Step 5: Water and Mulch

hand pulling away mulch around the base of a tree
Photo: Ryan Benyi
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Form a 6-inch-high soil dam around the tree at the edge of the hole, then soak the roots with water. Knock down the lip after the water has been absorbed. Add mulch about 3 inches deep all around the tree, but pull it away from the trunk to discourage rot. Keep the roots moist by wrapping a Treegator water bag or two around the trunk. Fill it once a week for the next two years.
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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