Burlap, on or off?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by LawnMtc, Aug 4, 2000.

  1. LawnMtc

    LawnMtc LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    Here is my question. I have planted several bushes lately for customers. I really don't know if I should take the Burlap off or not. I have had mixed replies from the local nurseries.
  2. Evan528

    Evan528 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,144

    i dont take it off. I just cut the top off the root ball free and peel i back. by removing the burlap you risking thr rootball getting damaged or falling apart during planting.
  3. Toddppm

    Toddppm LawnSite Senior Member
    from VA
    Messages: 268

    If the ball will stay together i always take it off, otherwise just cut the top half off. I took a pine tree out one time that was about 12" diameter, fell over in a storm , it never grew major roots out of the burlap, burlap and wire basket were completely intact after about 10 years in the ground!
  4. Evan528

    Evan528 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,144

    oviously the wire wont desinigrate... that has to be removed!
  5. paul

    paul Lawnsite Addict
    Messages: 1,625

    Sorry guys, wire baskets stay on the trees and burlap gets cut from the throats of the tree but still left on the top of the plant. Studys have been done on how long the burlap and baskets last, burlap (untreated) lasts one to two years with major detoration in one year, treated can last up to three years. Wire baskets last five to 10 years but the roots will grow out of them in two years. Problems with plants that don't grow root systems is not because of the basket but the soil around them.

  6. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,492

    The basket should be cut especially around the top or it will choke the tree. The burlap should be scored open with a utility knife such as a banana knife in vertical slits around the bottom and sides to help root expansion. The burlap should also be cut around the top to allow trunk expansion and let water through freely. Just my 2 cents worth. :)
  7. paul

    paul Lawnsite Addict
    Messages: 1,625

    I have yet to see a basket that goes over the top of the root ball.

    A proper basket goes just up to the top of the root ball if they are using over size baskets then i think you might want to find another nursery, or they are undersizing the ball of the tree and still you are not getting the proper basket grip and could have damage done to the root system.
  8. LawnMtc

    LawnMtc LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    Thanks. I usually cut the top off and peel it back a little.I tried taking the wire off one time and it was a pain. I hope my customers bushes don't die because I didn't put any slices in the sides.
  9. GroundKprs

    GroundKprs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,969

    If you have a plant in plastic burlap, then remove the wrap entirely; haven't seen any for years, but have seen quite a few sick plants where it wasn't removed. Wire baskets have been found to girdle roots in larger trees; there are tools to cut basket after placing in planting hole.

    Proper treatment of burlap: since it will act as a wick, drawing moisture out of the root ball environment and evaporating it, you must not have any of the burlap above the soil line. I have always cut it away, or folded it under, so it is at least 2" to 3" underground.
  10. Lanelle

    Lanelle LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,361

    Another reason the burlap should be removed from the trunk of the tree is to prevent moisture from staying around the bark and setting up an environment that promotes rot and borers. The burlap can be spread out from the top of the root ball, covered with dirt and allowed to deteriorate.

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