Step 7: Backfill the hole

backfilling the hole when planting a new tree
Photo: Brian Wilder
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Spread superphosphate and 3-4-3 fertilizer onto the soil pile, using the amounts recommended for your size tree on the packaging, and scratch it into the soil.

Thoroughly mix up the soil, then start shoveling it into the hole. Be careful not to bury the root flare.

When the hole is full, use the blade of the shovel to form a 6-inch-high curbing around the tree.

Next, use a garden hose to fill the crater you created with water. As the water absorbs into the soil, knock down the curbing and smooth out the dirt.
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    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