Directions for Planting a Maple Sapling

The following set of instructions will help guide first time tree-planters in selecting and planting their first maple sapling.  Maple saplings are a good planting choice for beginners because they are native to most areas in North America.  Not only is planting a tree good for the environment, but it can also add beauty and character to your landscape. Planting is rewarding for families, because children can see their tree grow as they grow.  Planting trees can serve as a great family activity and will surely brighten everyone's day.

Note:  It is best for beginners to consult someone at their local gardening store before choosing a sapling.  If the tree is not naturally found in your area, planting it could have disastrous effects to the species diversity of the area.


Maple sapling   (1-2 years old, approximately 12-18 inches in height)
Shovel/ Spade
Top Soil

Optional Materials

Miracle Grow

WARNING:  To protect yourself from sun exposure, wear protective clothing and/or sunscreen with a high SPF level.

(See:  Optional Materials for further information regarding protective clothing)


1.  Choose Location

Choose an area that receives adequate morning sunlight and an area that is easily accessible for frequent watering.  The location should not be too close to any existing trees, because the new tree could encroach upon the existing tree's root system.  If this occurs, the sapling could die.

2.  Dig the Hole

Use a shovel or spade to dig a hole that is large enough to completely cover your saplings?' root system.  The hole should be approximately 4 times the size of the sapling's root ball.

3.  Plant Your Sapling

Holding the plant, place your maple sapling in the hole, while making sure that the roots do not overlap onto themselves.

4.  Pack dirt

Pack dirt into the hole so that the saplings?' roots are completely covered with the topsoil. 

Note:  Packing too tightly will hinder the growth of the roots.  Roots need room to grow and need to be able to grow through the soil.

5.  Add Water

Add enough water to your sapling so that the soil surrounding it is moist.

    Tip:  The soil will turn dark brown when an adequate amount of water is added.

6.  Add Mulch

Adding mulch around the base of your sapling will protect the roots and help to keep the soil moist.

Additional Tips for a Healthy Sapling

Water your sapling frequently. Check for parasitic infection (leaves will look as if they have been chewed).Consider using chemicals, such as Miracle Grow, to enhance growth (though these chemicals are by no means required for a healthy and successful tree). If your sapling is leaning, place a stake in the ground beside it and use a string to tie your sapling so it will grow straight.


Now that you have successfully planting a maple sapling, enjoy the beauty of its freshly sprouting leaves.  It may look as if it is not producing any leaves for quite some time, which is not uncommon for new trees.  Continue watering and caring for the plant throughout the spring and summer months.  If the tree is healthy, it will survive through the winter months and come to life once more in the spring.  Enjoy your new arbor and continue the beautification of your outdoor spaces!

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