Tree Planting

Tree Planting

Trees are a beautiful addition to your property, and a healthy tree that thrives in our climate requires very little work to maintain. Here are the basics for helping a new tree survive and thrive.

Don’t be alarmed if your tree doesn’t look like this.  But it should be planted in a similar fashion.

Once your tree has been planted it’ll need your help to adjust to its new home.  Watering, mulching and providing protection during winter greatly increases the likelihood of tree establishment.


  • Trees need water to survive but too much can be harmful.  While drought and long periods between precipitation is not common in St. John’s you should keep an eye on the soil around your tree to ensure it doesn’t dry out.  It’s important to keep this area moist
  • During the first couple of years after planting, trees are focused on root growth and establishing themselves.  For trees to successfully grow roots, the surrounding soil must be moist.


  • Installing a 5 – 10 cm layer of mulch around the base of your tree provides a number of benefits, including the retention of moisture in the soil.
  • Mulch also provides an insulting effect, providing a buffer against temperature fluctuations.
  • Mulch prevents soil compaction.
  • Mulch keeps weeds and other plants away, reducing competition for water and soil nutrients.
  • Applying mulch also keeps lawn mowers and string trimmers away, which can be detrimental to trees.


  • Keep an eye on your trees and shrubs over the winter and remove excessive buildups of snow or ice; the resultant weight can cause limbs to break. This is most important for deciduous plants. Coniferous trees like spruce and fir, which are native to the St. John’s area, have evolved with a slim, conical shape that helps them shed snow and ice naturally.
  • Believe it or not the sun can damage trees during the winter. On sunny winter days the sun can heat up bark, tricking the tree into thinking spring has arrived. When the sun goes down, and the temperature suddenly drops, the tree can’t re-enter dormancy quick enough to protect itself. The affected part of the tree freezes causing bark damage known as sun scald. This is particularly common in young trees planted in areas exposed to the sun and trees with thinner bark such as; cherry, crabapple, plum, maple, linden, mountain ash, or honey locust. To protect your tree against the winter sun, wrap the trunk of the tree with burlap for 2-5 years after planting.
  • A similar process to sunscald occurs in conifers when the tree’s needles are stimulated by warm winter sun and die when the sunlight and heat are quickly removed. Winter winds also strip moisture from needles which can’t be replaced while roots are inactive. To protect your trees against the winter sun and wind wrap the entire crown of coniferous trees with burlap or similar landscape fabrics for 2-5 years after planting. Tree wrap is available at your local nursery or garden centre.