View Full Version : planting trees

03-30-2003, 02:16 PM
I went on a sales call yesterday and left with a big smile on my face. A good customer wanted a bunch of stuff done, but one of the items left me wondering.

Plant about 15 kwanzan cherry trees. 8 - 10 foot tall. Trees are about $125 each. The nursery will deliver any order over $1,000. The problem I have is that the area the trees are to be planted in is almost completely rock. We had planted 1 tree of the same size last year in the same location (they are going around 1 side of a U driveway.) Last year when we planted the 1 tree, it took 2 guys, 2 days just to dig the hole by hand.

How would you go about doing this job, and how would you charge for it?

03-30-2003, 03:49 PM
I don't know what the site looks like, but a carefully designed berm might be an option. Opening the door for some other plantings as well. Otherwise a machine w/ auger attachment and someone with a shale bar to pull out and chip away the rocks and rock fragments when the auger stops penetrating. A little auger a little chipping a little auger etc....its what we do. And yes it can get expensive and time consuming. An out line of flowering cherry sounds pretty nice. The result will be quite a nice installation for pictures of spring color for your portfolio.
Time and Materials.

03-30-2003, 04:21 PM
This is the way I was thinking of doing it, but I wanted to get some opinions first.

Get a small excavator with a regular bucket
Get a small excavator with a rock hammer
Get a bobcat loader for moving the rock into the back yard to dump.

Dig a bit with the excavator until I hit rock, switch to the rock hammer, pound the rock away, dig more, hammer, etc. Plant the trees using the excavator w/ bucket. I was thinking $600 per day for each excavator and $400 per day for the skid steer. So I figure about $2,200 for the machines. $2,600 for the trees. Then 2 guys for 2 days so ~ $1,000. Then a few yards of top soil and seed, so ~$300.00 That brings me out to about $6,100.00

How does that sound?

03-30-2003, 06:32 PM
This sounds like a big, expensive mess. And what are the roots going to grow into? It also sounds like drainage will be a problem. A berm might be the solution, that is your call. But I sure would not chisel trees into the ground.

03-30-2003, 06:44 PM
There is some soil in the mix. It's a lot of ledge rock mixed in with soil.

03-30-2003, 06:44 PM
Depending on what type of rock you are talking about. Is it very large rocks that have to be dug out individually? If it is a bunch of smaller sized rocks and just hard ground, rent a bobcat with an auger. I live in an area with alot of caves and we have alot of rocky ground. I rent a bobcat with an auger for $150 a day and would have no problems getting all your trees done in a day. I would figure each tree at $300 installed for everything. This is just how I do it and have done alot of work with rocky ground.

03-30-2003, 08:03 PM
These rocks are pretty good in size. I believe their technical term would be boulders.

03-30-2003, 08:31 PM
Hasn't anyone here ever heard of a spoon? These things are awsome - they will dig through anything and the holes turn perfectly round.

I have always heard that it is bad to plant trees with an auger, because it is hard for the roots to penetrate the sides of the hole. Anyway here is the link for the spoon:


Hope this helps.


03-30-2003, 09:34 PM
I don't believe that I'd put myself in the position to warranty these trees if in fact you plant them in rock. If it were me I'd use an excavator to dig up a large enough area for optimal root ball growth and replace w/good topsoil.