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Barrett Landscaping
06-13-2011, 07:40 PM
I am looking to expand into doing more planting and hope to get some pointers on how to properly install "balled" plants. I have a client looking to have a row of viburnum installed and any advise would be appreciated. :usflag:

93Chevy
06-13-2011, 07:45 PM
Dig a hole (after properly amending the soil if necessary), put the plant in to the bottom of the trunk, and pack the dirt back around the ball.

You need to open the burlap from the top of the plant, and you can remove it from the entire ball, unless the ball appears to be brittle. You cannot let the ball break apart.

Barrett Landscaping
06-13-2011, 08:04 PM
okay, thats what i was basically thinking. i assume that i remove the cage?

93Chevy
06-13-2011, 08:05 PM
okay, thats what i was basically thinking. i assume that i remove the cage?

If they're caged, don't remove the cage.

Barrett Landscaping
06-13-2011, 08:17 PM
ok... i think somewhere i heard that you could open up the top but just want to check

93Chevy
06-13-2011, 08:28 PM
ok... i think somewhere i heard that you could open up the top but just want to check

Depends on the structure of the ball...if you feel the ball will collapse or crumble, you cannot remove the burlap any further than the top.

lukemelo216
06-13-2011, 08:37 PM
Dig the hole so that it is two times the size of the ball across. So if the ball measures 20" from side to side, the hole should be 40" from side to side. Measure the ball from top to bottom, subtract 2" and thats the depth. You want the root flare (where the trunk starts to flare out into roots) to be right at the surface. Maybe sticking up just slightly, but not a real lot. Make sure too to remove the soil in the root ball away from the root flare about 3-4" or so. Then we cut off the wire basket entirely and the burlap entirely. Then we backfill with a mix of organic soil and the soil that we dug out from the hole. We usually mix it 50/50. But its actually mixed together not just a few scoops of one a few of the other. We fill the hole up so that its completely level with the ground, not built up around the base of the tree. usually when we back fill, we backfill half way, then water the tree in heavily to allow the soil to settle and pack in. Then fill the other half up. Then it gets mulched. When we mulch we do 3-4" of mulch and you never build it up like a volcano around the base of the tree. You want it to be more of a rounded build up and then it all slopes down towards the trunk of the tree.

Here is a good example. I do some of the same things they do, some I do differently.

http://www.caseytrees.org/planting/resources/fact-sheets/documents/HowToPlantaTree.pdf

on this site you will get so many different opinions on the way to plant trees, and half the people say keep the basket and burlap, blah blah blah, but if you look on any horticulture universities website its all the same, that method i described above.

If we use an auger to drill holes, we will drill multiple to form the hole and then we rough up the edges so the roots have an easier area to expand into. We try to avoid staking trees if we can, its really not the best for it. But some trees you just have to. if theres a lot of other trees or building blocking the wind from that new tree dont stake it, but if its in a wide open yard with no protection stake it up

Barrett Landscaping
06-13-2011, 09:03 PM
thanks chevy and luke for the advise!

Smallaxe
06-13-2011, 11:51 PM
Do not plant recently balled plants this time of year... Not even in Wisco... What kind of soil is in the ball? Do you know? Don't remove the cage? :laugh:

Good luck with that...

Get Some...
06-14-2011, 07:52 AM
Do not forget to pack the backfill well, so there is no air trapped, air on the root's is not good.

lukemelo216
06-19-2011, 08:31 PM
when we plant trees or shrubs we usually a break up the ball a little (smaller potted plants and small b/b shrubs) and take a shovel and break up the ball slightly on trees. this shocks the roots and it forces them to grow faster. Done it a lot in the past 3 years since I discovered the technique and its done great.

back filling half way, then filling the hole with water is the best way to compact the soil. we will backfill, 1/2 way, then fill the hole with water. we have a big water tank with a pump and 2" fire hose so the water fills up quickly before it has time to settle. Then wait a little usually 10-15 minutes (great if you have other trees becasue you can just keep moving and planting and have a guy thats watering). By the time your done planting then all the water has settled and you can finish back filling and mulching. We usually add some fertilizer packs to the soil as well (usually a few packs that help promote root growth) and then another slow release fertilizer for the tree.

Smallaxe
06-20-2011, 09:03 AM
when we plant trees or shrubs we usually a break up the ball a little (smaller potted plants and small b/b shrubs) and take a shovel and break up the ball slightly on trees. this shocks the roots and it forces them to grow faster. Done it a lot in the past 3 years since I discovered the technique and its done great.

back filling half way, then filling the hole with water is the best way to compact the soil. we will backfill, 1/2 way, then fill the hole with water. we have a big water tank with a pump and 2" fire hose so the water fills up quickly before it has time to settle. Then wait a little usually 10-15 minutes (great if you have other trees becasue you can just keep moving and planting and have a guy thats watering). By the time your done planting then all the water has settled and you can finish back filling and mulching. We usually add some fertilizer packs to the soil as well (usually a few packs that help promote root growth) and then another slow release fertilizer for the tree.

