How to Plant Your NRD Trees

How to Plant Your NRD Trees

Thank you for selecting trees from the Upper Big Blue Natural Resources District! Each year we provide thousands of trees to be planted in our district. These trees provide air and water filtration, protect soil from erosion, and create wildlife habitat. Trees are essential to the wellbeing of all Nebraskans. Thank you for doing your part to make Nebraska a more beautiful and sustainable place to live.

Basic Planting Instructions

Step one

1. Insert spade at 45-degree angle, push forward to upright position.
step two

2. Remove spade and place bare seedling at correct depth.
step three

3. Hold seedling at correct depth, insert spade 3 inches from seedling.
step 4

4. Pull spade handle away from seedling to close hole at bottom of roots.
step 5

5. Push spade handle forward to close hole at top of roots.
step 6

6. Stomp with heel to ensure good soil contact with roots.
Air pockets around the roots will cause problems!

Tree Tips

Prior to planting...

  • Keep trees moist and cool.
  • Check packages occasionally to see that the roots remain moist.
  • Keep storage time to a minimum. Plant trees within a few days.
  • If you aren’t planting right away, store trees in a cool damp area such as a basement or garage.
  • Do not remove trees from packaging. Allow good air circulation around each package.
  • Do not allow roots to be exposed to wind or direct sun for any length of time.

Ready for planting...

  • Open the package of trees and place the trees in a pail of water. Use the pail to carry the trees to the planting site. This will keep the roots moist while the trees await planting. Do not leave trees in a pail of water for more than a few hours.
  • Dig a hole large enough to accommodate the root system of the tree. Space trees adequately so that they will not be crowded when they get bigger.
  • Hold the tree erect and spread out the roots and fill in the hole with soil. Pack the soil firmly around the tree with your hands. Leave a shallow depression around each tree to hold water.

After planting...

  • Water the tree thoroughly to settle the soil around the roots.
  • Keep tree plantings free of weeds while they get established. Time and effort spent on proper weed control and protection during the early years is important to the success of your planting.
  • Mulching around your newly planted trees is a great way to reduce weeds. Apply about 2" of loosely packed organic material such as wood chips. Mulch helps to retain soil moisture, but should be kept away from the base of the tree.
  • Depending on the variety of tree you plant and your location, you may wish to provide fencing around your trees to keep rabbits and deer from making a meal of them.
  • Newly planted trees will need to be watered each week if there is not enough rainfall. Be careful not to over water. If you water deeply (about 3 gallons) every 7‐10 days and let the ground dry out before the next watering, the roots will grow farther down and will have an easier time finding water on their own.

Treen planting diagram
This graphic comes from the NRCS-USDA (see the full guidance document)