LIVING LANDS & WATERS Seedling Planting Instructions

Staff Report

Soak trees in water ONE day before planting, but make sure tree stays in a cloth bag in a dark, cool place until then!

Keep watering the bag until you see the buds swelling and then plant them — that’s the optimum time.

1. Scout out an area for your tree that is clear from power lines, other trees, buildings and anything else within 30 feet from tree. Call your utilities to have them mark for underground utilities. If necessary, obtain permission to plant in your desired area.

2. Dig a hole, at least 2 times the width of the root system, so the roots can spread without crowding.

3. Turn the soil up to 3 feet in diameter around your hole to help promote root growth.

4. Place the tree in the hole, with the top of the roots just under the soil line. Make sure the roots are spread out in their natural direction. Do not plant with packing materials.

5. Partially fill the hole with dirt, firm the soil around the lower roots making sure not to break them. Use water to help reduce air pockets.

6. Fill the rest of the hole up, making sure the root collar is at the soil line, and pack firmly. Do not pack too tightly as this may break roots and slow root growth.

7. Water the tree with plenty of water, making sure to water the entire planting area.

8. After the water has soaked in, place mulch around the tree within 1inch of touching the tree. Mulch is important for retaining moisture and keeping weeds down.

9. Water your newly planted tree every week or 10 days during the first year. Water slowly around the drip line. (The drip line is defined by the farthest reaching leaves/branches.)

10. Enjoy your new oak tree!

Living Lands & Waters’ Million Trees Project

The goal of the Million Trees Project is to grow and plant 1 MILLION trees during the next 5-10 years!

We are growing native hardwood nut-bearing trees that will benefit our rivers and communities. Visit our website for details and more information about this exciting project:

Some great facts about TREES!

  • Provide food and shelter for birds and wildlife
  • Reduce air pollution
  • Provide shade and conserve energy
  • Reduce soil erosion
  • Roots help reduce the amount of pollution and run-off entering our creeks, rivers, and streams.
  • Trees are just plain beautiful and increase aesthetics everywhere they are planted.
  • An oak tree can reach up to 100 feet tall and its branches can reach up to 100 feet wide.

What goes into growing our trees?

There are many behind-the-scenes activities that require a lot of organization, coordination, time and manpower that contribute to each and every seedling that is given away. We hope, therefore, that you take care of it and are able to give it the attention it deserves.

We hope you enjoy your new tree for many years to come!

For more information: e-mail Ashley Stover, Million Trees Project Coordinator, at or go to, 17624 Route 84 N. East Moline, IL 61244, 309-737-5913.

Special note: Pin oak planting areas should be tested with a pH soil testing kit. Pin oak needs neutral to acid reading on the test kit for wherever you plant the tree. Pick your spot for planting and test each spot. If you don’t, you’ll know you’re killing the tree when you see the leaves turn yellow, and it will get worse each year—it’s called iron chlorosis.

From the April 23-29, 2014 issue

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