Plan before you plant

  1. image:Landscape planMake a sketch of your property. Draw the location of buildings, power lines, underground utilities, existing plants, and cardinal directions (north, south, east, and west).
  2. Before you buy a tree, consider:
    • The tree's mature height
    • The tree's mature canopy size (length of branches)
    • The tree's estimated life-span (for example, silver maples often live less than 80 years, while an oak might live 300 years or more)
  3. Choose the right tree. Consider the soil type, amount of sunlight, and drainage. Buy healthy trees from a reputable nursery. A "cheap" sapling from a discount retailer may end up costing much more because it may not be healthy or long-lived.
  4. Plant to save energy and money. For example, plant deciduous trees to the east or west of a house provides cooling shade in the summer, but allows warming sunlight in the winter. Planting conifers to the north and image: Planting tree diagramwest can shelter a home from wind. Leave enough space between trees.
  5. Plant correctly. Plant at the right depth. Add 1 or 2 inches of mulch around the tree (but not right next to the bark). Make sure that the tree gets at least 1 inch of water a week.
  6. If you want expert help, contact your DNR forester, county extension office external link, or soil and water conservation district external link.