Tree Planting Guidelines

1. The planting hole shall be cylindrical in shape.

2. The diameter of the planting hole shall be large enough to provide at least 12" of planting soil backfill around root ball.   For bare root planting the hole shall be at least 12" wider than the spread of the roots.

3. Extreme care shall be taken so as not to excavated to a depth that exceeds the height of the root ball.  Back filling of the hole to raise the height of the tree is not acceptable.  IMPORTANT NOTE:  It is important that the root flare be 1" To 2" higher than the surrounding grade.

4. The planting hole shall not have any glazed sides.  Holes dug with a mechanical device such as an auger shall be roughed up to eliminate any glazing.

5. Backfill shall be clean and free of construction debris.


1. Before digging the hole peel back the burlap slightly and locate the root collar in the  soil ball. 

2. Measure the distance between the root flare and the bottom of the ball and dig the hole no deeper than this distance.

3. Once the ball is set carefully in the hole, remove the rope from around the trunk.

4. If the ball is in a wire basket, cut and remove as much of the wire as possible.

5. Remove the remaining twine and peel back the burlap as much as possible.

6. Remove all tree wrap.

7. Do not stake the trees.  If staking must be done in special situations it shall be approved by the City Forester.  Staking shall be done with a wide strap material (NO WIRE IN A HOSE).  The tree shall also be staked to allow some play in the trunk.  

8. A 3" to 4"  shredded wood mulch shall be placed over the planting site, and the mulch shall be pulled away from the trees trunk.

9. The tree shall be thoroughly watered immediately after planting.

10. Trees shall be pruned to remove all dead and severely injured branches.  The pruning cuts shall be made back to a lateral branch and shall be done so as not to disturb the branch collar or branch bark ridge.  No tree wound paint is to be used on the trees.  Should the structural integrity of the tree be jeopardized the City Forester shall be contacted to confirm suitability for planting.   ALL FUTURE PRUNING WILL BE DONE BY CITY OF WATERTOWN FORESTRY PERSONNEL.