Trees and shrubs are the largest, most dynamic, and long lived components in our landscapes. Trees and shrubs beautify and enrich our lives with a variety of forms, flowers, seasonal colors, and interesting bark and offer functional benefits such as privacy, temperature modification and reduction of noise or pollution. In addition to functional goals, plantings of trees and shrubs are used for positive psychological effect in certain settings such as reducing stress and crime, and speeding the recovery time of hospitalized patients. Regardless of why we plant trees and shrubs, survival through the establishment period and productive growth through maturity is the most basic
desired result. Establishing a living landscape that will thrive and increase in value depends on: careful species and variety selection, choice of nursery stock, plant placement, correct planting practice, and adequate maintenance.

Objectives of Planting Trees and Shrubs

  •  Add pleasing attributes to a landscape
  •  Summer cooling of buildings and patios
  •  Focal point of a landscape
  •  Erosion control
  •  Privacy barrier
  •  Reduce noise and pollution
  •  Windbreak
  •  Memorial, commemoration or gift

Considerations of Planting Trees and Shrubs


  •  Site characteristics: climate; soil type, fertility, and drainage, neighboring plants.
  •  Plant characteristics: growth rate, mature height and spread, disease resistance, and pest problems.


  •  Locally grown nursery stock is the best choice for short and long term survival.
  •  Nursery stock types: bare root, containerized, container grown, or balled & burlapped.
  •  Planting specifications: cost, size at start, site requirements.


  1. Decide when to plant: early fall offers longest most productive “grow-in” time, spring is second best.
  2. Evaluate and prepare site: mark property for underground public and private utility lines, protect site from equipment damage, create access routes to planting site(s), take note of overhead electric lines.
  3. Protect plants from damage during unloading and staging.
  4. Dig and prepare the planting hole: hole should be twice the width and the same depth of the planting ball, plant should be thoroughly tamped, watered, mulched to outside the drip-line and watered again.
  5. Watering must be maintained at proper amounts and at regular intervals after planting.

Qualifications for Selecting, Sourcing and Planting Trees and Shrubs

Executing the principles and practice of planting trees and shrubs is a complicated process when undertaken with accuracy. While many practices have been handed down from one landscaper to another for decades, some good, some bad, modern principles of tree and shrub planting are the result of testing, observation, training, and research. An ISA Certified Arborist is extensively trained in the technical elements of selecting, sourcing and planting trees and shrubs and held to a continuing education requirement. All planting work performed by an arborist shall be completed in compliance with the ANSI A300 technical standard and the Z133.1 safety standard.