Step 4: Backfill with Soil

man fills the hole around a newly planted tree with backfill from the hole
Photo: Ryan Benyi
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Cut away the wire basket to at least 6 inches below the root ball's shoulder, and pull back the burlap. Use a cultivator to loosen the soil around the root ball. Backfill with the excavated soil up to grade. Tamp lightly as you go along to eliminate any air pockets.
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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