Trees: How much time to plant

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by Popsicle, Feb 1, 2004.

  1. Popsicle

    Popsicle LawnSite Member
    Posts: 189

    I have a good client who has asked me to do some planting for them. Most of my work is maintenance and I don't want to underbid the labor.

    I need some input for time it takes to plant 6'-8' evergreens. The soil is heavy clay. Did I mention it's the rainy season?

    Thanks
     
  2. DennisF

    DennisF LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Florida
    Posts: 1,381

    Clay soil is tough to dig planting holes in. Since you are asking about time factors, I'll assume you're going to dig with a spade or pointed shovel and maybe a pick to help loosen things up. A 6'-8' evergreen should be in at least a 50 gallon container or a burlap ball of about 2' diameter. You should dig the hole diameter about twice the diameter of the rootball to allow the tree to take root quicker. If you are digging a hole 2' deep and 4' across in clay soil using a spade and pick I would guess about 1-1 1/2 hours per tree. Believe me...digging manually in clay is back breaking and slow.
     
  3. fcl01

    fcl01 LawnSite Member
    from OHIO
    Posts: 249

    Keep it simple and consistant. For all plantings, I just triple the cost of the tree. If I pay $100, my customer pays $300. Seems to work great for me. And if there is a problem, I'm sure you'll offer a "good client" a warranty of some kind. Triple cost can give you enough to replace the tree if you have to, still make OK money, and keep your good client happy.
     
  4. Pecker

    Pecker LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,454

    fcl, Does you "triple the cost" apply to planting flower beds? I'm not real good at pricing bed work but may need to in the near future. The reason I'm asking about bed work is because if you are installing a new bed, ya have to break ground, remove dirt, build a border, fill it and then plant, etc. Are you simply refering to replanting in an existing bed? Thanks.
     
  5. D Felix

    D Felix LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,898

    I was given a time sheet when I was in my landscape contracting class at Purdue. It had labor times for all sizes of plant material. At first glance, you thought the numbers were WAY high, but then once you start thinking about it, you realize they are probably in-line with where they should be...

    FWIW, IIRC, labor times for a 6 foot evergreen, B&B tree, is about 6 hours...

    Don't forget about travel time, pick up and moving around on site too. That's where the additional time comes into play. It may only take 2 guys an hour to plant it by hand, but the other 4 will be used up by them in the truck on the way to the site, plus loading it at the office/nursery....

    Don't shoot yourself in the foot.


    Dan
     
  6. fcl01

    fcl01 LawnSite Member
    from OHIO
    Posts: 249

    ******; I sometimes have weird pricing ideas that some people don't agree with but I'll help you the best I can.
    I mainly do new lawn/landscape installs so the ground is kinda loose to begin with. I triple cost on all plants. Topsoil, weed fabric, preen, mulch etc. is all seperate. I don't know what equip. you have so I don't know what to tell you for pricing most things. I'll be glad to help you if you wanna tell me what you have to work with.
     
  7. Russ

    Russ LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 539

    Just did 5 last month and DennisF hit my time right on the nose at 1 to 1 1/2 hour per tree. You'll probably want to use a tree cart for material that large. I also had about 5 hours in additional time from travel time to and from the nursery, waiting at the nursery, selecting the trees, and delivery to the job site 30 miles from the nursery. My trees were 24" B&B 6-7' Blue Spruce planted in heavy clay as per DennisF instructions except I planted 4"high or dug the hole 20" deep and 48" wide. By the way, I like your signature.
     
  8. D Felix

    D Felix LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,898

    For those of you still working on mulitpliers ("just double/triple the cost of materials"), find the thread titled "sod bid urgent request", and read it!

    I have a good explanation there as to why you should be doing thing differently!:)


    Dan
     
  9. Popsicle

    Popsicle LawnSite Member
    Posts: 189

    Have you guys heard of NOT doubling the root ball dimensions due to the rain we get up here? I had someone around here tell me that a hole that size is beyond the drip line and collects too much water.
     
  10. fcl01

    fcl01 LawnSite Member
    from OHIO
    Posts: 249

    I don't double the root ball size for the hole. I didn't know anyone did until this thread started. I've always added about 6 to 8 inches to the root ball size.
     

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