First, choose a nice location. Here is what you need:
Sunlight: Full sun is best but a partly shade site will also do as long as it get 4-6 hours a day of sunlight.
Drainage: Select a site with moist or well drained soil not one where the water collects in pools after a rain.
Road Salt: Make sure the site is not near a road that is heavily salted in winter.
Room to Grow: Be sure there is plenty of space for growth, as these trees can get pretty big: 60–75′ high and 40–50′ wide. Allow at least 20′ on all sides.
Next, dig a hole. Here how to do that:
Depth: Dig the hole a little deeper than the cup (about 1′). Back fill with 3-5 inches of compost or good quality top soil.
Width: Dig the hole about 3 times the diameter of the cup (about 1′).
Surrounding Surface Area: Remove plants 2-3′ around the hole, so the tree doesn’t have to compete for water and nutrients.
Water: Fill the hole with water and let it soak down into the surrounding area before planting to give your seedling a good start.
Then plant your seedling:
Gently remove the seedling from the paper cup being careful you don’t damage the roots.
Immediately put the seedling into the hole–don’t expose the fine roots to the sun or air any longer than necessary or they could dry up and cause your tree to die.
Place the seedling so that the top of the soil in the cup is at the top of the hole. Planting too deep or too shallow will make it hard for the roots to get the right amount of water and air.
Fill in the edges of the hole with good compost or loose top soil and pack down gently but firmly with your hands and then your feet to ensure that all of the roots are in contact with the soil.
Put a stake in the ground near the seedling to protect it from getting trampled. If need be loosely tie the seedling up to the stake so that it stands up straight and tall.
IMPORTANT: Add a surface layer of mulch such as chipped wood to cover the exposed soil. This will keep the moisture in the soil and the ground will stay cooler. It will also make it easier to weed.
Water immediately after planting and then occasionally the first year or so whenever the ground around it feels dry or hot.
The better job you do with the mulch, the less watering you will need to do.
If planted correctly, all you’ll have to do from now on is sit back and watch it grow. These trees are require little maintenance – maybe just light pruning of the bottom branches once or twice. They are also very hardy and have few if any diseases or pests.
After they “catch”, you can expect 1-3 feet of new vertical growth each year, depending on the location.
They turn a beautiful color in the Fall and will survive the winter easily.
Your kids will love to play in the fallen leaves and when they are done, you can turn them into a nutritious compost for your garden.
You can even tap them for maple syrup, when they are mature.