How To Plant Evergreen Tree [ Full Guide ]

Evergreen trees are a beautiful addition to any landscape, providing year-round color and beauty. Planting an evergreen tree requires careful consideration of the tree’s specific needs, as well as proper preparation of the planting site and soil. By following the correct steps and guidelines, you can ensure the successful establishment and long-term health of your evergreen tree. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the process of choosing the right tree, evaluating the planting site, preparing the soil, and digging the hole properly to ensure your evergreen tree thrives in its new environment.

Quick Answer: How To Plant Evergreen Tree

Planting an evergreen tree can be summarized in a few key steps:

  1. Choose the right evergreen tree for your location and climate.
  2. Evaluate the planting site to ensure it meets the tree’s sunlight, soil, and spacing requirements.
  3. Prepare the soil by removing any debris, weeds, and improving its texture and fertility.
  4. Dig the hole properly, making sure it is the right depth and width for the tree’s root ball.
  5. Plant the evergreen tree at the correct depth, backfill the hole, and water thoroughly.

Following these steps will help ensure the successful establishment and growth of your evergreen tree.

Choose The Right Evergreen Tree

Selecting the right evergreen tree for your landscape is crucial for its long-term success. Consider the following factors when choosing an evergreen tree:

Climate And Hardiness Zone

Before selecting an evergreen tree, determine your hardiness zone to ensure the tree can survive in your region’s climate. Different evergreen species have specific temperature and climate requirements, and choosing a tree suited to your hardiness zone will increase its chances of thriving.

Size And Growth Rate

Consider the mature size and growth rate of the evergreen tree. Some trees may be slow-growing and compact, while others can reach significant heights and widths. Ensure the tree’s size fits the available space in your landscape and won’t interfere with nearby structures or other plants.

Sunlight Requirements

Evaluate the amount of sunlight the planting site receives throughout the day. Some evergreen trees thrive in full sun, while others prefer partial shade. Choose a tree that matches the sunlight conditions of the planting site to promote healthy growth.

Soil Type

Different evergreen trees have specific soil preferences. Some tolerate well-drained, sandy soils, while others thrive in moist, loamy soils. Understanding the soil type of your landscape will help you choose an evergreen tree suited to its growing conditions.

Ornamental Features

Consider the tree’s ornamental features, such as foliage color, texture, and form. Evergreen trees come in a variety of shapes and colors, so select one that complements your landscape’s aesthetic and design.

Evaluate The Planting Site

Once you’ve chosen the right evergreen tree for your landscape, evaluate the planting site to ensure it meets the tree’s needs. Consider the following factors when selecting the site:

Sunlight Exposure

Determine the amount of sunlight the planting site receives. Most evergreen trees prefer full sun to partial shade, so choose a location that provides the appropriate sunlight levels for your selected tree species.

Soil Drainage

Evaluate the soil drainage of the planting site. Evergreen trees generally prefer well-drained soil to prevent waterlogging, which can lead to root rot. Avoid planting in areas with poor drainage or standing water, as this can significantly impact the tree’s health.

Space And Distances

Consider the available space and distances from other plants, structures, and utilities. Ensure the planting site accommodates the mature size of the evergreen tree, allowing for ample space for growth without interference from other vegetation or obstacles.

Wind Protection

Assess the planting site’s exposure to strong winds. Some evergreen trees may require wind protection, especially when young, to prevent damage to their branches and foliage. Select a sheltered location or consider installing windbreaks if necessary.

Prepare The Soil For Planting

Proper soil preparation is essential for the successful establishment of an evergreen tree. Follow these steps to prepare the soil for planting:

Remove Debris And Weeds

Clear the planting site of any debris, rocks, and weeds that could hinder the tree’s growth. Remove any existing vegetation and create a clean, clear space for the tree to thrive.

Loosen The Soil

Use a shovel or garden fork to loosen the soil in the planting area. Loosening the soil helps improve aeration and drainage, creating a more favorable environment for the tree’s roots.

Improve Soil Texture And Fertility

Amend the soil with organic matter, such as compost or well-rotted manure, to improve its texture and fertility. Mix the organic matter into the soil to provide essential nutrients and enhance its overall quality.

Test Soil Ph

Conduct a soil pH test to determine the acidity or alkalinity of the soil. Most evergreen trees prefer slightly acidic to neutral soil conditions. If the soil pH is too high or low, adjust it by adding amendments to reach the ideal pH level for your selected evergreen tree species.

Dig The Hole Properly

Properly digging the planting hole is crucial for ensuring the evergreen tree’s successful establishment and growth. Follow these guidelines to dig the hole properly:

Determine Hole Depth And Width

The planting hole should be just as deep as the tree’s root ball and at least two to three times wider. Measure the diameter and depth of the root ball, and then dig the hole accordingly.

