'Call Before Digging' Number
Did you know there's a nationwide number you can call before you dig? Call 811 to have your underground utility lines marked—for free. We recommend calling before starting any project that requires digging, even small projects like planting shrubs. Hitting an underground utility line with your shovel can knock out power to your house or neighborhood, and it can cause serious bodily harm—even death—not to mention a rather large bill from the utility company.
When you call 811 from anywhere in the country, your call is routed to affected utility companies, which send out a professional locator to mark the underground lines, usually within a few days. For more information, visit call811.com. The other one-call referral system number we've featured, (888) 258-0808, can still be used to have your underground utilities marked.
Tree Trunk Protector
Protect the trunks of young trees and bushes from lawn trimmers and critters by using 6-in. flexible plastic drainage pipe. Cut a short piece of pipe, split it along its length, and wrap it around the young tree.
Dig a Saucer-Shaped Hole
Dig a saucer-shaped hole three to five times the diameter of the root-ball (or the spread of the roots for a bare-root tree). This allows the roots to easily penetrate the softened backfill and properly anchor the tree. If you're planting in clay or wet soil, use a garden fork or your spade to roughen the bottom and sides of the planting hole to avoid glazing. Glazing happens when the sides and bottom of a hole become so smooth and compacted that water can't pass easily through the soil. In extreme situations, it could block roots from penetrating the sides of the planting hole.