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Is this a deal?

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by heybruck34, Mar 12, 2004.

  1. heybruck34

    heybruck34 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 300

    I'm Joe Homeowner who needs a tree in his barren backyard. I saw an ad in the classifieds for the following:

    "2-4 inch diameter Willow Oak trees balled and burlapped. $100 and up."

    Is this a deal? I planted a red oak last year and it died. I think it was planting error (me) and adverse condititions (my dog dug it up once and later chewed on it).

    Thanks everyone.
  2. D Felix

    D Felix LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,898

    Chances are that the $100 trees are 2" diameter trees, and park grade. Meaning the nice ones will run you a lot more.

    I've never heard of a willow oak, though it may not survive here....

  3. treedoc1

    treedoc1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 319

    $100 for a 2/2.5 is a normal wholesale price for nice willow oaks.

    Best sucess is don't remove the wire basket, cut the twine before you mulch, try to keep the root package intact.

    Don't plant it too deep.
  4. D Felix

    D Felix LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,898

    Since when has it been OK to NOT remove the wire basket?

    The only time I know of is if you know you will be replacing the tree in a year or less, having the basket still there makes it much easier to remove the dead tree.:rolleyes:

    To properly plant a tree, you need to find the root flare in the ball. The root flare is where the trunk turns into roots, the trunk "flares" out, hence the term. The tree should be planted either at, or slightly above the root flare at finished grade. Chances are the flare is down in the ball a decent amount, I've personally seen them as deep as 8 inches, in a 28" ball!

    By not planting at PROPER depth, you will not only cause the tree to grow much slower, chances are that it won't live past 2-3 years. If it does survive that long, chances are even greater for a girdling root to kill the tree prematurely.

    Dig the hole the proper depth (after you've found the root flare- use a trowel to excavate CAREFULLY), drop the tree in the hole, then, using bolt cutters, cut as much of the basket away as you can. The more the better. If you can get it all that's the best way to go. Contrary to popular belief, the basket DOES NOT rust away in the ground. The basket itself can even lead to girdling roots.


  5. kris

    kris LawnSite Bronze Member
    from nowhere
    Messages: 1,578

    We remove about one third of the burlap and basket. I don't believe they are making the baskets as strong as they use to. girdling shouldn't be is an issue. I think it is unrealistic to try and remove any more than a third. Time is one factor and I could see alot of guys doing more harm than good to the root ball.
  6. dvmcmrhp52

    dvmcmrhp52 LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Pa.
    Messages: 4,205

    Agreed with Kris.^
  7. philk17088

    philk17088 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 17,386

    I have always wondered about the baskets, I cut off what I can and bend the rest down. When I started in this business, all good nursery stock was drum-laced ball and burlap, no baskets. That was the first thing I learned to do at a nursery right out of college. Old Italian guy, spoke maybe ten words of English taught me. The way and the speed in which he did it was an art.

    I'll stop showing my age now.
  8. kris

    kris LawnSite Bronze Member
    from nowhere
    Messages: 1,578

    Me too Phil... we use to dig 2 " caliper trees in the field by hand then drum lace and burlap them...my teacher was a Portuguese guy. Tough as nails! He would always tell me to sit down and take it easy(always tried to keep up to him) and I'd sharpen the edging shovels by hand with a file while I had a break ..... sounds like one of those stories you tell the kids. You know I had to walk 10 miles to school..up hill both ways:)
  9. D Felix

    D Felix LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,898

    I'll show my age here too, only it's on the other end of the spectrum.:D

    I wish I knew how to lace a ball by hand... The only good way I know to B&B a tree is with a basket and machine spade. I've dug by hand before, but haven't quite gotten the lacing down.

    Maybe one of these days I'll learn.:)

  10. P&C Lawn Care

    P&C Lawn Care LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 373

    Willow Oaks make nice trees. Learn how to plant a tree before you buy anything nice. Make sure you remove the burlap/basket and any twine to prevent girdleing. Put the right tree in the right place, look at how big the tree will be in 10 to 20 years from now.

    Look at this site below it may help.


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