6 Tips for Planting Your Little Sap

For those of you that have been waiting through the winter to plant your Little Sap - the time is coming! We want your Little Sap to thrive, so before you give your little tree a new home make sure you read our 6 tips for planting your Little Sap.

Tips for planting your tree seedling

Here in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, spring is just around the corner. Our Christmas trees are still a few weeks away from bud break, but the Little Saps in our greenhouse will bud soon. We love watching the tiny bulbs of bright green growth spring forth into a baby branch. We grow several types of tree seedlings in our greenhouse and each bud and branch is unique to each tree. The White Pine is long and spindly, the Eastern Red Cedar is short and pointy, and the spruces are well, spruce-like.

Once spring arrives, it’s time to plant your Little Sap! Below are a few things to consider when planting, so that your Little Sap will flourish in its new home.

TIP #1: Plant before bud break.

It’s best to plant your Little Sap before it breaks bud, so that it is settled in it’s new home and has time to acclimate before concentrating it’s energies on new growth. If you miss that short window or your tree seedling has already broken bud because you had it indoors, no worries, you can still transplant it when the tree is budding. However, read TIP #2 first!

TIP #2: Wait until the ground thaws.

If you are planning to plant your Little Sap outside, wait until the ground thaws, so that you can dig a hole and work the dirt a bit. If you had your Little Sap inside and you are going to plant your Little Sap outside in a larger container, it’s best to wait until after the last frost or freeze. If your Little Sap has already budded, it’s especially important to wait until after the last frost, because the new growth will die off if the weather is too cold.

TIP #3: Dig a hole two times the size you need.

It’s best to dig a hole bigger than you need to make it easier to do TIP #4.

TIP #4: Work the dirt so that it is nice and loose.

Loose dirt makes it easier for new roots to grow, helping your tree to firmly establish itself in its new home.

TIP #5: Do not plant your seedling too deep.

If you plant the tree too deep, there is a chance that the base of the trunk can rot away. Make sure to plant the tree at the soil level it’s already at, or just below.

TIP#6: Water really well when planting.

Trees, just like other plants, need plenty of water when they are first planted. Give your Little Sap about an inch of water per week until it is well-established. Once established, you should be able to let nature take over. However, since it’s still a baby, keep an eye on it and water if needed.


If your seedling is small, make sure that it doesn’t get choked out by taller weeds. Mulching around the base of the tree is a good way to stabilize the soil. However, don’t put mulch too close to the trunk (see TIP #5). Finally, if your tree is a little sad looking, it may need fertilizer. Talk to your local garden store for suggestions.

We hope these tips are helpful and that your Little Sap grows tall and strong! For more information, check out our care page.