Want to plant a tree?

A quick guide on planting trees in your backyard or in your neighbourhood.

Many Bangaloreans are concerned about the reducing green cover in the city. What can you do? Plant trees of course! Here is how to go about planting trees.

How do I go about it?

Preparation Study: The proposed area should be examined beforehand to understand layout, soil, inhabitants and so on. Educate the local people nearby about the planting need, process, schedule and care. Obtain approvals, if necessary. Choose the number, type and age of the saplings and separate them on the planting day and ensure sufficient watering facilities.

Spacing: Before planting consider the space above and below the ground. Do not place tall trees where high tension wires are running overhead. Plant medium sized trees at least 4 feet from each other and bigger ones at 8 feet from each other and 5 metres away from building foundations.

tree planting

Covered places are unsuitable for trees, bushes, smaller plants or climbers. Pic: Monika Monalisa

Location: Plant along the road or on any private land but with local support. Avoid places below electric cables except for bushes. Ensure that a grown tree will not obstruct traffic. Covered places are unsuitable for trees, bushes, smaller plants or climbers.

Time: The most suitable time is monsoon between June – September as the land is moist and rain waters plants. Moderate temperature and good rainfall are favourable for saplings to grow as they need time to root and acclimatise before summer’s heat and dryness or winter’s freezing temperatures.

Method: Do not dig holes which are too narrow and too deep as the former don’t have access to sufficient oxygen to ensure proper growth and with the latter the root structure can’t expand sufficiently to nourish and properly anchor the trees. Generally, do not transplant trees deeper than the soil in which they were originally grown. The width of the hole should be at least three times the diameter of the root ball or container or the spread of the roots (in the case of bare root trees) to provide the tree with enough worked earth for its root structure to establish itself.

Preferred pit sizes

• Normal plantation: 30X30X30 cm
• Roadside plantation: 45X45X45 cm
• Bamboo plantation: 45X45X45 cm
• Rubber plantation: 75X75X75 cm

Planting Pattern: Line, Square, Triangular and Quincunx planting

Care: Care for the saplings until they reach a certain age and height. Although lakhs of saplings are planted annually, a lucky few blossom as big trees. Once the rains cease, water the saplings regularly, protect them from cattle, rodents and insects and give manure.

What trees can I plant?

Many tree planters in Bangalore quote retired forest officer S.G Neginhal’s book on urban forestry as having an excellent list of trees suitable for various locations in urban regions – residential lanes, big roads, parks, schools, etc. Have a good mix of indigenous flowering, fruit and other trees in residential areas. Apparently, there are about 200-300 natives trees in India but obtaining their saplings is challenging with many nurseries having unsuitable foreign species.

Indian Flowering Trees

Bauhinia variegata (Kachnar), Butea monosperma (Palas),Cassia fistula (Amaltas), Crataeva religiosa (Barna), Erythrina indica (Indian coral tree), Lagerstroemia flos-reginae (Jarul), Plumeria alba (Champa), Pterospermum acerifolium (Kanak Champa), Michelia champaca (Champak), Thespesia populnea (Bhendi), Albizzia lebbeck (Siris), Alstonia scholaris (Satni), Sampige, Akasha mallige (Indian cork)

Fast Growing Indian Trees

Anthocephalus cadamba (Kadam), Ficus religiosa (Peepal), Ficus racemosa (Atthi), Ailanthus excelsa (Maharuk), Aegle marmelos (Bel), Albizzia falcataria (White Albizzia, Sengon), Bauhinia variegata (Kachnar)

Fruit Trees
Jackfruit, Mango, Jamun
Others (medicinal, etc.)
Basiri, Nerale, Neem, Pongemia (Honge),Saraca indica (Ashoka), Madhuca indica (Mahua), Ficus glomerata (Gular), Emblica officinalis (Amla or gooseberry), Aegle marmelos (Bel)
For more details on nurseries in Bangalore and across Karnataka refer the Environment Support Group’s (ESG).

Who can help?

Organisations like LIFE and Treesforfree work with citizens on tree planting. You can contact Swapna B of LIFEs at: 99022 00441 and Janet Yegneswaran of Treesforfree at: 98454 49703.

Where can I plant trees?

As per the Karnataka Forest Department (KFD) and BBMP, no permission is required for planting trees as long it does not interfere with sanitary lines/road expansion, electric lines including parks and so on.

Do a pre-planting survey, contact BBMP to plant in public places. If the planting event is in private area like schools, offices or apartments, discuss with concerned authorities for office layout, building expansion details and other concerns.  



This guide is based on information provided by Swapna B, LIFE, Sheshadri Ramaswamy and Nagarajan Krishnamurthy, both Hasiru Usiru’s forestry group volunteers, and TFF’s founder, Janet Yegneswaran.

Recommended reading
City Trees – A handbook on City Trees and Urban Planning (Urban Forestry) by S. G. Neginhal

Related Articles

For a greener city
Stop, don’t cut down the tree!


  1. Geetha says:

    I ordered tree saplings 1 month back but no updates till now. No contact number and details on date when we will get the saplings or minimum how many saplings should be ordered by an individual, etc. In that App, you can order thats it. Cant track the delivery.

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