And that in his expert (he's a forester) opinion, far too many folks do it the wrong way.
Therefore I bring you...
Tree Guy's Quick and Dirty Guide to Tree Planting
1. Dig a hole a little bit wider and shorter than the root ball.
2. Make sure the top of the root ball is a little higher than ground level.
3. Fill in the hole, but don't cover the part of the root ball that is higher than the ground.
4. Put a few inches of mulch on top of the root ball in a circle around the tree. Create a shallow "bowl" with the mulch, with the tallest part being at the outer edge of the mulch circle.
5. To determine how often your new tree needs water, stick your hand down in the soil under the mulch. If it's completely dry, water the tree. If it's wet, don't water. Trees can wilt with both too much and too little water.
That's it! And if you break any of the cardinal rules o' tree planting?
You, like this forester's wife, will have a big mud hole for dogs in your front yard where a tree used to be. RIP front yard tree!