How to plant and care for your tree seedling

Click here to watch a video.

1. Find a good location to plant your tree:

  • Talk to your parents or other adults you live with about finding a good place to plant your tree. Your parents may want to check with the owner of the place where you live to ask permission to plant the tree on their property.
  • Find a location where there is:
    + At least 8 feet of space between the tree and other trees or buildings.
    + Clear space overhead – no roof or wires that the tree could go in to.
    + Water available, either from sprinklers or other irrigation like a hose. 
  • If you don’t have a good place to plant your tree where you live, reach out to your neighbors, friends, and other family members to see if they would allow you to plant your tree where they live

2. How to plant:

  • Have your parents or another adult help you dig a hole that is:
    + As deep as the planter “sleeve” the tree came in, the “height” of the root ball
    + Twice as wide as the root ball.
  • Be sure not to make the hole too deep as this can kill the tree.
  • Place the tree in the center of the hole and re-pack the soil you dug out around the tree. Press down hard on the soil so there are no air pockets below ground. This is very important.
  • If you have access to soil amendment and you can mix that with the soil you put back around the tree, that is ideal.
  • Make sure the top of the root ball is even with the top of the soil once you pack it down.
  • Be sure to water your tree after planting. If that causes the soil to sink around the tree trunk, place more soil back around the tree’s trunk.
  • In order to make it easier to water, build a little basin by making a 2 – 3 inch “wall” of packed-down dirt in a circle around your tree. That way you can fill up this area with water and allow it to sink in around your tree and not run off.

3. Caring for your tree:

  • Make sure to water your tree at least twice a week in the first year of its life. If your tree is planted in very dry soil or when the weather is really hot, you may have to water it more often. Once the tree grows larger, it does not need as much water to grow and you can space the times you water further apart.

4. Recording where your tree was planted:

  • We want to see where all our trees got planted so once you plant yours, go to the website and click on the Tree Locator rectangle, the one with the map. Fill in the form that comes up, it asks where you planted your tree, what kind it is, and what school and grade you are in. You can even attach a picture of your tree in its new home. Once you enter all the information, the app will let you know how much work your tree will be doing for all of us and our environment. You can also look at the map and see where other trees have been planted and how much collective good all of the trees we’re planting will do.
  • We’re hoping you will get your tree planted by April 22nd, which is the 50th anniversary of the very first Earth Day.

5. If you don’t have a place to plant:

  • If you can’t find anywhere appropriate to plant your tree, you can plant it in a pot and keep it watered and growing until you can find a place. Or, you can bring your tree back to your teacher or take it to the city of Redlands’ fire demonstration garden on Saturday morning, April 4th between 10am and 2pm. The fire demonstration garden is near the Redlands Dog Park at the corner of E. Highland Avenue and Roosevelt Road. The city will take care of your tree and eventually plant it in a park or along a Redlands street.


Thank you for participating in the Redlands Earth Day 2020: Trees, Please! and helping to make our community a greener, more sustainable, and healthier place.