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In this video, This Old House landscape contractor Roger Cook brings a bit of green to the concrete jungle.


  1. Use pointed shovel to dig out old, dying tree. Shovel dirt onto plastic tarp.
  2. Set new tree into hole and stretch a string across hole to determine planting depth. Be sure root flare isn't buried below ground.
  3. Gently tug on roots to ensure they're not twisted together or bound around the root ball.
  4. Be certain the tree is perfectly straight, then backfill around the root ball with soil. Use your hands to pack soil into air pockets.
  5. As you continue to shovel dirt around the tree, fill the planting hole with water from a garden hose to compact the soil.
  6. Drive two 2x2 stakes into the ground and then secure the tree with two straps.
  7. Spread 3 inches of licorice-root mulch around the tree, but don't pile any mulch against the trunk.
  8. Water tree twice a week for two weeks and then once a week until ground freezes. Water with garden hose, slow-drip irrigation bag, or 5-gallon bucket with drip holes drilled around base.