Proper tree planting:
1. Measure your rootball
2. Dig your hole deeper and wider than the rootball of the tree.
3. Fill your hole with water and let it absorb.
4. Backfill your hole slightly with a mixture of native soil and compost.
5. Ensure the top of your tree's rootball is even with the surrounding soil: you don't want it lower or higher.
5. Carefully place your tree in the hole and using wire cutters, cut the cage and peel it back.
6. Remove any burlap. Be careful once the burlap has been removed to check for that all important trunk flare. Sometimes trees can get re-burlapped at the nursery and the soil can end up being too high. Dig down and be sure you can see the base of the trunk where it gets a little wider. If by chance your tree is too deep, it will end up dying.
7. Continue to backfill it with native soil and compact compost.
8. Water water water. Be sure to give your new tree the proper amount of water.
This particular tree was planted specifically to attract a Cedar Waxwing. They are particularly fond of the berries.
Cedar Waxwing Photo courtesy of Audubon.
Here you can see the hole is deeper and wider than the rootball.
I filled the hole with water and let it absorb so the ground around the soil is nice and moist.
You can see here just how high the soil line is compared to where the trunk flare is. This tree was not over-wrapped in the nursery. The rootball was nice and damp and when the forklift lifted it onto our trailer it squished some. No harm at all to the root system, but still, it was important for us to know that and to look for the trunk flare or the tree would have been planted too deep.
You can see better in this photo just how high up on the trunk the soil was as we have scraped the excess soil away and planted it properly.