How to Plant a Pine Tree

plant pine tree
Planting a pine tree sapling is a great activity for the kids. Jose Luis Pelaez Inc / Getty Images


You can plant a pine tree from a seed or from a sapling.

If you're planting from a seed:

  1. Collect seeds by holding pinecones upside down and shaking gently.
  2. Put the seeds in water. Keep the ones that float and discard the ones that sink.
  3. Dry the seeds and put them in an airtight container until planting season (December or early January).
  4. Fill a small pot with soil. Water the soil.
  5. Place a seed just beneath the soil's surface. The seed should be vertical with the pointy part facing down.
  6. Place the pot near a sunny window. Water it regularly.
  7. Watch for pine needles to emerge, but don't except to see any change until March or April. Once the pine needles emerge, they'll lean toward the sun. Turn the pot regularly to keep them growing straight.
  8. Transplant your seedling to a 1-gallon (3.8-liter) pot when it's 6 inches to 1 foot (15.24 to 30.48 centimeters) in height, and move the pot outdoors.
  9. Plant the seedling in a permanent spot in the ground when it outgrows its pot.

If you're planting a pine tree sapling, you'll probably bring it home with its roots bagged and wrapped in burlap. Here's how to plant your pine sapling.

  1. Dig a hole twice the width of the burlap ball and no deeper than its height.
  2. Place the burlap ball gently in the hole. Remember to lift your balled-and-burlapped pine tree by the ball, not by the trunk.
  3. Fill the hole with soil while someone else holds the tree up straight. Don't pack the soil too firmly or water won't be able to drain through it.

Once your pine tree is planted in the ground, remember:

  • If your tree is over 6 feet (182.9 centimeters) tall or if the weather is especially windy or harsh, you should stake your tree so that it will grow straight.
  • If you tie your tree with any sort of binding, periodically check to make sure the binding is not girdling the tree as the tree grows. This can kill your tree.