what would you bid?I NEED YOUR HELP!!!

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by joeycats, Feb 28, 2005.

  1. joeycats

    joeycats LawnSite Member
    Posts: 46

    Here is the job. It is a new house with no lawn.

    The back yard, where they want to put their money first is a total of 11072 square feet.
    1. The ground is rough and not a smooth surface. Should I knock all the high spots level and then put 2 inches of good top soil on top before seeding?
    This is one part of the job part A

    Part B
    Along the perimeter of the back yard they need tall coverage because they have a major highway behind them. The perimeter where they want the trees is 275 feet long.
    I was thinking of using blue spruces to use as cover.

    My questions for all of you guys with more experience than me is, (I will have to rent all big machinery for this job..i.e. kubota)

    1.where would you start on this job?
    2. what type of evergreens are best for a northeast climate and providing coverage from the highway?
    3. How far apart should the centers of spruce or similar tree be from each other?
    4.What would you charge?

    Thanks eveyone!!!
  2. mcclureandson

    mcclureandson LawnSite Member
    Posts: 242

    Not trying to be difficult, but I think most here would agree this might be too big a job for your level of experience. There's nothing wrong with learning (some) as you go along, but if you aren't sure about HOW to do a job, WHAT type of materials to use and HOW MUCH to charge there is a problem. Good luck, but perhaps you should start with something smaller...having said that, it's usually easier and more cost-efficient to amend the existing soil instead of bringing in new stuff, fine grading must take place before sod/seed and there are any number of spruce varieties that would suffice (take into account exposure, site conditions, price etc) and how much $$$$ to charge depends entirely on how much its going to cost YOU to do this job and how much profit you want to make after that...different for everyone.
  3. Smithers

    Smithers LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,265

    i hate to say it, but i kind of agree with mcclureandson....

    renting a machine is the easy part (kubota is an overkill. i'd get a skid steer). the dirt spreading is not going to be much and it will be easy too. however, if you need to fine grade it, that will require some time. this sounds like a large house and the people will not be happy with lumps and divets and valleys in their back yard. fine grading will require some skill (with the steer)....it's one thing to spread some dirt around. but it's another to make it look like it was there forever.

    as to what to plant....talk to your nurseries. they know best. i heard the spruces are having all kinds of problems these days and they are dying from the bottom up. at least in our state.

    maybe you want to sub contract the job. or do it in stages. good luck.
  4. joeycats

    joeycats LawnSite Member
    Posts: 46

    Thanks for the replies guys. This job is big, maybe too big, but they want it done in stages, with the trees first. I nead to learn. I have done the work before as a foreman but never estimated out job costs.

    Here is what I am thinking, Blue Spruces, I can get them from a local nursery 6' high for $80 bucks a piece. I have 275' of perimeter to cover.

    How far apart should the holes be dug and how deep and wided for a 6' high spruce?

    As for the lawn I do not need to fine grade it, that was done by the excavtor.

    Would I be able to dig the holes for the trees with a skid steer?
  5. Smithers

    Smithers LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,265

    yeah, the skid steers have an auger atachment, about $30-$50 extra.....how will you plant the trees? they are really heavy and hard to manuever.

    be careful...large jobs that you are not prepared for will leave a sour taste in your mouth for a long time...
  6. joeycats

    joeycats LawnSite Member
    Posts: 46

    Here is my plan of attack for the trees:

    *The nursery will delivery the trees to the jobsite and unload them. I need a cost on that after I figure out how many spruces I will need.

    *I need to figure out how far apart to dig the holes in order to get a number on the trees.

    *After they are deliverd, or before is better, I will dig the holes spaced apart correctly. I will use the skid steer to move the trees next to the holes. I have one worker, so between the two of us could we by hand move it in the hole? Or should we use the skid steer?

    Also I am proficient with a Kubota as that is what I operated to put in new lawns for the company I used to work for. I am not familiar with the skid steer but that does not deter me. I am good with the Kubota and am confident with a little tweaking I could figure out the skid steer.

    Should I give a gaurantee for the trees?

    I appreciate all your help fellas. Thanks for helping learn. I have a wife and a new house to support now and I have to make my company succed. Thats why I am online doping the research. Thanks again! :D
  7. Smithers

    Smithers LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,265

    well, the trees are really heavy. a 8-10 foot tree has a huge root ball and can weight 300-500 lbs...a bob cat will be ok to move it around, but i think you might need another guy or two to help you out. you can hire day day laborers..

    also, the trees are about $200 each...the nursery will tell you how many you can put and how far apart.

    usually, companies charge 3 times the amount it costs incase they need to come out and replace it. imagine the cost that you will aquire if you need to come out and replace it. you need to rent a chainsaw, cut the tree, haul it, then take the root ball out of the ground...

