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Plant a Tree

Created By: Stan Fellows (Illustrator)




  1. Step 1

    Plan Ahead: Consider the eventual size of the tree and how surrounding power lines, buildings, and existing trees may be affected.

  2. Step 2

    Dig a Hole: Strip away turf, and dig a hole as deep as the root-ball and two to three times wider than it. To gauge depth, use the shovel handle to measure the height of the root-ball.

  3. Step 3

    Ready the Tree: For container-grown trees, remove the pot, untangle the roots, and straighten any spiraling ones. For balled and burlapped trees, remove the wire cage (snip off the cage's bottom before placing it in the hole), and cut away as much rope and burlap as possible.

  4. Step 4

    Position the Tree: Set the tree so that the root flare (between the trunk and the root-ball) is two inches above the existing soil level.

  5. Step 5

    Fill the Hole: Backfill with the original soil (do not amend soil); tamp it firmly.

  6. Step 6

    Add Water: Form a wall of soil above the root-ball's edge, creating a moat around the trunk. Fill the area with water, and let it drain; fill it again.

  7. Step 7

    Apply Mulch: Spread a two-inch layer, leaving a two-inch buffer around the trunk.

  8. Step 8

    Water the Tree: Give the new tree one inch of water per week, through its first season.

Martha Stewart Living, April 2010



Reviews (2)

  • dogwild 2 Mar, 2012

    While it's true that you do have to be careful where you plant them, I don't know how I'd get through the summer without "my trees"! When I moved here, there were none, except in the woods--none close enough to the house, barn, shed, yards, and garden for any relief from the sun. I planted many trees, and now that they have grown into beautiful shade-givers, I can spend so much more time outside than before! And the birds love them as much as I do!

  • JeaninVancouver 15 Apr, 2010

    Consider well before planting something which may interfere with gas or water lines or underground electrical lines. Be sure to consult your nursery as to the rate of growth as many are dismayed in 10 years when they have to cut the tree down. Many municipal governments prohibit removal of trees, even on private property, sometimes based on the girth of the trunk.