Introduction

roger cook and another man demonstrate how to plant a tree
Photo: Anthony Tieuli
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Q: I want to plant a tree in remembrance of my grandson. What can I do to make sure it survives? —Peggy Curvin, Imlay City, Mich.

A: Roger Cook replies: Planting a tree certainly is a wonderful way to remember a loved one. To make sure a new tree has a good future, choose a location at least 15 feet from the house and where there aren't any overhead utility lines.

A local nursery can help you identify the most suitable trees for your spot. Next, look for a nice specimen, one with attractive foliage, undamaged bark, and a burlapped root ball. (Container-grown trees may have stunted, pot-bound root systems, which makes them less resilient and harder to establish.)

Have the nursery deliver your tree as close to the planting site as is practical. Then follow these steps to give your living memorial its best chance to reach a healthy maturity.

To watch Roger plant the tree, go to Ask TOH | Tree, Basement Drain
Ask TOH users about Trees & Shrubs

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    Tools List

    • 100-foot tape measure
      tape measure
    • garden stakes
      6-foot stake (2)
    • string
      8-foot string
    • edger
      step edger
    • grub hoe
      grub hoe shovel
    • utility knife
      utility knife
    • wire cable snips
      wire cutter
    • hand cultivator
      hand cultivator
    • chain lock tree ties
      chain-lock tree ties

    Shopping List

    0-20-0 superphosphate fertilizer

    3-3-3 tree starter fertilizer

    compost

    mulch