Can You Use an Auger to Plant Trees?

Can you use an auger to plant trees? If you have some trees, small or large, that need to be planted, you will have to dig holes.   

Read on to learn if an auger is the right tool for you. 

can you use an auger to plant trees
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Can You Use an Auger to Plant Trees? 

Can I use an auger to plant trees? Using an auger for planting trees is something a lot of property owners wonder about.  Yes, you can you a post hole digger to plant trees!  In fact, if you are planting trees that are bigger, like 1 or 2 gallon pots, using an auger to plant trees is the fastest and easiest way to get it done without having to use too much energy!   Using the Best Tree Planting Auger will help you drill holes to plant trees.

What is the Easiest way to Dig a Hole to Plant a Tree?

Using a tree planting auger is the easiest and fastest way to plant 1 or multiple trees at once. No more digging deep holes through rough soil over and over again. You can also use a drill but attachment for planting saplings and/or smaller trees.

Tree Planting Auger Rental 

You can rent augers from your local Home depot if you just need to dig a few holes.  Planting a lot of trees means you really should look at buying a tree auger so that you can use it at your convenience.  You can even use your auger for drilling holes for fence posts, other plants, foundations for decks, etc.   Click the Home Depot link to go straight to the auger rentals.

How Big of a Hole Should I Dig for a Tree? 

That depends on the size of the root ball that is attached to the tree.  You should drill a hole that is at least 2 times the diameter of the root ball on your tree.  The hole for your tree should be just deep enough that an inch or two of the root ball sticks out of the top of the hole you dug when you place the tree in the hole.  Don’t forget to fertilize your newly planted tree and give it a ton of water so it gets established quickly. 

What are Pilot Holes and Why Drill Them

Pilot holes are small, shallow starter holes usually dug with a shovel. They help to guide the large auger bit into the ground in a straight line. It’s recommended to dig pilot holes at the beginning of each hole you plan on drilling for a tree.

What is an Earth Auger?

An earth auger is a tool used for drilling holes in the ground. It has a long, cylindrical bit with a cutting tip at the bottom, and a handle or handles at the top for manual or powered operation.

Earth augers are commonly used for planting trees and fence posts, installing decks and patios, and drilling holes for geotechnical and environmental sampling. Some earth augers can also be attached to a power drill or small gas-powered engine for faster and more efficient operation.

Pro Tip for Planting Trees 

Make sure the rough up the sides of the hole you drill so that the roots of your tree can penetrate the sides and spread out.  If you don’t, the roots will have difficulty pushing through the side of your hole and may grow in a circle in the hole: just like they would if your tree was in a pot.  This will result in your tree becoming unhealthy and possible dying. 

Using an Auger to Plant Trees: Drilling Holes to Plant Trees

We go into full detail on using an auger to plant trees in our How to Use an Auger to Plant Trees Post. 

Tree Planting Auger for a Drill

If you’re looking to plant saplings instead of gallon sized trees, take a look at our Best Garden Auger post that has drill attachments for just that purpose. They are smaller, cheaper, and easier to operate than the big augers used for bigger tree planting.

Augers for Planting Shrubs

Shrubs usually come in smaller sizes than trees. Depending on the size of the shrub, you may be able to plant it with a drill attachment using the link to our detailed post above. Some shrubs are quite mature when you purchase them and may come in 1 gallon or greater pots. For 1 gallon pots, buy an auger that has a 6 inch diameter bit on it or greater.

What Size Auger for 3 Gallon Trees?

An 8-10 inch auger bit should be large enough for planting 2-3 gallon shrubs and trees.

Very Large Trees and Auger Size

Tractor augers are also handy for planting very large trees, larger than 3 gallons.

Can You Use an Auger to Plant Trees? Beware the Kickback

If you’re drilling in soil with roots or rocks, and your auger hits those while drilling, it may kickback. Kickback describes when your auger moves in a counterclockwise direction against you. This can happen each time you drill a hole so be prepared.

Types of Augers Available for Planting Trees

You can buy a few different kind of augers for planting trees. You can also buy each of the different types below in many auger diameters for each project you may have.

Electric: ice fishing and post hole augers can be battery powered.

Propane auger: Ice fishing and post hole augers can come propane powered.   

Gas auger: Just like propane, augers can come gas powered.  You can use them for ice fishing or drilling post holes. 

Tractor auger: Also known as a 3 point auger, these augers attach to a tractor and are the most powerful you can buy without getting a commercial/industrial auger. 

Gardening Auger: Typically used by gardeners, soil augers are smaller in size and are designed to remove topsoil and dirt. Most often, people will use these augers to plant flowers, vegetables, and more. 


We hope that you now understand that you can use an auger to plant trees this year and beautify your yard! 

What is the Best auger I can use for planting trees?

Check out our post Best Tree Augers to pick the best auger out for you.