It is your watering in technique that gets you great success, not breaking up the root ball with a shovel... Using water to remove the air is almost foolproof, compared to stomping, and ensuring it recieves enough water to overcome transplant shock and start transpiring again, is the goal...

potted plants that have become root bound with circling root need to be cut with a shovel, for that reason, not for shock value... b&b has just gone through all the shock you could possibly imagine and the root ball is actually loosened in the sense that you plant it 2" above the soil line so it settles back to ground level...

Kiril
06-20-2011, 10:24 AM
Break up the root ball on every plant out with exception to plants with very few fine roots (like many annuals). Don't amend your fill soil with organics or anything else other than nutrient additions (like bone meal) that were hopefully determined by a soil test.

White Gardens
06-20-2011, 10:55 AM
I'd get rid of the cage.

It seems like most companies have switched to a galvanized steel cage that doesn't want to break down, so I remove them every time.

93Chevy
06-20-2011, 05:18 PM
I'd get rid of the cage.

It seems like most companies have switched to a galvanized steel cage that doesn't want to break down, so I remove them every time.

I can't seem to figure out a way to remove a cage from a 3" tree without totally destroying the ball...which I'm told isn't good in that case.


But then again, I might be totally wrong. I thought the bigger the tree, the more important it was for the root ball to stay intact.

And I understand the original question was posed to balled plants not trees, however I think the concept is pretty similar.

Cam.at.Heritage
06-20-2011, 05:39 PM
I have always been told to remove the cage IF POSSIBLE. Depending on when the tree was dug and how long its been in the cage it can be tough without disturbing the roots. Basically you want to try and remove as much of the burlap and cage and you feel is safe.

Also on large trees and shrubs we always use a root stimulator/ transplant fertilizer so try and force as many new roots as possible.

Other then that be sure to stake trees is possible and water.... but don't over water.

Good Luck
Cam

phasthound
06-20-2011, 05:49 PM
I think more and more recent research has shown that breaking up the root ball invigorates root growth. One seminar I attended last year the research team recommended washing all soil from saplings up to 3" caliper trees, then planting at the proper depth with no staking. They documented better survival rates and reduced stress with this technique.

Barrett Landscaping
06-20-2011, 06:28 PM
thanks for the info everyone! my first extensive ball planting job was very straight forward and easy with this info.

White Gardens
06-20-2011, 09:13 PM
I can't seem to figure out a way to remove a cage from a 3" tree without totally destroying the ball...which I'm told isn't good in that case.


But then again, I might be totally wrong. I thought the bigger the tree, the more important it was for the root ball to stay intact.

And I understand the original question was posed to balled plants not trees, however I think the concept is pretty similar.

You've just got to be careful. I agree though, if there is any question as to weather or not the root ball you have will fall apart then it would be wise to stay on the side of caution and leave the cage.

I just get the ball in the hole and start breaking the cage with a giant pair of pliers. I then rock the ball one way or another to get the bottom section broke apart.

It's tedious, but I feel it worth it. Now, as to the burlap, I've always taken that off too, but, the last few trees I've planted have been sitting in the lot for a while and the burlap had broken down and started to fall apart. In that case to protect the ball, I'll just keep the burlap on.

Smallaxe
06-21-2011, 07:21 AM
I think more and more recent research has shown that breaking up the root ball invigorates root growth. One seminar I attended last year the research team recommended washing all soil from saplings up to 3" caliper trees, then planting at the proper depth with no staking. They documented better survival rates and reduced stress with this technique.

So are you saying that as you are taking off the cage and removing the burlap, the whole root ball crumbles away, that it may actually be better?

MTG
06-21-2011, 10:53 PM
Green side up. That's the most important rule. Seriously, go to the ISA (International Society of Arboriculture) website and get the info on planting. The stuff people are suggesting to you is just plain wrong. We plant several thousand plants a year and our loss rate is just about zero. Good luck.

Greenery
06-22-2011, 05:45 PM
Do not plant recently balled plants this time of year... Not even in Wisco... What kind of soil is in the ball? Do you know? Don't remove the cage? :laugh:

Good luck with that...
c'mon really? So what do you suggest to do? Have all landscapers take the summer off? You're really killing me with some of your posts.
Posted via Mobile Device

Smallaxe
06-23-2011, 09:36 AM
c'mon really? So what do you suggest to do? Have all landscapers take the summer off? You're really killing me with some of your posts.
Posted via Mobile Device

Get potted plants, not balled...

or

...take the summer off if can't keep the plantings alive... If you're not even removing the cages or undoing the burlap, how long will it take for the roots to get out into the surrounding soil for water? How do you keep the inside of the ball wet, when burlap will shed more water than it will let in?

