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help with pricing tree installs

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by JFGauvreau, Apr 11, 2012.

  1. JFGauvreau

    JFGauvreau LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,298

    I have 45 8 Foot pine trees to plant, the trees will already be drop to the job site, I just need to dig the holes and plant them.

    Trees are like 400$ each, need to come up with a price, not sure where to start.

    I'm going to rent a small excavator, 300$ for the day, do you think I could have time to plant all of those in a day with 1 helper?

    How would you guys bid this?

  2. Dr.NewEarth

    Dr.NewEarth LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,476

    Two to three days in my opinion. They probably have to be staked too.
  3. grandview (2006)

    grandview (2006) LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,465

    Dig all the holes first then go back and plant them,this way your not paying 2 days for rental.
  4. JFGauvreau

    JFGauvreau LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,298

    Holes need to be 3 feet deep by 2 feet wide, I'm guessing around 20mins or so per tree, it depends if the trees will be place all in 1 pile or very close to every hole.

    I also want to use the excavator to back fill and compact a bit.

    Don't think I will need stakes, the tree will already be thick enough, maybe ropes but those trees will be stable in the clay.

    Thanks for your input everyone
  5. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    It doesn't sound like they will be 'watered in', rather packed down in the clay with a backhoe bucket... is there a concern about air pockets in the rootzone?
  6. metro36

    metro36 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,417

    I have never dug that size hole that deep for trees before. Normally a 3' wide, 2' deep hole. We usually fluff up the soil below the bottom but dont remove it. Your root balls may be different though. Either way, I would think it could be done with a skid and an auger. That should be faster than an excavator. Might cost a bit more for the skid, auger and forks but you should finish in one day.

    Once all the holes are dug, use the forks to place each tree. My nursery wont place them right next to each hole, they put them all in one spot or spread them out into a couple of groups. Backfilling shouldnt be too hard as the auger places the dirt in a nice ring around the edge of the hole. Just knock it back in with a shovel or hard rake.
  7. 3rdDayBrad

    3rdDayBrad LawnSite Member
    from MI
    Messages: 133

    I would suggest, like metro36, renting a skid with an auger attachment. You should be able to get most if not all the holes dug in a day. With the skid, you will be able to place all the trees in their holes and backfill by hand. 2 days should do it. Good luck!!
  8. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 7,961

    If you use an auger, make the hole ugly on the sides with hand tools first.
    As someone suggested, do no plant dry roots in a dry hole.

    I do not like to fluff up the bottom too much as the tree might settle and be too deep.
  9. Coffeecraver

    Coffeecraver LawnSite Senior Member
    from VA.
    Messages: 793

    8 ft pines are typically 1" trees with containers or ball and burlap
    These trees should be no problem to plant by hand.
    Using equipment can result in planting the trees too deep.

    The trees need to be planted so the root flare is at grade.
    Sometimes when you find the root flare it is 3-6 inches below the top of the root ball. You should find the root flare then dig the hole.
    The majority of newly planted trees die because they are planted too deep.

    Good Luck :)
  10. Gmgbo

    Gmgbo LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 382

    8ft pine in a container? 8ft pine here are 2-3 caliper, b and b, with a steel cage. A lot of times with the cage you can get away without staking. No chance you will have it done in one day. It will take 3 guys to get the ball into the hole unless u drop it in with the mini. I think it will take 20 min alone to get the tree straight and backfilled. Also have somebody measuring the hole so you dont go too deep.

    Pines are a pain because they branch to the ground and you dont want to break those lower branches.

    I would figure out my machine and labor cost for 3 days and divide by 45. Then give the customer a price $x.xx per tree, furnished, delivered, installed

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