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mdvaden
10-24-2005, 10:06 PM
For a while, I've been working part time for a landscape company in Medford that seems to do mainly "production work" - construction site stuff.

My second day working, I just about freaked when they planted trees - or, asked me to help them plant trees.

They wrap root panels in a circle around the tree. Yes, the box shows that option, but the City of Medford REQUIRES (not suggests) that the root panels run along and parallel to the sidewalk and curb, leaving plenty of room for root growth.

Good for the City of Medford. The encircling panel method would be like planting the trees and leaving them in the pot.

Not only did this company put the panels in circles, the circles were so small that the trees were almost shoe-horned in - barely enough room to squeeze soil in. And oddly, they add mycorrhizae to help the trees. They really want to plant right, but don't understand trees or soil.

There's a missing piece still - they filled the bottom of the holes with several inches of rock. Yes, that's right.

Nowhere for the roots to grow sideways, and nowhere to grow down. Maybe a few little roots can squeeze in the cracks, but which one of you would like to plant your plants in rocks?

The company management believes the rock will help drainage.

If there was water in the hole before, and it could not drain away, how would adding solid rock matter help at all if there is no drain line to transfer the water?

As you may have noted in my other posts, there is no horticulture program at the college here. There was one once, but lack of interest apparently caused it to go by the way side.

At this rather large landscape company, one thing stood out. Pride in work, but no love for the profession.

The workers do like the lawns to look green, the plants to be where the plan says, etc.. So from one angle - that one -the workers take pride in work.

But they don't read about plants, trees or soil. They barely garden on the side. None except maybe one, expressed any interest in educational courses or programs. It's basically just a job.

It's like a dead end road. What are they going to do, stay there as foreman making $14 per hour until they are 50 years old?

In Portland area, I didn't see much of this kind of thing. Most guys and gals that hung around for a few years were really interested in their work, they loved landscaping, turf, trees, shrubs. It was a special thing to them.

PurpHaze
10-24-2005, 10:16 PM
Sounds like you've entered the Twilight Zone.

mdvaden
10-25-2005, 02:33 AM
Maybe the "Transition Zone".

Medford is really starting to grow in leaps and bounds, especially from retired Californians.

Good workers ("work" is the key) are in shortage. But I think things will change, likewise with education and how businesses conduct work.

None-the-less, I was amazed (these days with TV and books available) to see trees planted in something resembling the sides of a black nursery pot with a thick layer of rock in the bottom.

"Hello...ooo...ooo..."

PurpHaze
10-25-2005, 07:58 AM
I feel your frustration. Are these trees guaranteed for a certain length of time by the installer?

MarcSmith
10-25-2005, 11:00 AM
I could understand putting some sort of root barrier along curb and sidewalks but allt he way around???

jbell113
10-25-2005, 05:18 PM
Maybe and Im just saying maybe....they wanted to retain the rootball to a small area so it wouldnt grow fast and eventually damage the side walks or garauntee a certain death so they can replant a few years down the road.

sheshovel
10-25-2005, 05:26 PM
Rock actually prohibits drainage in a planting hole.
Some from the old school use to advise this method thinking that the excess water would pool into the rock below and keep the roots from drownding in areas where drainage was bad.Actually what would happen is the water would drownd the roots anyway because the rock would prevent what drainage there might have been from functioning .
What you have described it bad Landscaping for good $$.That's too bad,I hate to see that kind of thing.

sheshovel
10-25-2005, 05:28 PM
OOPS double post!

PurpHaze
10-25-2005, 05:48 PM
Maybe and Im just saying maybe....they wanted to retain the rootball to a small area so it wouldnt grow fast and eventually damage the side walks or garauntee a certain death so they can replant a few years down the road.

I saw this done where trees were planted in raised planters. They figured that by totally encircling the roots with a barrier that the roots would go deeper instead of spanning out. Within five years the planters had large cracks in them and had to be removed. Basic determination was that the surface area of the planters were too small to contain the trees.

CAL-LANDSCAPER
10-26-2005, 10:12 PM
I understand the idea of installing a root barrier to help prevent surface roots,
but some room needs to be left around to root ball for new roots to grow.
We've installed many root barriers where there would later be a possible problem close to sidewalks or a concrete patio area.
As far as having the root barrier so close to the roots, have you ever seen a tree in a nursery get pot bound and has no choice but to grow out of the drain holes and into the ground ? The trees will find a way to survive.

Still don't agree with the method used by you employer and
I don't agree with the rock under for several reasons.
Also understand you frustrations.
I see so many projects done with poor quality installation.
The problem many times is that the home owners don't know the difference of a good landscape or a bad one. Poor quality products and poor plant choices and placement. The home owner also does not check into any references or previous work done by some local companies.
It's what I refer to as 'Two guys and a Shovel' landscaping
with no education or knowledge of plant material.
Usually no licence and no insurance either.
So, I do understand you situation.

