Planting Trees

Tree planting dibbleWhether you’re planting a single tree in your yard or several acres on a farm, tree planting is one of the most honorable acts you can perform.  The paybacks are many and not often appreciated.


Trees can provide income, provide pleasing views and places to hike, hunt, or play.  Trees are extremely important for erosion control, having millions of miles of fine roots that bind and protect the topsoil upon which man and beast depends. To wildlife, a grove of trees is home and food source.  Trees produce oxygen and provide wood and paper that humans use all day long.


Planting one or two trees in your yard is an easy enough task, but what if you want plant lots of trees, say a half-acre or more?  For that you would probably want to plant seedlings, which are baby trees 2-3 years old and 8-16 inches tall.  What kind depends on your personal desires and the conditions of the place you want to plant.  Step one of any big scale-planting job is to contact a state forester who can answer any question you have about tree planting.  Call the TN Division of Forestry for help.

When you know what kind of trees to plant you can order them from the Tennessee State Nursery at a reasonable cost.  Order forms for seedlings are available from TDF.


While you’re waiting for your trees to arrive, get the tree-planting site ready by mowing or removing unwanted vegetation.  The forester can advise you on what is needed.  When it’s time to plant there are two ways to go: by hand or by machine.  The hand method involves using a tool called a “dibble” or planting bar to open a small slit in the ground where you insert the tree seedling and close it back up using the same tool.  If you get good at it you can plant two or three trees a minute.  The machine method involves a tree planter pulled behind a dozer or tractor and works like a tobacco setter.   Small tree planters can be rented from the TN Division of Forestry for use with a tractor.    For rough ground a large planter pulled behind a dozer is probably best.  TN Forestry has a tree planting service available as well.

Once the trees are in the ground they need to be protected from tall weeds and grass for a couple of years until they are tall enough to make it on their own.  This can be done my mowing and/or applying herbicide.  After that you can sit back and enjoy watching them reach for the sky.

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