Create A Sturdy Base

Ensure the bottom of the planting hole is flat and sturdy to provide a stable foundation for the tree’s root system. Avoid creating a "bowl" shape at the bottom of the hole, as this can lead to water accumulation around the roots.

Position The Tree

Carefully place the evergreen tree in the center of the hole, ensuring it sits at the same depth as it was previously planted. Position the tree so that its best side faces the primary viewing direction in your landscape.

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Backfill The Hole

Fill the hole with soil, gently tamping it down to remove air pockets around the roots. Water the backfilled soil to settle it around the roots and eliminate any remaining air gaps.

Planting an evergreen tree requires careful consideration of tree selection, site evaluation, soil preparation, and hole digging. By choosing the right evergreen tree for your climate and landscape, evaluating the planting site, preparing the soil, and digging the hole properly, you can ensure the successful establishment and long-term health of your tree. Following these steps will help you create a thriving and visually appealing landscape with the addition of beautiful evergreen trees.

Add Nutrients To The Soil

Evergreen trees are a popular choice for landscapes due to their year-round beauty and the many benefits they provide, such as shade, privacy, and wildlife habitat. While planting an evergreen tree might seem like a simple task, it’s important to follow proper techniques to ensure the tree’s health and longevity.

Before planting an evergreen tree, it’s crucial to ensure that the soil is nutrient-rich and well-drained. This will provide the tree with a healthy foundation and promote root development. Begin by performing a soil test to determine the pH level and nutrient deficiencies in the soil. You can obtain a soil test kit from a local garden center or contact your local agricultural extension office for assistance.

Based on the results of the soil test, you may need to amend the soil with organic matter or fertilizers. Organic matter, such as compost or well-rotted manure, can improve soil structure and fertility. Spread a layer of compost or manure over the planting area and work it into the top few inches of soil using a garden fork or tiller.

If the soil test reveals specific nutrient deficiencies, you can address these by applying the appropriate fertilizer. Follow the recommendations provided in the soil test report to ensure you apply the correct type and amount of fertilizer. It’s important to note that excessive fertilizer can harm the tree, so follow the instructions carefully.

Remove The Tree From Its Container

Once the soil is prepared, it’s time to remove the evergreen tree from its container. Carefully lay the tree on its side and slide the container off. If the roots are tightly bound, gently loosen them by massaging the root ball with your hands or using a small hand tool, such as a garden fork or trowel. Loosening the roots will encourage them to spread out and establish in the new environment.

Inspect the roots for any signs of damage or disease. If you notice any unhealthy or damaged roots, trim them off with clean pruning shears. Be sure to make clean cuts and avoid tearing the roots. It’s essential to have a healthy and intact root system as it is vital for the tree’s overall health and growth.

Loosen Up The Root Ball

Before planting the evergreen tree, it’s important to loosen up the root ball to encourage root growth into the surrounding soil. This is especially crucial if the roots are densely packed or circling around the root ball. Gently score the sides of the root ball with a sharp tool, such as a knife or pruning shears, making several vertical cuts about an inch deep. This will help to break up compacted soil and stimulate new root growth.

Place The Tree In The Hole

Dig a hole that is wider and slightly shallower than the root ball. The width of the hole should be at least two to three times the width of the root ball to provide ample space for the roots to spread out. The depth of the hole should be just enough to allow the top of the root ball to sit slightly above ground level. Placing the root ball too deep in the hole can lead to drainage problems and root rot.

Lower the evergreen tree into the hole carefully, ensuring that it is centered and upright. Gently backfill the hole with the soil you removed, making sure to fill in the gaps around the root ball. Use your hands or a garden tool to lightly firm the soil around the root ball, but be careful not to compact it tightly, as this can restrict root growth and water penetration.

Remove Air Pockets & Firm The Soil

Once the hole is filled, it’s important to remove any air pockets in the soil. Gentle tamping with the back of a shovel or pressing with your hands will help to eliminate air spaces around the roots. This ensures proper soil-to-root contact and prevents drying out or suffocating of the roots.

Ensure that the tree remains straight as you firm the soil, and avoid excessive pressure to prevent damaging the root system. The final soil level should be slightly raised above the surrounding ground to allow for settling. After firming the soil, water the newly planted tree thoroughly to settle the soil further and provide moisture for the roots.


To conserve moisture and suppress weed growth, apply a layer of organic mulch around the base of the evergreen tree. This will also help to insulate the soil and regulate temperature fluctuations. Begin by creating a mulch-free space around the trunk to prevent moisture retention against the bark, which can cause rot.

