Planting trees to meet your goals

So, you have decided it is time to plant some trees!   Congratulations!

Tree planting is an exciting opportunity to leave a long-term

legacy on the ground – a legacy that will benefit people,

wildlife, and the environment. You are taking the time to read this

bulletin and that will help your understanding of your planting


Maybe you want to reforest a portion of your property, or you

want to block the view the neighbors have of your deck; perhaps

you simply want to do something productive and beneficial for

nature. Planting individual trees, or groups of trees, and watching

them grow, is very rewarding.

Woodland establishment or creating a strategic cluster of trees

using transplants is also an important step in improving the

ecological conditions of rural property in the Northeast. Whether

specifically for wildlife, to develop a future timber stand, or as

a windbreak, trees can provide many benefits for humans. This

chapter describes how rural property owners can better match

their long-range objectives with the trees they plant. We suggest

good practices for tree planting and how to deal with potential

problems. Below are common examples of long-range goals that

we explain later in this bulletin:

▪ Establishing trees for wood products (timber, fuel wood,


▪ Attracting wildlife

▪ Screening for privacy or reduce a nuisance

▪ Restoring a field back to a forest, or creating a maple sugar


▪ Windbreak for home, farm, or road

▪ Planting to improve a view

▪ Restoring a forest following a natural disturbance

▪ Other goals and objectives for tree planting

You may be ready to order tree seedlings to plant, or you may be

dreaming of owning property you will someday manage. Either

way, you will likely be planting trees to achieve a purposeful

result. With some background information, planning, and good

planting techniques, you will reduce the frustration people experience

when their tree planting projects fail.

An essential step in planning is communication among all those

who will help establish, maintain, or utilize the planting. Avoid

the temptation to rush into a project. Talk with your spouse,

siblings, parents and children. Learn their interests in the property

and the planting. Discuss the variety of objectives and how

tree planting might contribute to your collective enjoyment of the

property, now and in the future.

This chapter describes a variety of common planting objectives,

including general recommendations for developing a planting.

For your specific planting objective, you may need to mix and

match the guidance provided. Other chapters in this bulletin

provide more detail on the characteristics of certain species or efficient techniques to accomplish a certain task.

Planting trees to meet your goals

Goals for tree planting and

how to meet those goals without compromising the natural ecology

of your property: You might visualize the potential for success

in your effort as the amount of overlap among three circles one circle represents your objectives or goals,

the second circle represents the ecological conditions of

the site where you will plant, and the third circle represents

the characteristics of the species you intend to plant

– what the species needs and what it provides.

With most woodland activities, the owner’s objectives

have top priority. However, with tree planting, many

failures occur because the owner’s objectives for planting

and the species they selected did not match the site conditions.

Avoid the easy mistakes and only plant tree species

that are adapted to your site conditions.

By investing sufficient time and effort in planning you

will know where and how much overlap you have and

thus increase your potential for success. You cannot

control every planting situation and guarantee success,

but you can greatly improve your chances. The common theme across all goals is to clearly

identify your planting objectives and then select a species

that both meets your goals and is compatible with the ecological

conditions that occur at the planting site.