    275' of trees will cost a fortune. even if you need 25 trees, that's 25*$550 (or so) = almost $14G's....crazy...just for the trees. maybe you should plant something else.

    you will require to give out warranties...otherwise, they will go with somone else.

    If i were you (i dont have equipment), but i'd sub it and make money by watching...

    you can ask them if they want warranty, i guess.

    if the soil is not that hard, you can dig the holes by hand...not that hard. but if it's clay, i'd get the auger.

    skid steer is faster and easier, i think.

    good luck.
  8. joeycats

    joeycats LawnSite Member
    Posts: 46

    George, you are a wealth of knowledge and I appreciate it.

    You are right, 14k is alot of money for them to cough up.

    Is there a shrub that can be planted among the trees for structural diversity and a more complete barrier. Many shrubs reach sufficient heights to be effective visual screens, but which ones?
    I found this article , I found it extrmely informative.

    Establishment of Vegetative Screens and Windbreaks
    Vegetative screens create a pleasing environment for visitors by blocking unattractive views and reducing noise levels. This is especially desirable in areas where housing developments and businesses on nearby properties disrupt the recreational or historic scene. Most screens need to be planted, but some are often already partially present in the form of areas that have seeded in naturally with forest or fence-row vegetation. Shrub and tree barriers can also act as windbreaks, deflecting wind upward and reducing its velocity for short distances. Windbreaks also reduce blowing snow, protect living and working areas, improve working conditions, reduce wind damage, and control snow drifts.
    Barriers will be established quicker and more easily in the sun, since most species recommended for screening grow best in full sun. Species selection should be based on site conditions such as available sunlight, soil drainage, soil moisture, and soil chemical properties. In addition to matching the site characteristics, several other traits are desirable for barrier plants:

    high survival rates, cold and drought hardiness, pest resistance, adaptability to poor soil, a fast growth rate, and a crown form suitable for a barrier. Shrubs can be planted among the trees for structural diversity and a more complete barrier. Many shrubs reach sufficient heights to be effective visual screens. Height, rate of growth, and foliage characteristics are the principal considerations for selecting windbreak species. Appendix III lists native deciduous and evergreen shrubs and small trees with dense foliage that may be used for screens. Appendix IV lists native species commonly used for windbreaks. Species should be selected from these lists with the use of a plant hardiness zone map to determine their suitability to the local climate. Evergreens are excellent as barriers because of their year-round foliage and high-density crowns (Figure 6). Combinations of both deciduous and evergreen species are commonly used for barriers though, for several reasons. Many trees self-prune as they mature; a shrub row will maintain the density of the barrier when trees are planted that will not provide low-level density once they mature. Aesthetic beauty and diversity of wildlife food and cover are additional benefits of combined plantings.

    The location of visual or noise barriers will be dictated by where the developments are in relation to visitor areas and interpretive or historical sites. Windbreak location should be carefully planned, however, to ensure that the barrier functions as intended. Windbreaks must be located to provide maximum protection and oriented perpendicular to the prevailing wind or the direction of troublesome winds from seasonal storms. For wind protection, the tallest row of trees should be placed approximately 2-5 times the height of the trees from the areas needing protection. The windbreak should extend 50-100 ft. beyond the areas needing protection. The density of the windbreak is determined by the width of the windbreak in number of rows, species selection, and within-the-row tree spacing. Where only wind protection is needed, a single row of coniferous species could provide the density needed. The recommended minimum is two rows of different species to minimize the impact of insect or disease infestations. Shorter trees and shrubs should always be located in the outer rows of barriers, to allow them adequate sunlight and room to grow.

    Before planting, site preparation is necessary. Shallow plowing breaks up sod formations and populations of weeds, loosens soil, and provides better soil-moisture retention. Planting methods for screens and windbreaks are the same as those for planting most seedlings and shrubs. Figure 7 illustrates the proper method of planting bare root tree seedlings. Never allow the roots to dry out by exposing them to wind and sun. Plant on cool days in the fall through early spring, ideally when rain is expected soon. Otherwise, expect to water the plants for a few weeks until the roots get established and/or it rains. Planting dormant seedlings will prevent them from being too stressed by the move. Spacing will depend on the size of the plants; consult with the nursery where purchasing seedlings to learn specific spacings for the species.

