View Full Version : Wire baskets

07-14-2002, 10:13 PM
Spring/summer have passed and I would like to get a discussion started on removing all/ partial/ or none of the wire basket on a B and B tree. I have been getting a lot of pressure to remove baskets from trees by city foresters (people who never plant trees) because it sounds so kind to the tree. After sitting in a skidsteer with jaws and planting trees with and without baskets, I can see that trees are less disturbed by leaving baskets on. Too many fall apart when the basket is removed and we are planting a 300 dollar bare root tree. Just want to see what the rest of you think. Steve We do remove rope and top of burlap.

robert payer
07-14-2002, 10:38 PM
Plant with every ounce discipline and the wire basket. Basket is there for a reason, to be left alone. Rootball will often break in the wire removal process.

I have seen plenty of trees in the last couple years that never had the rope or burlap untied? They are worried about the wire baskets?

Saw the top 4 feet of a 15 foot pine just fall off. I was a little confused until I saw that this was where the root ball had been tied, and still was!

Most of us go out of our way to be a pro when planting. Leaving the basket in my opinion is important to the future health of the plant by allowing an intact ball to be back filled.

I look forward to the other side of the debate. Your opinions will be considered.

07-14-2002, 10:40 PM
Agree. They are there for a reason.

07-14-2002, 11:35 PM
The Extension research horticulturalist for our state has recommended the following planting strategy. After placing the tree into the planting hole and starting the backfill, cut away the top 1/3 of the basket (the top and down to the first horizontal ring of the actual basket). Cut away the roping and fan out or cut the burlap away from the flare of the tree. With this method you keep the structure and support of the basket without the potential of girdling the large shallow roots.

robert payer
07-15-2002, 08:37 AM

Always find my self agreeing with your opinions. This week I am going to sit down and do a search on your past posts. Sure that I will learn alot of good stuff. Always enjoy your views. Are you a landscaper or resident horticulturalist of an institution of some sort? How Many years have you been in the industry? Sorry about so many questions. You are always of so much help and it raises curiousity. We all new Eric Elm despite the fact that we may have never meet him. His profile around Lawnsite just allowed you to better understand who he was and what he was all about. What opportunity he shared with us all. Lanelle you contribute to make our community here a always better! Have a great week at work.

07-15-2002, 09:58 AM
Like others... we leave the basket on. On larger trees (where the baskets are found) it's very difficult to remove the basket and keep the fragile root ball in tact. You'll break apart all the fibrous roots moving the ball around so much. As well, if you need to reposition the tree after you've removed the basket... you're done.

After untying the lacing, we cut back the burlap. If we remembered our bolt cutters we'll remove the top 1/3 or 1/4 of the basket. Often times though we simply bend the four loops down so they don't poke up through the soil later on.

We back fill the tree with mycorrizae after we double check where the root flare is located in the root ball. We've found some root flares 8" into the ball. Had to lift the tree back out of the hole to raise it up. Had we removed the wire cage - we wouldn't have been able to do this.

07-15-2002, 05:42 PM
Here in Southern California all our trees are grown in 5 and 15 gallon plastic containers, and 24", 36", 48", and 60" wood boxes. All portions of the boxes are removed.

07-15-2002, 05:47 PM
striaght from the book of Arboriculture 3rd edition, Integrated Management of Landscape Trees, Shrubs, and Vines. page 227.- Removing the wire from around the the top 200 to 300 mm (8 to 12 in. ) of the root ball (depending on size) would be wise for most landscape trees.
Futher down on the page-Remove the wire from the top of the root ball and fold back the burlap from around the trunk and the top of the root mass as long as the root ball stays firmly together. Cut off the loose burlap or fold it down to be buried when the rest of the fill is added.
Now to a handout from my professor- Tree Care Industry-September 1998- Page 11, The wire basket has been a raging controversy in our industry for years. Research at the University of Guelph in Canada examined what happens when a root hits the wire. Sometimes it bisects it. The root devides and grows around the wire, then reconnects on the other side.
What concerns me is at the top of the wire basket. As we get the word out about drainage and planting trees in shallower holes , we're left with the loops on the top of many of the production baskets at the surface level. We backfill over the top and some of the large roots grow through and girdle .
Girdling Roots- Roots that grow around the trunk or other roots in a circular manner, constricting other roots or restricting trunk growth.

07-15-2002, 07:02 PM
We don't remove the baskets. We do remove the top layer of rope and burlap. Over the years as wire baskets have evolved and manufactures have learned baskets have changed. in the late 60's and early 70's they where making them with high nickle wire so they wouldn't rust away, now they are being made so they rust faster. Most baskets we see now start to break down thier welds after 6 months exposer to weather.

One item we are seeing less and less of are the green burlap , or treated rot pruf burlap. This I think was a major los of plant material due to the chemicals used. We have dug up plants installed with it and have still found it intact.

robert payer
07-15-2002, 11:54 PM
What is mycorrizae?

Thank You

07-16-2002, 01:36 PM

Mycorrizae is a fungus that lives naturally in the soil. The fungus has a symbiotic relationship with the fibrous roots on plants - as the fungus breaks down the organic matter for the plants and makes it available for root uptake. The fungus essentially dwells on the tips of the fibrous roots.

Mycorrizae occurs naturally in the envrionment- however, in our landscapes our new beds or planting areas may be sterile or may not have a large enough quantity of mycorrizae.

Essentially the commercial product is a bio-root stimulant which is added to your back fill. It encourages more rapid and healthy root development on your plants. It does not work on certain plants, such as the eracacea (spelling?) family of plants - rhododendron, azalea, holly, pierris, etc.

It's not cheap - but is well worth it. It helps to reduce call backs because your plants will establish/transplant better than if you simply installed and watered.

Check out this website....