PerfectEarth
06-23-2011, 09:46 AM
Smallaxe...If a tree is dug for sale in the winter/early spring and delivered to a nursery and healed in, it is perfectly acceptable to buy that tree and plant it in the Summer. How many 2.5-3" container trees (maple, oak, etc) are you going to find out there? Not many.

I've planted hundreds of B&B hardwoods in the dead of summer (most with roots going crazy thru the burlap- just by being healed in for a few months) and there have been no problems. Plant em properly and keep the h2o flowing as needed.

Smallaxe
06-23-2011, 10:54 AM
Smallaxe...If a tree is dug for sale in the winter/early spring and delivered to a nursery and healed in, it is perfectly acceptable to buy that tree and plant it in the Summer. How many 2.5-3" container trees (maple, oak, etc) are you going to find out there? Not many.

I've planted hundreds of B&B hardwoods in the dead of summer (most with roots going crazy thru the burlap- just by being healed in for a few months) and there have been no problems. Plant em properly and keep the h2o flowing as needed.

I would agree, If that is what you are working with, then it is the same as a potted plant...

I'm talking about trees balled and burlap when they are ordered... an instant transplant, in other words...

PerfectEarth
06-23-2011, 11:13 AM
I would agree, If that is what you are working with, then it is the same as a potted plant...

I'm talking about trees balled and burlap when they are ordered... an instant transplant, in other words...

Gotcha......

mdlwn1
06-23-2011, 11:31 AM
Lol...I wasn't aware there are nurseries that would dig/ball/burlap on demand for an order...without 6 months or so notice.....again.....lol

Darryl G
06-23-2011, 12:13 PM
Seems like plenty of conflicting opinions already but I try to leave the ball intact and just cut the top of the cage off and peel the burlap down a bit. Some plants that have been handled a lot can have a lot of loose dirt on the bottom...kinda reminds me of a loaded diaper, lol...it can make you think you need a deeper hole than you really do.

PerfectEarth
06-23-2011, 02:40 PM
Lol...I wasn't aware there are nurseries that would dig/ball/burlap on demand for an order...without 6 months or so notice.....again.....lol

Actually there are. Two of them in my area right off the top of my head. And a good buddy of mine has a large field in trees- he can dig and plant for himself or sell whenever he wants. Yea, there are bad times to do it, but the availability is out there.

Candrews
06-23-2011, 04:29 PM
B&B trees are usually dug at nurseries when they are dormant. Late winter, early spring or after leaf drop in the fall. These are the safe times to dig. Some growers will summer dig but they usually drench the tree prior with a product to reduce the stress. These trees will often experience leaf drop but usually survive. I would recommend getting in the habit of using a planting product like PHC Tree Saver or Roots 1-Step when you plant any time of the year. These products reduce the chance of transplant shock and provide the micro nutrients needed to get the plant off to the start. Leave the cage and the burlap on the tree. The last thing you want to happen is to have the root ball fall apart. Remove the twine that is tied and the trunk of the tree and fold the burlap down to expose the top of the root ball. Cut the cage from around the top but leave it on the bottom of the root ball. Do all this after you have placed the tree in the hole. One of the most important things when planting a tree is NOT planting it too deep. Make sure the tree is a couple inches above the soil line. With container plants you want to break up the root system to prevent the plant from becoming root bound.

Smallaxe
06-23-2011, 07:16 PM
B&B trees are usually dug at nurseries when they are dormant. Late winter, early spring or after leaf drop in the fall. These are the safe times to dig. Some growers will summer dig but they usually drench the tree prior with a product to reduce the stress. These trees will often experience leaf drop but usually survive. I would recommend getting in the habit of using a planting product like PHC Tree Saver or Roots 1-Step when you plant any time of the year. These products reduce the chance of transplant shock and provide the micro nutrients needed to get the plant off to the start. Leave the cage and the burlap on the tree. The last thing you want to happen is to have the root ball fall apart. Remove the twine that is tied and the trunk of the tree and fold the burlap down to expose the top of the root ball. Cut the cage from around the top but leave it on the bottom of the root ball. Do all this after you have placed the tree in the hole. One of the most important things when planting a tree is NOT planting it too deep. Make sure the tree is a couple inches above the soil line. With container plants you want to break up the root system to prevent the plant from becoming root bound.

I agree with all that, but I would like to add that one big problem of NOT opening the top, at least, is the inability to water the root ball... Also, as the tree grows, there is evidence that the wire cage, even just the bottom half interferes with root growth even as a wire tied around a branch would inhibit healthy growth of that branch... :)

avguy
06-24-2011, 05:03 PM
I just planted 6 white pines. Each had a root ball I'm guessing between 200-300lbs. The Lesco guys said to just pull back the burlap & leave the cage intact. That's what I did so we'll see.....

