Checklist For Planting A Tree

[] With a ruler, measure the diameter and the depth of the rootball.
[] Dig hole 2 1/2 times the diameter of the rootball.
[] Dig hole to the same depth as the rootball. Lay a t-post or shovel handle across the top of the hole to determine ground level. Measure depth of hole by measuring from bottom of hole to bottom of t-post. This measurement should be the same depth as the rootball.
[] Lift tree into planting hole by the rootball, NOT by the trunk.
[] Check to ensure that the top of the rootball is at ground level by laying a t-post or shovel handle across the top of the hole.
[] Use pliers to remove nails from the rootball.
[] Use scissors to remove twine and cut away the top half of the burlap from the rootball. Do not remove the bottom half of the burlap.
[] If a wire basket is present, use wire cutters to cut away the top of the basket but do not remove the bottom half.
[] Refill the hole with the soil that came from digging the hole. Fill to the same level as soil at the base of the trunk in rootball. Do not pile soil against the trunk.
[] Use all remaining soil to build a circular berm 5-6 feet in diameter around the tree. This berm will hold water and mulch.
[] Hammer stakes or t-posts north and south of the tree. Stakes should not touch rootball or branches.
[] For staking, tie a length of nylon strapping to 1 t-post, wrap around the trunk once, then securely tie the strapping to the other t-post. The strapping should be tight enough to limit movement in strong winds but should not make the tree trunk rigid.
[] If nylon strapping is not available, use a 15″ piece of garden hose to make a doughnut by running a piece of wire through it. Put the doughnut around tree trunk and secure the ends of the wire to the t-posts.
[] Water gently low to the ground with 10 to 15 gallons of water for 1 1/2 inch caliper trees. Plastic milk jugs and 5 gallon buckets are useful to measure.
[] Put 4 inches of wood chips or other mulching material in the planting circle, leaving 2 inches of space around the tree trunk. Mulch should not touch the trunk.