Why Plant Trees?
Our urban forest is a precious resource. A healthy tree canopy provides cleaner air and cooler temperatures, replenishes groundwater, enhances public health, and creates vibrant, livable neighborhoods.
There are many reasons to plant a tree (even during the drought):
As our climate becomes hotter and drier, our urban forest will be even more valuable. Planting more trees now will ensure that our urban forest provides benefits for future generations.
Our existing tree canopy is aging and dying. It is our job to plant the next generation of trees.
Trees improve our air quality by removing pollutants.
A well placed tree can help you save energy (and money!) by shading your home.
Urban wildlife depends on the habitat our urban forest provides.
Trees improve our water quality, reduce flood risk, and recharge our groundwater supplies by capturing and filtering stormwater.
Planting trees in your community will provide many social, psychological, and community benefits including lower crime rates, reduced stress, and increased social cohesion.
Before you plant
Selecting the right tree for the right spot is the integral first step when thinking about planting trees. You will also want to consider irrigation, sun coverage, and soil type.
Before you plant watch this Right Tree in the Right Place video and use the Sacramento Tree Foundation's Greenprint Tree Guide (.pdf) to select the best tree for your home, and learn how to choose the best quality tree from a nursery.
Before You Dig
Call Underground Service Alert (USA) four working days before you start digging to make sure that the spot you have chosen for your tree does not have any underground utilities that can interfere with your planting.
Visit or just call 811 to notify them of your digging project.
The instructions below will help you plant trees on your property. You can also watch this tree planting video.
Print this guide and have it with you on planting day.
PLANTING YOUR YOUNG TREE
Remove and discard grass and weeds in a 4-foot-wide circle.
Dig your hole 4 feet wide and slightly deeper than the soil level in the container. Score the sides of the hole so the hole is not smooth.
Dig an additional 8 inches of soil around the edge to create a solid 12-inch-wide pedestal in the center of the hole
Remove the entire root ball from the container. Thoroughly loosen and extend side and bottom roots from the root ball. Cut any roots circling the root ball with a sharp tool.
Place the root ball on the pedestal so the root crown (where to trunk meets the roots) is about 1 1/2 to 2 inches above the surrounding ground level.
Place the existing soil back in the hole. Do not place grass or weeds in the hole. When backfilling the hole, avoid air pockets by lightly tamping, but don't compact the soil. Refill the hole only up to the top of the root ball.
Water your newly planted tree deeply after planting.
The key to growing healthy and beautiful trees is directly related to the amount of care your newly-planted trees receive. Although caring for your trees does require scheduled attention by you, it is not difficult or demanding work. Please take care of your trees so that they may provide years of shade and beauty. Learn more about watering and mulching.
Check out these handy guides:
Tree Survival Tips
Check soil moisture for newly planted trees. Do not be fooled by surface soil conditions: check the soil 4 to 6 inches deep. The soil should be moist, not soggy.
If you carefully followed our planting instructions, your tree's root crown (where the trunk meets the roots) should be 1-1/2 inches to 2 inches above ground level. Trees can sometimes sink after a good rain or overwatering, be sure to watch to make sure your tree's root crown does not sink below ground level where it can suffocate.
If the tree has sunk into the ground, lift the tree out of the soil and replant it above ground level.
Be sure that you have properly staked the tree to allow for slight movement of the trunk to encourage strong and straight growth. Learn more about staking.
Wondering if your trees survived the Carr Fire? Check out the resources below and consult an expert to find out.
Arbor Day Foundation is a valued and well-respected resource for tree information, care tips and even help choose trees to purchase. Did you know, their software powers our shade tree program? In fact, our partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation is longstanding and the City of Redding has been a Tree City USA member for many years!
The Sacramento Tree Foundation is a top tier tree advocacy group that offers expertise, training, tools, and advice to empower their community to plant, protect, and learn about trees.
SelecTree Find out what trees are appropriate for your area, and alternatives, characteristics and potential issues using this guide from The California Polytechnic State University