General Planting Tips for Your Bottle Tree

I wanted to share a few hints on how to better plant your tree…and if you have any questions you are always welcome to call or email me

These are my "General Planting Tips".  If I have your email address...I will be sending you instructions specifically for your design.

First…you want to use the same thought processes you would use if you were planting a real tree.  Some of my designs are not easily moved, so choose your location carefully. And please read the full instructions before starting.

You may also find these tips online at

1.  Before planting your tree...know what’s underground.  Remember, you are sticking a steel rod into the ground!  Call Digger’s Hotline!  Dial 811.

2.  Be Careful!   Your Bottle Tree is one-piece.  It probably weighs about 35 pounds, stands, with the trunk, about 7 ft. tall, and may be about 5 ft in diameter.  For some, that may be too unwieldly for some to safely handle. You might want help. 

3.  Wear gloves!  The tree will be in a collapsed state and may need to be unwrapped.  There may be twine or tape to cut.  If your tree is wrapped in plastic, the easiest way to open the package is to use a box cutter to cut the plastic…although, the cutter will probably be dull when you are finished.  Cut the bindings carefully because a branch might snap-to-shape a little once it is unbound.

4.  No cement base is needed.  It is a rare tree design which would require a cement base for stability.  I have had customers plant their tree in a planter using cement in the planter so the tree could be placed on a patio and moved if wanted.  That also looks nice. 

5.  Face.  One important thing learned in my years as a Master Gardener...Every tree has a face…and you want to have your best face aimed at the location from which you will be enjoying your tree.

6.  Choose your location well!  The longer your tree has been there…the harder it is going to be to get back out of the ground!   Once you have decided where to place the tree, sometimes it is easier make a starter hole for the trunk of the tree.  Sometimes I use a heavy ½ inch diameter iron stake.  A long ½ or ¾ inch wooden dowel will also work.  I use a mallet to pound my stake into the ground as far as needed to make a nice hole for the tree.  What also works well for some trees, is to use a piece of ½ or ¾ inch diameter metal electrical conduit, cut to about a 24-inch length.  Pound one end flat and then pound the pipe into the ground.  Then plant your tree into the pipe.  Whether you plant your tree directly into the ground or into a pipe…STABILITY is your main concern.

7.  Do not use anything to “pound” your tree into the ground!  If the ground is too hard to easily plant your tree...use a garden hose to dampen the location...then plant. 

8.  Cold Steel.  If you need to do a little shaping to the tree, do not start bending the steel if the temperature is below 50 degrees.  Cold steel is brittle, andyou risk breaking a branch or weld. Let it rest in the Sun for a couple hours before planting.  This will warm-up the metal and make your bending much easier and safer.

9.  Shaping.  Once planted, the tree may need to be “opened up” and shaped to your liking.  Do your bending slowly!  You will want to shape the branches so none of the bottles or branches will hit one another.  Keep in mind the possible weight of snow or ice. Birds will also land on your tree.  And don’t forget the breezes which may sway the branches.  You may bend the branches out to shape, as much as you like, but do remember to do your bending slowly.  Another concern is to make sure no rainwater will accumulate inside the bottles.  I like most of my designs in a more compact shape, but do whatever you desire.  Sometimes, when you open up the branches, you get a blooming look, which is also nice.

10.  PLACE your bottles on the branches...If you let them slide on, they WILL break.

11.  Once planted, check for straightness.  If it is not, it WILL look funny…smiles.  Check for straightness again after placing your bottles on your tree.

12.  If you need to relocate your tree, remove the bottles first!  Trust me…picking up broken glass from the garden is no fun!  And besides…you may be releasing spirits from the broken bottles!  (see Bottle Tree Story below…)


Hope you enjoy my Bottle Tree!  And please send me a picture of your tree when you have found a home for it.  I would love to add it to my website collection.

Thanks again.


I guarantee my Bottle Trees to ALWAYS stand straight and will last longer than you or me.  Guaranteed!
No Assembly. USA-made Steel.
All my designs are original and unique.

Have a question?
Answers here...