How To Plant A Tree   |   FAQ’s   |   Resources

How to Plant a Tree

Before You Dig

Call 811 before you dig or go to to submit a utility locate request at least 2 business days prior to digging. Locaters will mark any utilities within your dig site or will notify you if clear.

One Call of Wyoming Website
Number 1 Icon

Prepare Your Tree

Remove any bamboo, trunk protectors such as carboard or plastic tubing and tags, ties, or tape that could girdle the branches or trunk of the tree.

  • Measure the diameter of the root ball. The hole should be at least 2-2.5 times the diameter of the root ball. Once you have determined the diameter, mark the outsides of the hole with paint to guide you.
Planting hole width
Number 2 Icon

Prepare the Hole

  • If planting in a lawn-type setting, remove the turf grass by “shaving off” the grass layer with a Pulaski or flat shovel. This helps to separate the soil, which you need for planting the tree, from the turf, which you don’t want near the new tree. The roots of turf grass steal valuable water and nutrients from young trees.
  • To determine the depth of the planting hole you must first find the root flair. The root flair is where the stem transitions to roots. If the root flair is not visible, remove the tree from the pot and dig down into the root ball to find the root flair or first main root. A gardening claw works well for this.
  • Once you have found the root flair measure from the flair to the bottom of the root ball this will be the depth you want to dig the hole.
  • Dig the planting hole but be sure to not go too deep. Check the depth by using a tape measure or by setting the tree in the hole and placing a post or shovel handle across the hole. The root flair should be just above grade.
measure root ball
check depth
Number 3 Icon

Check for Circling Roots

If circling roots are present, use a hand saw or reciprocating saw to box cut the root ball by cutting down through the outside of the ball, severing all circling roots .

Box cut circling roots
Number 4 Icon

Plant Your Tree

Place your tree into the hole and back fill. Do not amend the soil and make sure the trunk is straight.

  • While back filling, add water to the planting hole and gently compress the soil to remove large air pockets. Be sure to not place soil on top of the root ball. If you have excess soil, construct a berm around the root ball to help retain water.
Back fill and water
Number 5 Icon

Stake Your Tree

Just outside of the planting hole, drive in two posts on opposite sides of the tree. Use arbor tie or tree straps to secure the stem to the posts, allowing some movement of the stem. Allow space between the stem and the knot in the arbor tie to allow for stem growth and to prevent girdling.

stake your new tree
Number 6 Icon

Mulch Your Tree

Evenly spread 2-4 in. of wood chip mulch over the entire planting area. Do not mound the mulch at the stem and Do not use weed barrier or landscape fabric beneath the mulch.

mulching new tree
Number 6 Icon

Water Your Tree

If you are using a tree watering bag, place the bag around the trunk of your tree and fill it. If you do not have a water bag, water the tree at a rate of 10 gallons per inch of stem diameter.

  • Remember to water your tree twice a week during the growing season and once a month during the dormant season.
water new tree
Planting FAQ's
Is there a fee for calling 811?

No, calling 811 is a free service.

Will cutting the roots while box cutting the root ball hurt my tree?

No, cutting the roots while box cutting your root ball will not hurt your tree. In fact, this process prevents the harm caused by circling roots.

If my tree came with a bamboo rod, shouldn’t I keep it with the tree?

There is no need to keep bamboo rods with your tree as you plant it. Keeping the bamboo with your newly planted tree can cause harm to your tree as it grows and expands.

Should I add fertilizer to the soil when I plant my tree? /Should I amend my soil?

There is no need to amend the soil. The soil that comes with your tree is highly fertilized at the nursery.

Planting Resources

Recommended Trees image

Recommended Trees for Cheyenne

Thanks to Our Sponsors