Spread a layer of mulch, such as wood chips, bark, or compost, to a depth of about 2-4 inches. Ensure that the mulch extends at least 2-3 feet in diameter around the tree. Avoid piling the mulch against the trunk, as this can lead to moisture build-up and potential damage to the bark. Instead, create a slight depression or donut-shaped ring around the tree, leaving a few inches of space between the mulch and the trunk.

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Watering And Care

Proper watering is essential to ensure the establishment and growth of the newly planted evergreen tree. Water the tree immediately after planting to settle the soil and eliminate any air pockets. Use a soaker hose or drip irrigation to provide a slow, deep watering that reaches the entire root ball. This will encourage strong and deep root growth.

After the initial watering, monitor the moisture level of the soil regularly, particularly during the first year of planting. Check the soil moisture by inserting your finger or a moisture meter about 2-3 inches deep into the soil. If it feels dry, it’s time to water. Deep watering once or twice a week during dry periods is generally sufficient for most evergreen trees, but be mindful of your specific tree’s needs.

In addition to watering, it’s important to provide regular care for your evergreen tree. Pruning should be done selectively to maintain the tree’s shape and health. Remove any dead, damaged, or diseased branches as they appear. Avoid excessive pruning, as evergreen trees generally have a slow growth rate and can be sensitive to heavy pruning.

Regularly monitor your evergreen tree for signs of pests or diseases. Inspect the foliage for discoloration, spots, or unusual growth patterns. If you notice any abnormalities, consult a local arborist or plant specialist for identification and treatment options.

Properly planting an evergreen tree is a crucial step in ensuring its long-term health and beauty. By adding nutrients to the soil, preparing the root ball, placing the tree in the hole correctly, and firming the soil, you provide the tree with the best possible conditions for growth. Additionally, regular watering, care, and monitoring for pests and diseases will contribute to the success of your evergreen tree. By following these steps, you can enjoy the beauty and benefits of an evergreen tree in your landscape for years to come.

Water The Tree Thoroughly

Evergreen trees are a fantastic addition to any landscape. These trees retain their foliage throughout the year, providing beautiful greenery even in the winter months. Planting evergreen trees may seem like a daunting task, but with careful planning and proper techniques, you can ensure a successful and thriving tree.

Proper watering is crucial for the establishment and growth of any newly planted tree, including evergreens. Here’s how to water your evergreen tree effectively:

1. Choose the Right Time to Plant: Plant your evergreen tree during the early spring or fall when the weather is cooler and there is less heat stress on the tree. Avoid planting during the hot summer months.

2. Dig a Suitable Hole: Dig a hole that is slightly wider than the root ball of your tree but only deep enough so that the top of the root ball is level with or slightly above the soil surface. This will help prevent the tree from sinking or becoming too deeply buried.

3. Water Before Planting: Before placing the tree in the hole, water the root ball thoroughly. This hydrates the roots and helps prevent transplant shock.

4. Place the Tree in the Hole: Carefully place the tree’s root ball into the hole, ensuring it is centered and straight.

5. Backfill the Hole: Gradually backfill the hole with the soil, gently pressing it down to eliminate any air pockets. Add soil to the hole until the tree is firmly supported but not overly compact.

6. Create a Watering Basin: Create a watering basin around the base of the tree with the excavated soil. This will help retain water and direct it to the tree’s root zone.

7. Water Deeply: After planting, water the tree deeply and thoroughly. This encourages the roots to grow outward in search of moisture. Aim to provide one inch of water per week during the first year. Use a slow, steady flow of water to ensure it penetrates the soil deeply rather than running off the surface.

8. Monitor Soil Moisture: Regularly check the soil moisture around your evergreen tree. Stick your finger into the soil about two inches deep to test for moisture. Water the tree when the top few inches of soil are dry. Avoid overwatering as this can lead to root rot.

Mulch Around The Base Of The Tree

Mulching provides several benefits to evergreen trees, including moisture retention, weed suppression, and temperature regulation. Follow these steps to properly mulch around the base of your tree:

1. Clear the Area: Before applying mulch, clear the area surrounding the tree of any weeds or grass. This helps prevent them from growing through the mulch layer.

2. Choose the Right Mulch: Opt for organic mulch, such as wood chips or bark, that is free from pesticides and herbicides. These types of mulch break down over time, adding nutrients to the soil.

3. Apply Mulch Correctly: Spread a layer of mulch around the base of the tree, starting a few inches away from the trunk and extending outwards to the drip line. The mulch layer should be about two to four inches deep, but avoid piling it up against the trunk, as this can promote rot.

4. Leave Space Around the Trunk: Leave a gap of a few inches between the mulch and the trunk to prevent moisture buildup and potential damage to the tree.

