Step 1: Dig the Hole

man with tape measure checking the depth of a hole by measuring from the shovel handle laid across the hole
Photo: Ryan Benyi
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Dig a hole 1 foot in diameter for every 1 inch of trunk diameter, and 2 inches shallower than the distance from the bottom of the root ball to the root flare, where the trunk emerges from the ball. If you can't see the flare, pull back some of the burlap. Keep track of the depth with a shovel handle laid across the hole and a measuring tape.
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    Tools List

    • pointed shovel
      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 treegator.com