Q: I'd like to purchase a small tree. What's the proper way to plant it?
—Maria Costa, Holbrook, Mass.

Kim Hren, Groundworks Landscaping Inc., replies: The hardest part about planting any tree is moving it. A 6- to 8-footer with its root ball could easily weigh 200 pounds or more. If you plan on planting it yourself, have the garden center either help you pick a size that's easier to handle or deliver it to your house right where you want to plant it.

Make sure the site you select is at least 15 feet from the house, power lines, and other trees. And before you start digging, be sure to call 811. You'll be put in touch with a local service company that marks the location of any buried utility lines free of charge, saving you from any costly surprises. Once those details are taken care of, proceed with the steps on the next page. Your few hours of labor will pay off handsomely with a boost in curb appeal that will only get better with time.

Pictured: Landscapers Andy Silich and Randy Leland of Groundworks Landscaping secure the tree in its hole. Get a helper for any tree weighing more than 100 pounds.
Ask TOH users about Trees & Shrubs

Contribute to This Story Below

    Tools List

    • pointed shovel
    • 30-foot tape measure
      Tape measure
    • wire cable snips
      Wire cutters, to remove basket on root ball
    • hand cultivator
      Cultivator, to loosen root ball

    Shopping List

    1. Small tree
    2. 3-4-3 Starter fertilizer to amend the soil
    3. Bark mulch
    4. Treegator water bag, available at