Wherever you are in Chaffee County, the steps for successfully planting a tree are the same.

1. Dig a hole as deep as the container and three times the container/root ball width.

2. For balled and burlapped tree: cut twine, remove at least the top ½ of the wire basket, cut away burlap without loosening the soil. For potted tree: cut pot, gently remove tree.

3. If potted tree, score soil with a sharp knife one inch deep once down all four sides to release the roots.

4. Plant the top of the root ball slightly above ground level. The root collar (flare) must be visible one inch above final grade. Some potted trees have soil above the flare; this must be removed.

5. Set root ball on solid ground and not on loose backfill to prevent settling.

6. Backfill the hole with the original soil.

7. Water, placing the water stream adjacent to root ball. Let water settle the soil.

8. Do not fertilize at planting time.

9. Use mulch three to four inches deep, starting six inches back from the trunk and extending the mulch ring one foot beyond the root ball. Porous landscape cloth may be placed between the soil and the mulch, but not plastic. Stake tree to keep root ball from shifting, allowing it to sway slightly

10. Keep soil moist, but not saturated.

Kathryn Hardgrave, Assistant District Forester of the Colorado State Forest Service in Salida, points out the following website for additional important information: http://csfs.colostate.edu/colorado-trees/selecting-planting-and-caring-for-trees/planting-tips/.

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