Skip to main content

Tree Planting Resources

Learn the We Plant Trees process
FAQ & Tips for Tree Planting in Virginia and Beyond

Call your local Department of Forestry for more details!

  • It depends. If they are bare-root seedlings, you will need to plant them right away. If they are tubelings (arriving in small containers), then you have a few days to a week before planting them. Regardless, we would like to stress that you plant them ASAP! The sooner you plant them, the higher rate of survival!

  • Typically there are periods in the winter and the summer when it's either too cold or too hot. In the winter, you cannot plant when the ground is frozen. The roots will not anchor well in frozen soil. In the summer, when it's hot and the soil is baked, the roots of the tree will quickly dry out. The best time to plant trees is in the fall (Late September/October-December) and in the Spring (February/March-April/May). Overall, the best planting time depends on optimal temperature, location, and soil moisture.

  • No, it is not necessary when you plant them initially. If you choose to do so a few years later after they are more established, we suggest that you use slow release fertilizer and consult your local nursery for advice.

  • We would recommend that enough water be added around each tree to ensure that the soil is moistened to the depths of the roots. In the heat of summer, this could mean watering your trees a couple of times a week, or even every day. In the winter, the soil retains moisture much better than it does in the summer and shouldn't need nearly as much water.

  • It depends on the tree species, as tree spacing is contingent on the tree's canopy at maturity, in addition to their enormous underground root system. For bigger trees, like a tulip poplar, an oak, or a sycamore, the canopy at maturity could range from 30-50 feet in width. If you want your tree canopies to touch, but not interlock, we recommend planting at the width of the canopy at maturity. If you do want the trees to interlock, however, you can plant them closer together. It's totally up to you!

    *Helpful tip when determining spacing for your trees: 30 ft. is about 10 adult paces!

  • Yes! Trees will compete with each other for crucial resources including sunlight, water, and space. By planting a tree under the shade of a well-established tree, the more mature one will win those resources 99% of the time. It's important that you plant your new tree where there is lot of sunlight, healthy soil to allow the roots to anchor with plenty of space, and have access to water. It's also worth noting that when you dig your hole to plant your tree, make sure there are no rocks or other roots from existing trees. Planting under these conditions could potentially hinder the development of the tree's root system.

  • If in a heavily deer populated area, we suggest that you use a stake and a tree protection tube, which can be ordered online or can be found in your garden/home supply store. We also suggest adding a weedmat to reduce competition of growth around the new tree. They will have a much higher survival rate if they are protected from wildlife during their first few years.

Get in touch
Please don’t hesitate to email if you have any more questions!
Megan Eastman
Nonprofits Project Coordinator