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How to Plant a Tree

1. DIG A HOLE

- Dig a hole deep and wide enough for the roots.

WHAT TO DO
WHAT NOT TO DO

- Don't bunch the roots together so they will fit into the hole.  If you hold the tree over the hole and the roots touch the edges, the hole is too small.

- Don't twist or tangle the roots.  The tips of the roots should point out and away from the trunk.

WHY?

- The roots need to be able to spread beyond the hole you've dug to reach water and nutrients further away.

- If the roots are tangled around the trunk they can grow wrapped around the trunk and choke the tree.

2. COVER THE ROOTS
WHAT TO DO

- Chop up the soil before covering the roots with it.

WHAT NOT TO DO

- Don't cover the roots with large chunks of soil.

WHY?

- Large chunks of soil will not fill in all the air pockets.  The roots will dry out if not completely surrounded with soil and the tree will die.

3. PACK THE SOIL

- Pack down the soil firmly, stepping around the stem.

WHAT TO DO
WHAT NOT TO DO

- Don't use just your hands to pat the soil down.  You can press the soil down all the way around the trunk with your feet.

WHY?

- We need to make sure that all of the air pockets are filled with soil so the roots don't dry out.

4. WATER
WHAT TO DO

- Make sure to put at least 1 full bucket if the soil is dry.  If the soil is very wet already, you can give the tree less.

WHAT NOT TO DO

- Don't over-water or under-water the tree.  After you've watered the tree, the water should not pool around the tree for more than a minute.

WHY?

- We want to make sure the tree has enough water.

- If the water does not disappear after a minute, you probably didn't have to give it that much water.  Give the next tree you plant less water.

5. MULCH

- Spread mulch in a ring around the tree.

WHAT TO DO

- The mulch should be thinner near the trunk and thicker further away from the trunk.  The mulch should look like a 'donut' around the tree.

WHAT NOT TO DO

- Don't mound the mulch up so that it is touching the trunk and the mulch is thickest near the trunk.

WHY?

- Mulch helps retain moisture and can house insects.  If there is constantly moisture on the trunk, the tree can rot and become diseased.

- Roots may start to grow from too high on the trunk where they don't belong.

6. GUARD

- Wrap a guard around the trunk and do a 'tug' test.

- Unwind the guard and twirl it around the bottom of the trunk, working your way upwards.

WHAT TO DO
WHAT NOT TO DO

- Don't slide the guard down the tree from the tips of the trunk to the roots.

WHY?

- A trunk guard protects the tree from rodents and deer from nibbling at the bark.

- Sliding the guard down from the top of the tree to the bottom may tear off some buds.  Then the tree will have no leaves.

- A gentle tug at the base ensures the tree is planted, not loose.