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How to Plant a Tree, Part 2

Learn how to plant a tree from landscape architect Patrick Weisel in this Howcast video, the second of a three-part series.


Now we're going to roll the tree into the hole and position it where we want it. That looks pretty good.

Once you've got the tree in the hole, and you've got any of the twine, or that, removed from it, you want to get a look at the tree and, sort of, turn it around in the hole to make sure that the best side of the tree is facing towards the way which you're most likely going to look at it. Put its best side forward, so to say. So, then the other thing, we've got it in the hole, we've got it, sort of, set up the way we want it, then we want to kind of level the tree in the hole and get it where we want it. So, I'm thinking we're going to need a little soil in the backside here. Hal's just going to add some soil there.

Alright, that looks pretty good. Now, a lot of people would be tempted at this point to just back- fill the hole and just go in there with their shoes and stomp the soil down around, and then water the tree. That's not really accepted practice anymore. The reason being is that you just end up compacting the soil and taking all the airspace out of the soil. So what we do, what most professionals do these days, is use water to settle the soil. And what we're going to do is we're going to back-fill it about a third, the hole, and then we're going to do, put in a lot of water in to the hole, and let that sort of work the soil down. And then, once we've got that settled in there, then we'll do some more work. Once you've got the hole filled about a third of the way with soil, come in with your water again, and you're going to spray that in there, spraying the sides of the root ball to try to expose some of the roots, and settle the soil down in to the bottom of the hole.

All right, that's good. Stop.

So, now that we've got some water in there, and the soil is settled in around there, we're going to start looking at the root flare of the tree again. Again, our key here is to avoid girdling roots and sometimes, when the trees are dug, the spade, the automatic spade that digs the tree out of the ground compresses the soil and pushes some soil up over the top of the root flare, and that can also promote girdling roots. So, we want to really expose the root flare with the water and make sure that all the roots that are coming out of there are going out, radially, and that none are circling around the trunk.

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