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Tree Planting

Tree planting is a fundamental aspect of urban and environmental management, crucial not just for aesthetic purposes but also for ecological sustainability. Certified arborists play a key role in the tree planting process. They are able to offer expert guidance that ensures the long-term health and success of planted trees. Their involvement is critical, from selecting appropriate tree species to assessing planting sites and caring for trees as they establish and mature.

Role of Certified Arborists in Tree Planting

Certified arborists bring a high level of expertise and experience to tree planting. This involves much more than just digging a hole and placing a tree. Their responsibilities include:

  • Site Assessment: Before any planting, arborists evaluate the site. It is important to determine the suitability of the soil, climate, and surrounding landscape. They consider factors such as soil type and pH, drainage, space constraints, and exposure to sun and wind. As a result, this will influence the survivability and growth of the tree.
  • Selection of Species: Arborists recommend tree species. As a result, they know trees that are well-suited to the specific conditions of the planting site and the goals of the planting project. They consider many variables in their planning. Most importantly, the tree’s adaptability, growth rate, mature size, appearance, and any potential for disease or pest issues.
  • Planting Techniques: Certified arborists are trained in the best practices for planting trees. As a result, this helps to ensure their healthy establishment. This includes proper handling of the tree before and during planting. As well, digging an appropriate-sized hole, positioning the tree at the correct depth, and using the right techniques to backfill and water the tree.
  • Post-Planting Care: After planting, arborists provide guidance on care requirements to support the tree’s healthy development. This includes advice on watering, mulching, fertilization, and protection from pests or mechanical damage.

Best Practices for Tree Planting

Certified arborists follow several best practices to maximize the success of tree planting:

  • Right Tree, Right Place: The adage “right tree, right place” underscores the importance of choosing a tree that fits its intended location, both physically and environmentally. This approach helps avoid issues such as interference with potential dangerous outcomes. Unforeseen dangers may include power lines, buildings, or other structures and reduces the maintenance burden.
  • Proper Planting Depth: Trees should be planted so that the top of the root crown is level with or slightly above the surrounding soil. Planting too deep can stress the tree and lead to poor growth and health.
  • Root Management: Handling the roots carefully is essential. For trees in containers, arborists ensure that any circling roots are loosened or trimmed before planting. For balled and burlap trees, the burlap and wire cages are often removed from the top portion of the root ball to facilitate root growth.
  • Soil Preparation: The planting hole should be two to three times wider than the root ball but only as deep as the root ball. This allows the roots to spread easily. Improving the soil with amendments based on the specific soil type and needs of the tree species can also be beneficial.
  • Watering and Mulching: Proper watering is crucial, especially during the tree’s first few years. Mulching helps retain soil moisture and regulates soil temperature but should not be in contact with the tree’s trunk to avoid moisture-related diseases.
  • Staking: While not always necessary, staking can provide support to newly planted trees in windy areas or when the tree cannot stand upright on its own. If staking is used, it should allow for some movement of the tree to promote strong root growth and should be removed after the tree is established.

Challenges and Considerations

Tree planting can present various challenges, including dealing with compacted soils, managing expectations for tree growth, and ensuring genetic diversity in urban forests. Arborists must also consider long-term sustainability, choosing species likely to thrive in a changing climate and urban conditions.


In summary, tree planting involves much more than the act of planting itself. Certified arborists contribute significantly to the planning and execution phases, ensuring that trees are planted in a manner that promotes their health and longevity. By applying their specialized knowledge, arborists help create sustainable landscapes that benefit both the environment and the community. Their role is essential in making informed decisions that lead to successful tree planting endeavors.