7 Steps for Planting Bare Root Trees in Your Yard

Begin with a Soak

Soak tree roots in water for one to two hours, pruning any broken or damaged branches during this time, as soaking longer can deplete the roots of oxygen.

Dig a Planting Hole

Dig a hole twice as wide as the tree’s root system, ensuring the depth matches the distance from the trunk flare to the bottom of the roots, and consider the tree's mature size when choosing the planting location.

Make a Cone in the Center of the Hole

Create a cone-shaped mound of soil in the center of the planting hole, place the tree on top, spread the roots over the soil, and adjust the mound so the trunk flare is even with the soil surface.

Backfill with Soil from the Planting Hole

Fill in around the tree with excavated soil, firming it around the roots without adding compost or other amendments.

Build a Shallow Basin and Add Mulch

Build a 3-inch-tall ring of soil around the root zone to form a basin for water, and spread a 2-inch-thick layer of mulch over the root zone, keeping it away from the trunk.

Add a Stake

Use strong, wide strips of canvas or rubber to anchor newly planted trees two to three feet into undisturbed soil outside the root zone. Remove the stake in the second growing season.

Provide Plenty of Water

Water the newly planted tree deeply with about 5 gallons of water, check the soil once or twice a week, and provide supplemental watering through the first growing season and into years two and three if conditions are dry.