General Planting Tips for Your Bottle Tree

I wanted to share a few hints on how to better place your tree.  These are my general guidelines.  You will be emailed tree-specific tips for the design you chose.  If you have any questions…Please call me...9820-229-2390.  Or email

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 make sure the tree’s “best side” is facing the direction you will be admiring it from.

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

2.   Wear gloves!   The tree may be in a kinda collapsed state, and may need to be unwrapped.  There may be pieces of twine or tape you will need to cut.  Cut the bindings carefully because the branch might snap-to- shape once unbound.

3.  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 and you 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.

4.  IMPORTANT!  Some tree designs require shipping them with some of the branches not yet shaped.  Not all trees need any special tools to setup, but if your tree’s design requires it, I have included a piece of pipe to make the bending of the branches or flowers of the tree a little easier…but a little strength will be needed.  The flowers and the branches should be bent to about a 45 degree angle to the main branch of the bottle tree.  Place the pipe over the branch to be bent…but not completely.  Place the end of the pipe back about three inches from where the branch joins the main branch.  If the pipe is placed too close to the welds, which attaches that branch to the main branch, you may damage or break the weld when you attempt to bend the branch.  Do your bending very slowly…and wear gloves!

5.  No cement base is needed.  It is a rare tree design which would require a cement base for stability.  My designs maintain stability commensurate with the size, height, and the number of bottles it will support.

6.  Face.  This is one of the important things I have learned in my years as a gardener.  Every tree has a face.  You want to have your best face aimed at the location from which you will be enjoying your tree.

7.  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.  I use a heavy ½ inch diameter steel stake.  A long ½ or ¾ inch wooden dowel will also work.  I use a mallet to pound my steel stake into the ground as far as needed to make a nice hole for the tree.

8.   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 that piece of conduit pipe into the ground (straight…not crooked), and then easily slide the tree trunk into the pipe.  Whether you plant your tree directly into the ground, or into a pipe…STABILITY and STRAIGHTNESS is your main concern.

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

10.  Once planted, the tree may need to be “opened up” and shaped to your liking.  Do your bending slowly!  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. You will want to shape the branches so none of the bottles or branches will hit one another.  Keep in mind the weight of snow and ice, which may accumulate on the bottles.  Birds will also land on your tree.  And don’t forget the breezes which may sway the branches.  Another concern is to make sure no rain water will accumulate inside the bottles.  

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

12.  Once planted, check for straightness. If it is not, it will look funny.  Check for straightness again after placing your bottles on your tree.

13.  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!  Smiles.

Hope you enjoy my Bottle Tree!

And please send me a picture of your tree when you have found a home for it.  I'll post it on my website.

Thanks again.