How to Plant a Tree

Step 3:
Put Your Tree in Place

Container Tree

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Carefully remove tree from container.

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Check to see if the roots are loose.

  • Use your fingers or a garden hand cultivator to carefully loosen the fine roots. Straighten or cut roots circling the root ball, making clean cuts.
  • Prune any dead or crushed roots.
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Lift the tree into its new home by the root ball, not the trunk. Stand the tree upright in the center of the hole.

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How Should it Look?
Once in the ground, about one to two inches of the root ball should be above the soil level and the root flare should be exposed and visible.

Helpful Hint:

Don’t Go Too Low: Never Plant Too Deep.

  • The root flare should be visible and an inch or two higher than the existing soil. If it is hidden in the root ball, expose it by removing dirt from the top.
  • If you find the hole is too deep: lift the tree out of the hole by the root ball (not the trunk), add dirt to the hole and tamp down well. Then replace the tree.
  • If the hole is too shallow: lift the tree out of the hole by the root ball (not the trunk), and dig a little deeper. Then replace the tree.