Step 1: Mark the ground

marking the ground to plant a tree
Photo: Brian Wilder
«»
Decide where you want the tree. Stay at least 15 feet away from the house, sidewalk, driveway, and other trees. Also, watch out for overhead power lines — most shade trees will grow at least to the height of residential power lines. Drive a stake into the ground at that spot.

Measure the diameter of the tree's root ball.

Use a can of brightly colored spray paint to mark a circle around the stake that's two to three times wider in diameter than the root ball.

Tip: Use special marking paint, which has a spray nozzle that works when the can is tilted upside down.
Ask TOH users about Trees & Shrubs

Contribute to This Story Below

    Tools List

    • pointed shovel
      Pointed shovel
    • pickax
      Pickax
    • bolt cutter
      Bolt cutters,
      to cut wire basket on root ball
    • 16-foot tape measure
      Tape measure
    • bypass pruners
      Bypass pruners,
      to trim broken branches
    • tarp
      Plastic tarp,
      to hold dirt shoveled from hole
    • strapping
      Strapping
    • paint sprayer
      Spray paint,
      to mark the hole outline
    • utility knife
      Utility knife,
      to cut away the burlap
    • hand cultivator
      Cultivator,
      to loosen the root ball

    Shopping List

    1. TREE

    2. 3-4-3 FERTILIZER

    3. SUPERPHOSPHATE

    4. PLASTIC TARP

    to hold dirt shoveled from hole



    5. STRING

    6. WOOD STAKE

    to tie off string



    7. DRIP-IRRIGATION BAGS

    8. SPRAY PAINT

    to mark the hole outline