Our tree planting guide will introduce you to planting and caring for trees in Coastal Virginia.


  • Select the right tree for the right location.
  • Call 811 for Miss Utility of Virginia utility locates.
  • Dig a hole 2-3 times as wide as the root ball but not deeper than root flare: prefer top of root flare to be 1-2 inches above existing soil grade.
  • Remove tree from container.
  • Pull any circling/girdling roots out from root ball (may need to cut).
  • Backfill halfway with original soil and water in thoroughly.  Backfill the rest of the original soil and water in thoroughly.  
  • Mulch with wood chips: 2-3 foot radius, 2 inches deep, but keep 2-3 inches away from trunk.


Mulch shall be maintained at a 2-3 foot radius, 2-3 inches deep, and 2-3 inches from the trunk of each tree for the three-year maintenance period.  Before applying new mulch, stir up the existing compacted mulch with a rake or similar hand tool.  This will ensure proper gas exchange and allow moisture to access the rootball.  Proper mulching helps retain water, moderates soil temperature, and can reduce the need for weed control. 


Ample soil moisture must be maintained throughout the three-year maintenance period.  Need for watering can be determined by feeling the soil under the mulch for moisture.

When dry, apply 3-5 gallons of water 3 times a week for first month, twice a week for the next month, and once a week for the rest of the growing season.  Reduce to 1-2 times a month for second growing season.  If drought conditions are present, apply water once a month through the third growing season.


Tree wells must be kept free of weeds for the three-year maintenance period.  This weed-free zone can be accomplished by pulling weeds on a monthly basis.  Do NOT use string trimmers within the mulched area around the tree.  String trimmers will damage and may kill trees.