How To Plant a Tree Using Black Plastic Mulch

mommy kat and kids rp2

When I bought my first house, it was the same one that I’d lived in as a child. And even though the house itself needed quite a bit of work, the yard had the same stately trees and beautiful bushes that I’d known for years.


That meant that when my husband and I moved into our newly built home and realized we had six acres to landscape (and just how big six acres was), I found myself feeling pretty overwhelmed! It’s been a lot of trial and error as we work on our yard, but it’s slowly starting to come together.


One of our big jobs this spring has been planting trees. So far, we’ve put about 180 trees into the ground, with another 100 coming this week. That’s why making those trees low maintenance was a top priority for me. And if you want learn how to plant a tree that needs minimal water and care too, I have the info you need!


Steps for Planting

  1. Dig deep. All the tree’s roots need to be covered and ideally, an inch or two of the trunk as well. The deeper the tree is planted, the closer the roots will be to the underground water table, which will help to minimize the water the tree needs.
  2. Work the soil around the tree well. By making sure the ground is broken up, the roots of the tree will be able to spread out through the new soil easier to help give the tree the early strength it needs. Don’t forget to put on your Dig It High 5 Gloves first to help protect hands and nails! The long cuff is perfect for heavier work like tree planting.
  3. Add lots of water. When first being planted, trees need that initial water to help them spread their roots and acclimatize to their new home. I like to fill the hole with water, let it soak into the soil, then add the sapling and dirt to fill the hole. Finally, I water it well once more.
  4. Cover the tree with black plastic mulch or even a black garbage bag. Simply roll the plastic over the tree and cut a small hole for it to poke through. Then bury the edges of the plastic in the ground on all sides to hold it down.
  5. Put a medium-sized rock in the centre of the plastic by the tree to help keep the plastic weighed down properly.

And just like that, the tree is ready to benefit from rain and sunshine, with almost no maintenance required! The secret is the plastic mulch, which provides a triple benefit to trees.


First, it stops weeds from growing around the tree so that roots can get the maximum nutrients. Second, it keeps the ground warmer to help encourage growth. And finally, perhaps most important, it prevents evaporation to help keep the ground moist and give the tree the water it needs in those first crucial months after planting.


Planting a full 180 trees was quite a job, even with them being saplings. And to keep my hands and nails both looking great as I worked, I used my new favourite gardening gloves, Dig It High 5 Gloves! Not only do they come in two different sizes for a perfect fit, they also have special padded fingertips to help protect my nails from damage as I work!


Whether you’re planting a single ornamental shrub in your front yard or a whole orchard, learning how to plant a tree that will grow well without too much help will make your life easier and the tree healthier. In fact, the neighbour that told us about plastic mulch has trees that are twice as high as ones planted at the same time without the plastic!

And there’s nothing more satisfying than planting your own trees, whether they’re ones that will provide shade, protection from wind, food or just added beauty in your yard. Research the different varieties, pick a few that fit your landscape and see for yourself just how easy it can be to add a new tree (or more) to your yard!

28 thoughts on “How To Plant a Tree Using Black Plastic Mulch”

  1. Elizabeth Matthiesen

    Wow, that’s an awful lot of trees to plant. Wish I could wear gloves when gardening but I need to feel what I’m doing so they don’t work for me I’m sorry to say.

  2. well that is pretty amazing that the first house you owned was actually the one you grew up in. too cool! and thank you for the helpful tips. ill pass them onto my bestie who is looking to plant trees on her property

  3. Alison Braidwood

    Good job! It’s hard to have vision when you’re presented with a “naked” landscape. Trees can definitely make or break a yard/garden.

  4. Certainly a lot of work but so worth it once they grow,trees are so important! Thanks for the plastic black mulch tip.

  5. Mishelle Greening

    I wish I had known about the plastic black mulch 2 years ago when I went on a tree binge! Would have been a big help!


  6. It would be so nice to be able to move into a just-built home, but the problem is that landscaping is not done. Builders cut down trees to put up new homes. Older neighbourhoods are so nice because they have the tall older trees.

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