WESTFIELD, Ind. — Never planted a tree? No problem.

Once you’ve decided on the type of tree and where to put it, follow these four steps from David Bergman and Sam Marsh of Sundown Gardens to make sure it grows and thrives.

  • Overdig your hole — The hole should be about 30 percent larger than the size of the root ball. This allows for good soil compaction around the tree when you plant it.
  • Choose the right elevation — Keep the top of the root ball 1 to 2 inches above soil level. If it’s lower, the roots will be exposed to too much moisture in the ground. If it’s higher, the roots won’t have enough soil to grab on to.
  • Backfill and mulch — Fill the hole with native soil, keeping it at the proper height to allow water to run away from the tree, rather than in towards the trunk. Add a 2-inch layer of mulch around the tree to allow moisture in throughout the year.
  • Add nutrients — Add a root stimulator as you water or a granular tree and shrub food on the top of the soil. Either way, nutrients will jumpstart growth and help with the tree’s longevity.