Are you in a position to question the methods being used or
suggest other ways of doing certain aspects of the job ?

jimmdenver
10-26-2005, 11:54 PM
That's just downright crazy!

sheshovel
10-27-2005, 03:38 PM
You said:
"At this rather large landscape company, one thing stood out. Pride in work, but no love for the profession{Quote}
I say
Pride in work means knowing what you are doing and making sure what you are going to do is the correct way to do it.
Or at least as close to the correct way as you can make it.
Love of the profession manifests itself in the quality and outcome of the work you do,this means not only today.
.but what your work will look like in 10 years down the road or
what problems it will cause 10 years down the road.

MarcSmith
10-27-2005, 04:03 PM
maybe they don't plan on being business in 10 years....Not that any warranty would still apply

mdvaden
10-27-2005, 10:57 PM
Am I in a position to suggest...

Not now. I was fired about 2 days after I requested to talk about it again. Fairly certain it was over the tree issue.

Heck, I hadn't even brought up the pesticides stuffed onto shelves in the messy trailers yet. My second week, a 17 year old worker is holding a seeder spreader and I asked him what he was doing with the herbicides. He said it was fertilizer (If you saw the storage, you would understand the mixup for an inexperienced worker). Anyhow, it was herbicide and he had to put it back.

That's the way it is there - poor storage, no instruction about what's being handled and applied and no measuring involved or record keeping.

My third week, I almost got polked in the eye by a pitchfork in a barrel - tines up - in the tool trailer.

The owner routed me through a staffing agency and had them call me. He never talked to me good or bad to say goodbye. He basically vanished. I think he was afraid or guilty to talk to me. Even the staffing company thought it was weird.

Anyhow, now with more days I need to fill for my own business, I got slammed with 5 calls for estimates yesterday (I was terminated the day before) and this morning, all 5 estimates were accepted on the spot or within 1 hour.

Someone upstairs is taking care of my situation.

sildoc
10-28-2005, 12:53 AM
I see this all the time around the RV(rogue valley) area. The city does not want side walk upheaval which takes any where from 8-15 years on average for proposed caliper of trees. Most are Maples.
Now from the business stand point I can understand. City wants x and also wants 1 year guarantee. All trees will last 1 year. Then they get tear out and replants. Costing the city 1-2x more than original bid.
Trust me as you hit the North end of North Phoenix road you will see many dead and dying trees just planted not more than a year ago.

Mdvaden,
email me your business number and your quals. What your wanting in referals. I have been sending most tree work to beaver, RH, and tree doc but they are so busy that most of the time are quoting 5- 10 times what it is worth.

mdvaden
10-28-2005, 02:06 AM
Sildoc, the email apparently was disabled by the admin.

Anyway, my website in my signature has all that stuff you asked for in the background and contact pages.

I don't climb like the other services, but do handle plenty from about 20 feet and down. Yes, some that landscapers could do, but rarely at the speed and quality I can perform.

From all I've heard, my prices are averaging lower than most companies. I don't think I'm low. It appears that the prices are outrageously high in Medford. Portland has myriads more qualified arborists and the prices up there may be 1/2 to 2/3 of the Medford estimates.

I just don't see how they manage to get the work, because Medford as well as Portland, has the hacker class companies bidding too.

The Medford city arborist said he may have some trees down the line that fit my niche that require skill but not the high-climb equipment.

Gee... I'll say this, debris dump is cheap here. In Portland, it's $5 or more per cubic yard whether they burn for electricity or grind for mulch.

That BioMass place north of Medford is only $5 total for the large trailer loads I bring in. Those would cost me $40 a load in Beaverton. That savings makes up for the gas price down here.

If anything causes high tree prices in Medford, within reason, it would be:

Gas is higher
Labor is harder to retain after training
Rent or lease can be higher by 10%

But taxes on property are huge huge less.

sildoc
10-28-2005, 04:08 PM
Sildoc, the email apparently was disabled by the admin.

Anyway, my website in my signature has all that stuff you asked for in the background and contact pages.

I don't climb like the other services, but do handle plenty from about 20 feet and down. Yes, some that landscapers could do, but rarely at the speed and quality I can perform.

From all I've heard, my prices are averaging lower than most companies. I don't think I'm low. It appears that the prices are outrageously high in Medford. Portland has myriads more qualified arborists and the prices up there may be 1/2 to 2/3 of the Medford estimates.

I just don't see how they manage to get the work, because Medford as well as Portland, has the hacker class companies bidding too.

The Medford city arborist said he may have some trees down the line that fit my niche that require skill but not the high-climb equipment.

Gee... I'll say this, debris dump is cheap here. In Portland, it's $5 or more per cubic yard whether they burn for electricity or grind for mulch.

That BioMass place north of Medford is only $5 total for the large trailer loads I bring in. Those would cost me $40 a load in Beaverton. That savings makes up for the gas price down here.

If anything causes high tree prices in Medford, within reason, it would be:

Gas is higher
Labor is harder to retain after training
Rent or lease can be higher by 10%

But taxes on property are huge huge less.

Reason #1 why companies can get more here than portland is that there is a huge California influx. They sold their shacks for milions and are able to afford all the luxeries here that they couldn't there.

Biomass is a saint on the pocket book. However for my self I still have to use the transferstation for grass clippings and leaves. Oh well 5 bucks a cu yard.