This paper deals with rural households’ decision regarding tree planting on farmland in developing countries. This has been the topic of numerous descriptive socio-economic studies. In many cases the findings and claims of these studies are ambiguous, although there is a general agreement about the importance of imperfect markets. In addition, no studies that we know of have formalised the tree planting decision in a prescriptive format. In this paper we develop and evaluate a predictive theoretical rational-behaviour model to explore the tree planting decision that encompasses household factor endowments and market characteristics. We elaborate upon the model characteristics and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the model. In addition, we assess the data needs for the model and the data availability in a Tanzanian context.