How To Use Sphagnum Moss for Planting Trees

Newly planted trees require a great deal of water because the root system needs to be encouraged to expand beyond the area of the tight root ball. In addition, generally new tree location soil usually does not contain the moisture that the tree has become accustomed to while waiting in the nursery for a new home. To aid trees in the traumatic transition to a new location, quality nurseries suggest that newly planted trees receive several hours of water each day for several weeks after planting. This can be time consuming and expensive since much of the water seeps below the root line is lost.

Finished tree planted with sphagnum moss

Project Difficulty


Mosser Lee
Products Needed

What You Will Need

  • 5-gallon bucket
  • 4 – 432 cubic inch bags or one Mini Bale of Mosser Lee’s Long Fibered Sphagnum Moss
  • Water from a garden hose
  • Water soluble fertilizer recommended by your nursery for your specific tree
  • Rubber gloves
  • Shovel
  • Your new tree balled and burlapped


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Long Fibered Sphagnum Moss Benefits

The unique water retentive properties of Mosser Lee’s long fibered sphagnum moss provide an organic, easy and inexpensive method of caring for your tree in its new home without wasting your time and water. Long fibered sphagnum moss can hold up to 20 times its weight in water. The cell structure of the moss plant attracts water and holds it until the plant’s root system seeks the water it holds. The moss can then rehydrate when it rains or you water to provide an additional long lasting watering plan for your tree. Follow below as we teach you step by step: How To Use Sphagnum Moss for Planting Trees!

Directions on Planting Trees with Sphagnum Moss: (put on your gloves)

  1. Find a suitable location for your tree
Dig Hole to 18 inches
  1. Follow your nursery’s instructions for the size of the planting hole. Make sure that it is deep enough for the tree collar to sit at or above the soil line when filled and as wide as twice the size of the tree root ball.

  1. Fill the bucket halfway with water and add the fertilizer according to the directions on the fertilizer package.
Moss is Completely wet
  1. Place all the moss in the bucket and squeeze the water through the moss to make sure that it is completely wet. Water should be dripping from the moss. Hint: The dry moss will soak up a lot of water, so you may need to add more water.

  1. Place about a third of the wet moss in the bottom of the hole and place the tree in the hole on top of the moss.
Dump wet moss into hole
  1. Take half of the remaining wet moss and distribute it around the inside sides of the hole near the root ball.
Cover Moss with dirt
  1. Cover the moss with dirt.
Wet the area
  1. Water the area with a hose. Remember, the root ball needs water, too
Peal Back Burlap
  1. Cut back as much as possible of the burlap wrapping and any wire from the tree ball
More wet moss on top of soil
  1. Add the rest of the wet moss on top of the dirt
Cover wet moss with soil
  1. Cover the moss with dirt up to the lawn level
Saturate soil and moss with Root Stimulator
  1. Add more water to the root ball
Add Multch
  1. Place mulch on top of the soil. Mulch will keep the soil and the moss from losing water through evaporation

Watering After Planting:

About a week after planting, give your tree about 15–30 minutes of watering each day. The water and fertilizer in the moss surrounding your tree’s roots will help nourish your tree for about three weeks depending on rain and type of soil.

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