clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

In this video, This Old House landscape contractor Roger Cook shows the proper way to plant a tree.


1. Measure width of tree's root ball; multiply times three to calculate tree-hole diameter.
2. Mark the tree-hole diameter onto the ground with line-marking spray paint.
3. Use shovel to remove grass from marked circle; place grass on tarp and add to compost.
4. Measure height of root ball up to the root flare.
5. Dig hole depth to equal height to root flare.
6. Stretch taut string across hole and measure down to check hole depth.
7. Roll the tree into the hole.
8. Cut twine from branches.
9. Rotate tree with best side facing the street.
10. Use bolt cutters to remove the wire basket from the root ball.
11. Pull the burlap away from the root ball.
12. Add superphosphate and starter fertilizer to the hole.
13. Back fill around root ball with excavated topsoil.
14. Force garden hose deep into hole and fill hole with water.
15. Water tree every day for the first week, twice a week for the second week, and then once a week every week until the ground freezes.