much damage.
The Sunshine States
The lucky southerners in the crowd have a couple tree options that the cold-inclined just can’t grow. One such tree is the persimmon with its superbly sweet fruit. Another tree that thrives in the heat is the Black Mission Fig, which loves to lounge in the sun all day long.
The Paris Hilton of Trees
Dated reference? Yeah, perhaps—but it totally fits. The Willow is a very high maintenance tree. It needs nipping, tucking, and trimming to keep up appearances with its thin and slightly sad branches. You have to admit though, when you have a tree that beckons everyone to look at it, "That’s Hot."
A Low Key Tree
If you want a tree that you can plant, walk away from, and look at occasionally but never touch again, the Golden Rain Tree should be at the top of your list. Tolerant to multiple climates as well as pollution, this tree is as chill as it sounds.

When is the Best Season for Planting?


The experts at Purdue agree that small trees benefit from autumn’s cooler temperatures, ideal humidity, and mild precipitation. A tree can become stressed during planting, so gentle conditions are important.


It is best to plant bare-root trees, such as the apple or plum, in late winter during the tree’s dormancy.


Larger trees, as well as many flowering and fruit-bearing trees prone to damage from the cold, do better when planted in the spring. Overall, spring is a good choice for planting most varieties of trees, but the unpredictable rainfall could put root systems in danger—particularly in areas prone to wash out.


You can plant trees in the summertime as long as you provide plenty of water; however this is not the most favorable planting season.

While some trees do better in an autumn or spring planting, many trees have the potential to thrive in nearly any planting condition. Using good practices, such as protecting the tree from harsh weather, ensuring proper watering and drainage, and planting in well-aerated soil will help your tree succeed.

Tree Planting

Local Regulations for Planting Trees

Keep your municipality in mind before you buy that monster tree. Some cities and villages have restrictions on the type of tree you plant—and even where you plant it. For example:

  1. Planting a Tree in Los Angeles: In L.A., anyone can plant an approved species of tree in the right-of-way after obtaining a free permit.
  2. New York City Tree Guidelines: New Yorkers must plant a tree with a two year guarantee, give it 20 gallons of water at the time of planting, and use bark mulch around the trunk. Read New York City’s Tree Planting Guide before you buy, because the restrictions are heavy here.
  3. Miami, More Than Palm Trees: If you want to plant a tree in Miami (but not at the street or near an overhead power line), make sure it’s at least ten feet tall. Also, avoid a tree whose root system might disturb sidewalks, sewer systems and nearby structures.
  4. The Windy City: The City of Chicago offers up an Urban Tree Planting List for your convenience. The list provides not only the types of trees you can plant; it also identifies which trees are tolerant to road salt and which species of trees stay small enough to plant under utility wires.

If you live in the unincorporated area of a city, you may have more freedom to choose what trees to plant, but check county ordinances before you head to the nursery.

Tree Planting Equipment Examples and Costs

If you are planting your own trees, you will need the right tools for the job. Costs vary by the quality of equipment you choose. Lower quality, less expensive tools are just fine for planting a single tree. If you want to fill in your acreage, invest in tools that will withstand a bit of punishment.

Equipment and Tools I want to plant 1 Tree I want to plant more than 1 tree

Digging Bar

Has a poking end and a prying end to loosen dirt and pull up rocks

$30 $167

Diamond Point Shovel

Use to simultaneously break up and move soil

$52 $91

Tile Spade / Planting Shovel

Has a narrow blade to start your planting hole

$28 $85

Auger (rental cost/day)

A drill for dirt available in different sizes; you probably won’t rent this for just a single hole

$60 $330

Think you are ready to plant a tree? Pick out a climate-tolerant tree for your area, look over your own city’s tree planting regulations, and grab your tile spade. Choose your tree wisely and you can enjoy the fruits of your labor for a long time to come.

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