How to Plant a Tree

Follow these simple steps to add a beautiful tree to your yard.

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A tree's dormant periods -- early spring before bud break and late fall after leaf drop -- are the best times for planting. Prepare for planting by calling local utility companies to locate your underground lines. Whichever form of tree you plant, the instructions are similar. The following method refers to balled-and-burlapped and container-grown trees.

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1. Measure the diameter of the tree's root ball with your shovel handle. Remove sod that's twice as wide as the root ball. Set the tree aside (pick it up by the root ball, not by the trunk).

Then, dig a planting hole. Be certain it's deep enough so that the top of the root ball will align with ground level. Loosen soil in the bottom of the hole and around the sides. Peel burlap back from the trunk but leave it on the root ball; it will decompose eventually. Otherwise, remove any containers and plastic, twine, or wire encasements. Center tree in the hole.

2. Refill the hole with soil. Note: fertilizing is not recommended. Crumble dirt clods, then settle soil and eliminate air pockets around roots by watering the hole as you fill it. After the hole is completely backfilled and watered, apply mulch. Water again in a week, then again every week (unless an inch of rain falls) through the first growing season and prior to winter.

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