Step 3: Tease out the Roots

Man teasing out roots from a tree
Photo: Ryan Benyi
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With a cultivator, gently scrape across the sides, top, and bottom of each root ball to expose the tiny roots that absorb water and fertilizer. In a wheelbarrow, mix 2 parts excavated soil with 1 part compost, then backfill the trench up to grade. Form a soil dam around each tree just wider than the diameter of the root ball.
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    Tools List

    • pointed shovel
      Spade shovel


    • scissors
      Scissors


    • wire cable snips
      Wire cutters


    • hand cultivator
      Cultivator


    • metal garden rake
      Metal rake

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