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A knowledge hub on urban forest, sustainability, biodiversity, caring for our trees, flora, and fauna and much more.

How to plant your trees

Planting a new tree in your yard is quick and easy.

First select a spot with sufficient space to allow your tree to grow to full size. Then follow these steps:

It is important to prepare the site for your new tree. You can do this by:

  • Removing turf/weeds.
  • Digging the planting hole, which should be:
    • 3 times the width of root ball or a minimum of 1 metre diameter.
    • Same depth as root ball
  • Lightly de-compacting soil below root ball (if necessary).
A tree in a pot in a hole

These steps will help give your tree the best possible chance at success:

  1. Remove the tree from the container.
  2. Gently handle the root ball, ensure it remains intact and does not disintegrate.
  3. Inspect root system for defects (pictured right):
    • Prune coiling or kinked woody roots at edge of the root ball.
    • Gently tease out fibrous roots at the edge of the root ball.
  4. Plant tree - ensure top of root ball is level with natural soil level
  5. Apply slow release fertiliser to the backfill soil and mix in evenly. For native trees use a native specific fertiliser.
  6. Backfill the soil around the trees root ball and gently consolidate. Do not cover the trees root ball, do not compress the trees root ball.
  7. Create a raised soil berm (minimum 100mm high) around the tree at approximately 3 x the width of the root ball to retain water and mulch.
Images showing how to plant the tree
  1. Water in with water and a liquid seaweed soil amendment. Apply enough water to flood the berm around the tree, allow the water to fully drain into the soil and repeat.
  2. Apply coarse woody mulch evenly within raised berm to between 50mm - 80mm depth. Ensure mulch is not in contact with tree trunk.
Image showing how to plant the tree

If the tree is unable to support itself without rocking at the base (where the trunk meets the ground) it will need staking. Stakes should be removed as soon as the tree can support itself, maximum 2 years after planting.

  1. Install 2 x wooden stakes on opposite sides of the tree, outside raised berm in undisturbed soil.
  2. Stakes angled out slightly at the top and firmly embedded in the soil.
  3. Loosely tie with flexible tree tie at a point approximately 2/3 height of tree.
  4. Ensure the tree trunk is able to flex in the wind without rocking at the base.
Photo of a staked tree

Trees require ongoing maintenance to be there best.


  • The tree will need regular, deep watering during its establishment.
  • The tree will need more frequent watering during warmer months.
  • Test soil moisture in the trees root ball, if the root ball is dry, apply water.
    • Apply enough water to flood the berm around the tree.
  • Deciduous trees should generally not be watered during their dormancy period.
  • Occasional application of a seaweed based soil conditioner will assist the trees root system to establish.
  • Certain species may require ongoing watering in order to thrive in the Perth environment, this will depend largely on the natural origins of the species.


In general it is best not to prune a tree unless you are experienced/qualified in tree management. If you feel your tree needs pruning, seek professional advice.


Remove the stakes and tree tie as soon as the tree can support itself.


Maintain the mulched area around the tree, where possible gradually extend the mulched area to the edge of the trees canopy as it grows.

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