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How to Plant a Tree (or hundreds of trees)

Successful Tree Planting

Grass and Weed Control

Planting 500 seedlings doesn’t have to be overwhelming. The seedlings can be planted fairly quickly with a sand shovel technique (shown below) that does not require excavation and filling of individual holes. A person with experience can plant 500 trees in a day. If you can’t plant the seedlings immediately keep them in a cool place in bags, turning the bags daily. They can be kept this way for 1-2 weeks, longer with refrigeration. 

If you do not want to do the work yourself, your district forester can help you locate and hire a private contractor who has the equipment and expertise to plant the trees for you. Also many county conservation boards have tree planters available for a small fee or loan that can be pulled by a tractor. Some of the county conservation departments offer a tree planting service for a fee. 

How Many Trees Do I Need? You can estimate 700 trees per acre depending on your design needs and other conditions. Rows 8' apart and trees 8' apart within rows, or rows 10' apart and trees 6' apart within the row, equals approximately 700 trees per acre. Shrubs can be planted in rows 8' apart and 4' apart within the row, which equals approximately 1400 plants per acre; or rows 10' apart and shrubs 5' apart which equals approximately 900 shrubs per acre. 

Sand Shovel Planting Technique


step one

Step 1
Insert shovel vertically into soil.  


Step two

Step 2
Insert shovel at an angle
to create a wedge of soil.


Step three

Step 3
Lift out soil wedge


Step four

Step 4
Place seedling against vertical side of hole, replace soil wedge, then step on wedge to anchor it in place.