On a side note I did use tree gators on them. When they're not full of water they pretty much cover the top portion of the ball. I couldn't help but wonder if that would inhibit the rain from getting to the roots?

phasthound
06-24-2011, 05:33 PM
So are you saying that as you are taking off the cage and removing the burlap, the whole root ball crumbles away, that it may actually be better?

In that study they actually washed all soil from the roots and bare root planted them. They showed that the root system produced new feeder roots faster than other planting techniques.

I fully understand why this method would not be considered by most landscapers. OTHO, most landscapers plant trees in such a way that sets trees up for failure.

Go to: http://www.treesaregood.com/treecare/tree_planting.aspx for good advice on proper tree planting.

andyslawncare
06-25-2011, 11:29 PM
Balled plants during the fall only. Container plants all year. You can remove the cage if the roots can handle it, you can peel back the top of the burlap so it is hidden, dig a wide hole, no deeper than the ball. The top of the ball should be level with the ground or .5'' above ground, no more, no less.

Rick111
06-26-2011, 08:37 AM
I can't seem to figure out a way to remove a cage from a 3" tree without totally destroying the ball...which I'm told isn't good in that case.


But then again, I might be totally wrong. I thought the bigger the tree, the more important it was for the root ball to stay intact.

And I understand the original question was posed to balled plants not trees, however I think the concept is pretty similar.

I cut off the bottom of the cage a couple of inches up before the tree is put in the hole. After it is lifted into the hole and straightened, backfilled enough to hold tree straight, you can cut the cage vertically and remove it by circling the tree so to speak. This has worked well for me although some rootballs just break apart easily.

capetrees
06-26-2011, 09:23 AM
Everything lukemelo216 has told you is correct and the rest you can discard. No, I don't know him but I have been in this business for 23 years and have planted everything out there, potted, spaded, bagged and bound, and find that what luke is telling you is correct.

Get the cages off, regardless of how big the tree/bush is. Get as much of the burlap off as possible, all of it if its the nylon/polyester bag. (it never rots away) As described in the previous post, cut off the bottom of the cage as you are lifting/placing the ball in the hole. At the same time, cut out the bottom of the burlap. Straighten the tree/bush then cut the cage away and the burlap away in a vertical fashion. If the ball starts the break away, immediately bacfill and pack tight as if you were applying pressure to a wound. Tight soil around the very bottom is good to retain moisture, less tight as you rise up the ball. Water in to almost sopping wet. The tree/bush is looking for a constant supply of water and without the feeder roots yet developed, any and all water is appreciated by the plant. Stake if needed. Mulch can come later after the tree has settled in and fertilizer is to be used sparingly at first so as not to shock the plant.

Smallaxe
06-26-2011, 10:46 AM
In that study they actually washed all soil from the roots and bare root planted them. They showed that the root system produced new feeder roots faster than other planting techniques.

I fully understand why this method would not be considered by most landscapers. OTHO, most landscapers plant trees in such a way that sets trees up for failure.

Go to: http://www.treesaregood.com/treecare/tree_planting.aspx for good advice on proper tree planting.

This site didn't really say anything about "Barerooting" a B&B...

I personally use water to settle in the soil and remove air pockets by flooding the hole they're in for 3 days staight, rather than 'packing' the dirt around the rootball which in a heavier soil will actually create air pockets, if it is not completely pulverized... the 'flooding' scenario is essentially foolproof, especially if it can be followed up for 2 more days...

nightshutter
06-26-2011, 11:53 AM
This thread is either really funny or confusing

phasthound
06-26-2011, 03:02 PM
This site didn't really say anything about "Barerooting" a B&B...


Right, I should said "Barerooting a B&B like the study I mentioned has not been substantially tested in the field, and no long term studies have been completed to determine if this is good practice. The following link http://www.treesaregood.com/treecare/tree_planting.aspx is the approved method recommended by the International Society of Arboriculture."

I will stress this statement from that link:
2.Identify the trunk flare. The trunk flare is where the roots spread at the base of the tree. This point should be partially visible after the tree has been planted (see diagram). If the trunk flare is not partially visible, you may have to remove some soil from the top of the root ball. Find it so you can determine how deep the hole needs to be for proper planting.
Too many trees are planted too deeply.

Showpropserv
06-26-2011, 03:47 PM
personally the company I work for we cut the rope bend back the wire on top and cut the top of the bag off. Since the time I have worked there no trees have died and are growing great. Mostly 15ft maples

Isobel
06-27-2011, 12:29 AM
around here, take the burlap off, pull the cage back, pull the roots and cut some of them so new roots will grow. backfill the hole with existing soil and amendments. In a nutshell.