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Labeling Trees: The Last Step in Planting


Once you've planted it, don't forget to label your tree.

The one thing you must do when you plant a tree

You planted the right tree in the right location, well done! Don't forget to label your tree, it's the last (but often overlooked) step when you plant a tree.

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Why should I label my trees? 

  • Organization. Know what is growing on your property.
  • Source of valuable information such as where tree was purchased and date planted.
  • Visitors can enjoy knowing what is growing in your yard. 
  • When you move or pass on property, new owner knows what is growing. 
The one thing you must do when you plant a tree

What should be included on tree label? 

  • Type and variety of tree
  • When tree was planted
  • Where tree was purchased
  • Rootstock (if known)
  • Any other pertinent information you would like

How should I label my trees?

There are several different methods. Each method requires upkeep. Decide which method or combination of methods will work for you. 

Label in tree on branch.

 Aluminum markers are easily embossed with a ball-point pen. I like this kind from Amazon
Use wire to hang a large loop around a scaffolding branch. Do not attach to main branch, as it could girdle (suffocate) main tree if left unattended for years. 
Advantages: Easy to use. Stays put in tree. 
Disadvantages: Could girdle branch, must loosen fastener as tree grows. 

Label for tree in ground.

Use an aluminum marker and emboss with ball point pen.
Advantages: Easy to use. Easy to see which trees have been labeled.
Disadvantages: Can be easily lost or moved. 

Diagram of yard with trees labeled. 

Use Google Earth to map yard and existing trees. Draw in newly added trees. Keep an updated copy with the deed to your home. Use a binder/folder to keep nursery tags, receipts, etc. 
Advantages: Easily see your yard at a glance. 
Disadvantages: Can get lost. Must keep maintained with new plantings 
The one thing you must do when you plant a tree
The one thing you must do when you plant a tree

Whichever method(s) you choose, spend some time keeping it updated. This is a great project for the off-season in your garden. “The palest ink is stronger than memory” holds true here. Take a few minutes to document your plantings. You won’t be sorry if you do. 

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