    In general, plant small, bare-root seedlings 3 to 6 ft. apart. When planting multiple rows, offset the seedlings between rows to prevent gaps in the barrier. One row of trees should be planted close enough to form a complete barrier within 10 years. Imagine how the trees will fill in as they grow, perhaps finding some in the understory of the forest for examples, using this information to adjust spacing. Plant larger, more expensive trees and shrubs close to their final mature spacing to avoid thinning. If larger trees are to be used for planting, select balled and burlapped trees over those in containers as the root mass in the balls contains a few days of moisture, unlike those grown in potting material, and the root systems are much less disturbed in the planting process. When planting balled and burlapped trees (Figure 8), or those recently removed from a container, consider the following steps from the International Society of Arboriculture:

    Dig a large planting hole, only as deep as the root ball but as wide as possible, at least twice as wide as the root ball.
    Prune any injured roots or branches to a point just in front of the injury.
    Break up the soil you take out of the hole and use it to refill. Also, break up the soil around the planting hole. Do not fertilize until the plant is well established. Soil amendments are not recommended.
    Place the tree in the hole by lifting by the root ball. Adjust the level of the tree so that the root collar is at the soil surface (be aware that the burlap may be tied higher than the root collar). Remove all accessible burlap.
    Fill the hole gently with soil, settling the soil with water to remove air pockets around the roots. Do not use your feet to tamp, as it will compact the soil and inhibit root growth.
    Stake the tree if it is too tall to stand alone or has a weak root system. Remove the stakes as soon as the tree has become established in the soil; stakes should not be left in place for more than a year.
    Mulch around the base of the tree to conserve soil moisture, prevent weed competition, and protect newly-planted tree roots from temperature extremes. Maintain mulch to prevent damage to the tree stem from mowers or weed whackers.
    Water at least once a week if the weather is dry to keep the soil moist but not soaked. Continue until mid-fall, then taper off to allow the tree to begin to grow dormant for winter. Be prepared to also water during dry periods the following year.
    The costs of establishing vegetative screens will vary with species and size of plants purchased; contact nurseries for estimated costs of plant materials. Monitor the trees monthly after planting to make sure they are well-established before the dry, hot months arrive, and replace any that die as early as possible to maintain the density of the screen or windbreak. Weed control will be necessary until canopy closure to prevent herbaceous competition from slowing the growth of the barrier plantings. Herbicides and tillage are common methods of weed control (Table 3); mulching and mowing can also be used. As the plants mature, their crowns should intersect and begin to crowd each other. Insect and disease outbreaks should also be watched for and treated if necessary. It will take several years for the newly planted screens and windbreaks to be effective. As they age, occasional careful thinnings of a few individuals, those that appear unhealthy or are suppressed, will improve the growth of the remaining plants and keep them healthy and vigorous.
  9. mcclureandson

    mcclureandson LawnSite Member
    Posts: 242

    As for the lawn I do not need to fine grade it, that was done by the excavtor.

    Would I be able to dig the holes for the trees with a skid steer?[/QUOTE]

    You WILL need to fine grade it...especially after running a skid-steer back and forth to plant the trees. I've never seen an excavator leave a perfect finished grade suitable for seed/sod either...

    The spacing of the trees has nothing to do with their size at planting, base it on their MATURE height (ask the nursery).

    Also, I wouldn't dig that many holes by hand. My .02
  10. Smithers

    Smithers LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,265

    i agree...after writing that, i realized that it's useless to have the equipment right there and not try to use it.

    as for knowleadge....thanks. :blush: ...it's not really that much experience. i just try to envision what i would do if i was in your shoes, and go from there...

    go to Barnes and Noble. their gardening section has a book with your vegetation that grows well in your area...buy it if you get the job, go to the clients and show them a few pictures. before hand pick a few that you think will do the job. talk to the nursery and see if there are any problems with some of those trees/bushes. sometimes the book does not tell you the most important thing....

    example, Hemlocks will not do well next to car exhausts, they will die in a few years. the book will never tell you that...yet, they are awesome in preventing noise barrier..go figure.

    i agree with the fine grading. you will have to probably do it all over again. at least where you went with the equipment. do a lot of research before even bidding, ok?

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