5. Replenish Mulch Annually: Over time, the mulch layer will break down. Replenish the mulch annually to maintain its benefits. Remove any compacted or matted mulch and replace it with fresh material.

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Prune Your Evergreen Correctly

Pruning is an essential aspect of evergreen tree care. By pruning your tree correctly, you can shape its growth, improve its health, and maintain its aesthetic appeal. Here are some tips for pruning your evergreen tree:

1. Prune During Dormancy: Evergreen trees are best pruned during their dormant period, usually in late winter or early spring. This minimizes stress on the tree and allows it to heal before new growth starts.

2. Remove Dead or Damaged Branches: Begin by removing any dead, broken, or diseased branches. These can provide entry points for pests and diseases and restrict the overall health of the tree.

3. Shape the Tree: If you wish to shape the tree aesthetically or control its size, selectively prune branches to achieve the desired form. Avoid over-pruning, as this can weaken the tree and reduce its ability to withstand harsh weather conditions.

4. Use Pruning Tools Correctly: Ensure you use clean, sharp pruning tools to make clean cuts. Pruning shears are suitable for smaller branches, while loppers or pruning saws are necessary for thicker branches. Make cuts just above a bud or lateral branch, sloping the cut away from the bud to encourage outward growth.

5. Avoid Pruning Too Much: Never remove more than one-third of the tree’s foliage during a single pruning session. Excessive pruning can stress the tree and affect its ability to photosynthesize and produce energy.

6. Regularly Monitor and Prune: Check your evergreen tree regularly for any additional pruning needs. Trim branches as necessary to maintain the desired shape and remove any dead or damaged growth.

Care For Your Evergreen Tree After Planting

After planting your evergreen tree, it is essential to provide ongoing care to ensure its long-term health and vitality. Here are some tips for caring for your evergreen tree after planting:

1. Monitor Soil Moisture: Continue to monitor the soil moisture regularly, especially during the first year after planting. Water the tree whenever the top few inches of soil are dry. As the tree becomes established, you can gradually reduce the frequency of watering.

2. Fertilize as Needed: Evergreen trees generally do not require excessive fertilization, but if you notice signs of nutrient deficiency, you can apply a slow-release, balanced fertilizer in early spring or fall. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the appropriate dosage and application method.

3. Protect from Extreme Temperatures: Extreme cold or hot temperatures can stress evergreen trees. During periods of frost, consider covering the tree with burlap or a frost blanket to protect it from wind and freezing temperatures. Provide some shade during scorching summer days to prevent heat stress.

4. Control Weeds and Pests: Regularly inspect your evergreen tree for signs of pests, such as aphids, scale insects, or spider mites. Treat any infestations promptly using appropriate insecticides. Additionally, keep the area around the tree free from weeds that can compete for resources.

5. Avoid Overuse of Chemicals: Minimize the use of chemical herbicides and pesticides near your evergreen tree, as these can harm its health and disrupt the ecosystem. Opt for organic and natural methods of pest and weed control when possible.


Planting and caring for evergreen trees requires attention to detail and a commitment to their ongoing needs. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can successfully plant an evergreen tree and ensure its long-term health and beauty. Remember to water thoroughly, mulch correctly, prune appropriately, and provide the necessary care after planting. With proper care, your evergreen tree will thrive and enhance your landscape for years to come.


What Is The Best Time Of Year To Plant An Evergreen Tree?

The best time to plant an evergreen tree is during the fall or early spring, when the weather is cool and the ground is moist. This allows the tree to establish its roots before facing extreme heat or cold.

How Do I Choose The Right Location For My Evergreen Tree?

Choose a location that receives full or partial sunlight, as evergreen trees require sunlight to thrive. Make sure the soil is well-draining and has good aeration. Additionally, consider the mature size of the tree and give it enough space to grow.

What Is The Proper Way To Prepare The Planting Hole For An Evergreen Tree?

Dig a hole that is two to three times wider than the tree’s root ball, but only as deep as the root ball. Loosen the soil at the bottom of the hole to promote healthy root growth. Remove any debris or rocks from the hole before planting.

How Often Do I Need To Water An Evergreen Tree?

For the first year after planting, water your evergreen tree deeply once a week. In subsequent years, water during periods of drought or when the tree shows signs of wilting. Overwatering can be harmful to evergreens, so be sure to check the moisture level of the soil before watering.

Do I Need To Fertilize My Evergreen Tree?

It is not necessary to fertilize newly planted evergreen trees. However, if your tree is showing signs of nutrient deficiency, you can apply a slow-release, balanced fertilizer in the spring. Avoid fertilizing in the fall, as this can stimulate new growth that may not have time to harden before winter.