How to Plant a Tree. In a Square Hole?

How to Plant a Tree.

In a Square Hole?

Apparently we are one of the last to know the proper way to plant a tree. Adding over 100 native trees and bushes to our landscape over the past several years, we have planted them all wrong!

plant a tree

Be sure and plant a tree the right way


plant a tree

Do you plant a tree in a square or round hole?



Come to find out (from a Facebook post, no less) the best way to plant a tree is to dig and place the tree in a large square hole. Not round, but square. I never thought of a different shaped hole but it makes sense. Trees are generally sold in a container, with their roots already growing in a circular direction. When you dig a round hole, the roots just keep going round and round inside the hole, creating more of a ball.

plant a tree

Dig a square hole for the best results


By planting a square hole, the roots move out from the trunk and keep going straight when they reach the perimeter of the hole. The tree grows stronger with more extended roots and survives drought better. Just brilliant!


The other important planting tip is to make the hole at least twice as wide as the root ball or pot holding the tree. This allows for some space for the roots to grow outward before reaching the edge of the hole. And the third tip is don’t plant the tree too deep or you could get root rot. The top of the root ball should be even with, or even a little above, the soil level.

plant a tree

Trees survive drought better when planted in a square hole


So why are we just finding out these important suggestions? Especially since they have been the subject of debate since the 1890s. And we pride ourselves on researching everything! At least, we now know so we can plant our next 100 trees using square holes.

And what 2 trees are best for your landscape (in our humble opinion)? Check out our blog Best Trees to Plant

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