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How to plant balled plants

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by Barrett Landscaping, Jun 13, 2011.

  1. Barrett Landscaping

    Barrett Landscaping LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,629

    I am looking to expand into doing more planting and hope to get some pointers on how to properly install "balled" plants. I have a client looking to have a row of viburnum installed and any advise would be appreciated. :usflag:
  2. 93Chevy

    93Chevy LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 37,804

    Dig a hole (after properly amending the soil if necessary), put the plant in to the bottom of the trunk, and pack the dirt back around the ball.

    You need to open the burlap from the top of the plant, and you can remove it from the entire ball, unless the ball appears to be brittle. You cannot let the ball break apart.
  3. Barrett Landscaping

    Barrett Landscaping LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,629

    okay, thats what i was basically thinking. i assume that i remove the cage?
  4. 93Chevy

    93Chevy LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 37,804

    If they're caged, don't remove the cage.
  5. Barrett Landscaping

    Barrett Landscaping LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,629

    ok... i think somewhere i heard that you could open up the top but just want to check
  6. 93Chevy

    93Chevy LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 37,804

    Depends on the structure of the ball...if you feel the ball will collapse or crumble, you cannot remove the burlap any further than the top.
  7. lukemelo216

    lukemelo216 LawnSite Bronze Member
    from ...
    Messages: 1,267

    Dig the hole so that it is two times the size of the ball across. So if the ball measures 20" from side to side, the hole should be 40" from side to side. Measure the ball from top to bottom, subtract 2" and thats the depth. You want the root flare (where the trunk starts to flare out into roots) to be right at the surface. Maybe sticking up just slightly, but not a real lot. Make sure too to remove the soil in the root ball away from the root flare about 3-4" or so. Then we cut off the wire basket entirely and the burlap entirely. Then we backfill with a mix of organic soil and the soil that we dug out from the hole. We usually mix it 50/50. But its actually mixed together not just a few scoops of one a few of the other. We fill the hole up so that its completely level with the ground, not built up around the base of the tree. usually when we back fill, we backfill half way, then water the tree in heavily to allow the soil to settle and pack in. Then fill the other half up. Then it gets mulched. When we mulch we do 3-4" of mulch and you never build it up like a volcano around the base of the tree. You want it to be more of a rounded build up and then it all slopes down towards the trunk of the tree.

    Here is a good example. I do some of the same things they do, some I do differently.


    on this site you will get so many different opinions on the way to plant trees, and half the people say keep the basket and burlap, blah blah blah, but if you look on any horticulture universities website its all the same, that method i described above.

    If we use an auger to drill holes, we will drill multiple to form the hole and then we rough up the edges so the roots have an easier area to expand into. We try to avoid staking trees if we can, its really not the best for it. But some trees you just have to. if theres a lot of other trees or building blocking the wind from that new tree dont stake it, but if its in a wide open yard with no protection stake it up
  8. Barrett Landscaping

    Barrett Landscaping LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,629

    thanks chevy and luke for the advise!
  9. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Do not plant recently balled plants this time of year... Not even in Wisco... What kind of soil is in the ball? Do you know? Don't remove the cage? :laugh:

    Good luck with that...
  10. Get Some...

    Get Some... LawnSite Senior Member
    from Kansas
    Messages: 651

    Do not forget to pack the backfill well, so there is no air trapped, air on the root's is not good.

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