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Add backfill to the soil surface

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A few inches of the root ball (arrow) remains above ground after all the backfill soil is added. This ensures the point where the top-most root emerges from the trunk remains above ground, even if the root ball should settle. Mulch will cover the sides of the ball but will not be placed on top. A thick layer of mulch placed on top of the ball could cut off oxygen and water to roots.