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do you remove burlap from root balls ?

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by redmax fan, May 17, 2008.

  1. redmax fan

    redmax fan LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,183

    over the past couple years ive bought several 3'/4' white pine trees in the spring to plant in my yard and a few have died so this year i kept the burlap bag wrapped around the root ball (just removed the nails holding bag closed) hoping that by not disturbing the soil packed around the roots the plant shall do better . is this gonna work or do i have to cut down into the soil with a big knife and put some cuts in the burlap ?
  2. sbvfd592

    sbvfd592 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 668

    remove nails cut away wire cage tuck burlap back in hole.
  3. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,742

    White Pines are a really tough transplant because their roots are thin and go a great distance from the tree. The problem is more likely to be from an inadequate root ball than because you left the burlap on. Because of the limited roots, the rootball is likely to really fall apart while you are removing the burlap on a white pine. Make sure that no burlap is left above grade and exposed to the air because it can wick water up and away from the edge of the ball.

    You might be able to get WP at that size in containers. That would be better than b&b for that tree.
  4. daveyo

    daveyo LawnSite Senior Member
    from N.J.
    Posts: 907

    Remove any nails and especially if there is any rope. The new wire cages have big enough gaps between them that it isn't necessary to remove them. It's actually better to keep them on to help keep the root ball together while installing the tree. Cut the burlap 1/3 away from the top of the root ball. I've never had a problem with this method. In the old days when they used chicken wire around the root ball it was extremely important to remove it, now the wire is actually made to be installed.
  5. sbvfd592

    sbvfd592 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 668

    this is when the tree is in the hole and i just away whatever i can reach with bolt cutters
  6. OEY3

    OEY3 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 18

    Frequently when the plants are being dug, soil is inadvertently piled atop the root ball then burlaped.

    I think it is very important to scratch down into that soil to identify where the soil line was when the tree was grown in the field to assure that the new planting height is correct.

    Without doing this you may unknowingly be planting much deeper than the tree is able to tolerate.:nono:
  7. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,776

    Anybody heard of burying a handful of nails when planting a tree??

    Supposedly the nails naturally break down into usable iron that the trees love. Nowadays, people are using nails and wire cages that don't rust or break down very easily. Since that's the case, I remove the cage so the roots eventually don't get big enough and become "girdled" by the cage.

    If you think the cages would rust away fairly quickly, then I leave them.

    A couple of times too, I've bed edged around 3 year old plantings and the wire was still there and made it a pain to edge.

    I go ahead remove the sack also. To me it's like the peat pots you can buy plants in. Supposedly they should break down, but at the end of the growing season in the garden, I can usually point out which plants had the peat pots as they didn't start as well.
  8. dean1130

    dean1130 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 41

    Even though half of the time its hard to take the wire off completely, if you can and keep the ball intact, its recommended to take it off completely. Reason for being is that alot of large tree's later down the road will have failure to to root problems, meaning with the wire basket still on the roots will wrap around the basket and can not move out into the soil. Also known as girdling roots. This practice has been done many times. Something to keep in mind if paying alot for trees.
  9. redmax fan

    redmax fan LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,183

    thanx for all the info everyone .
    concerning the wire theres no wire / baskets
    on these plants , ive been buying them
    from home depots or lowes mostly and the root
    balls are just wrapped in burlap .
    and i didnt add that these root balls are only
    around 18" in diameter which i think is most
    the problem , i wouldnt buy them except im
    only buying in early spring or late fall when
    i can get a 3' / 4' tree at around $25 (cheap around here) which
    has a 1 year warranty . so my attitudes been gamble
    on them and if they dont go can return them .

    and this refered to tree i left the burlap wrapped
    completely on the root ball with the top of ball
    about an inch under soil .

    and im watering them at about 2 gallons every other day for first 2 months ,
    with only one cup of basic fertilizer to start and another in
    say 4 months .
  10. LindblomRJ

    LindblomRJ LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,570

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