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Planting Trees and Shrubs.

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by drsogr, Mar 28, 2005.

  1. drsogr

    drsogr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,275

    Ok here is the deal, I have a lady that wants me to plant 4 trees and 10 shrubs in a new house. She wants to buy the trees and shrubs and then have me install them. I have never planted any trees, but I know how to dig a hole and make anything grow, so I should be ok.

    I want to give a good quote, but I need to know what everybody does when they plant trees and shrubs. Here is my thinking:

    Call the company that comes out and markes the lines.
    Dig the hole with an auger....size of hole depending on size of auger.
    Throw some fertilizer in, plant the tree.
    Mulch around the tree, trying not to suffocate it.
    Tie the tree down.

    Should I give her a warranty since I am not buying the trees and shrubs. How big of a tree would require a bobcat auger? Or should I forget augers all together and just dig them? If anyone would like to share some numbers, that would be helpful.

  2. SodKing

    SodKing LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,641

    You should not give her a warranty since you did not buy the shrub there for you are not making any money on the piece...Numbers...my numbers are good for me I am not sure what your costs are.

    As for planting, green side up.
  3. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,112

    If it's a new place you will probably have to bring in some good top soil and mix with amendment to intigrate into and around the holes.
    Dig by hand if it's not too difficult.Don't bid it tell you stick a shovel into it a few places and see how it's gonna be.
    I mean a whole couple blades deep worth.I don't use fertilizer when planting if your soils been preped or is already good the Tre's and plants do not need it.
    Do not give any guarantee,you are not supplying the plants.
    There is a bit more info you should know before planting so look on www.treesaregood.com for more info on planting trees and other stuff.
    There is more to planting than just digging a hole.
    As far as numbers go that's something you should figure out yourself.
    That's the best way to learn estimate pricing.How long do you think it will take you?Double or triple that.How hard is it going to be,access to areas and how far do you have to drive to get there and you still have to stake and water in and clean up any mess.So that should give you an idea on what you want to think about before giving a price. :)
  4. drsogr

    drsogr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,275

    Thanks for the advice guys.....there is alot of good advice. Anyone else have any ideas? I planned on figuring the prices myself, I just through it out there incase someone wanted to give me thier pricing. Thanks guys!
  5. lawnandplow42

    lawnandplow42 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 508

    As for planting, green side up.[/QUOTE]

    This tends to be important when planting. :rolleyes:
  6. drsogr

    drsogr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,275

    This tends to be important when planting. :rolleyes:[/QUOTE]

    Yeah I learned that rule from laying sod!
  7. Coffeecraver

    Coffeecraver LawnSite Senior Member
    from VA.
    Messages: 793

    Planting a New Tree

    1. Dig a shallow, broad planting hole. Make the hole wide, as much as three
    times the diameter of the root ball, but only as deep as the root ball. It is
    important to make the hole wide because the tree roots on the newly
    establishing tree must push through surrounding soil in order to establish.
    On most planting sites in new developments, the existing soils have been
    compacted and are unsuitable for healthy root growth. Breaking up the soil
    in a large area around the tree provides the newly emerging roots room to
    expand into loose soil to hasten establishment.

    2. Identify the trunk flare. The trunk flare is where the roots spread at the
    base of the tree. This point should be partially visible after the tree has
    been planted. If the trunk flare is not partially visible, you
    may have to remove some soil from the top of the root ball. Find it so you
    can determine how deep the hole needs to be for proper planting.

    3. Place the tree at the proper height. Before placing the tree in the hole,
    check to see that the hole has been dug to the proper depth and no more.
    The majority of the roots on the newly planted tree will develop in the top
    12 inches of soil. If the tree is planted too deep, new roots will have
    difficulty developing due to a lack of oxygen.
    It is better to plant the tree a little high, 2-3 inches above the base of the
    trunk flare, than to plant it at or below the original growing level. This will
    allow for some settling. To avoid damage when setting the tree in the hole,
    always lift the tree by the root ball and never by the trunk.

    4. Straighten the tree in the hole. Before you begin backfilling have someone
    view the tree from several directions to confirm the tree is the tree is
    streight.Once you begin backfilling it is difficult to reposition.

    5. Fill the hole, gently but firmly. Fill the hole about 1/3 full and gently but
    firmly pack the soil around the base of the root ball. Then, if the tree is
    balled and burlapped, cut and remove the string and wire from around the
    trunk and top 1/3 of the root ball . Be careful not to damage the trunk or
    roots in the process.
    Fill the remainder of the hole taking care to firmly pack soil to eliminate air
    pockets that may cause roots to dry out. To avoid this problem, add the soil
    a few inches at a time and settle with water. Continue this process until the
    hole is filled and the tree is firmly planted. It is not recommended to apply
    fertilizer at the time of planting.

    6. Stake the tree, if necessary. If the tree is grown and dug properly at the
    nursery, staking for support is not necessary in most home landscape
    situations. Studies have shown that trees will establish more quickly and
    develop stronger trunk and root systems if they are not staked at the time
    of planting. However, protective staking may be required on sites where lawn
    mower damage, vandalism or windy conditions are concerns. If staking is
    necessary for support, two stakes used in conjunction with a wide flexible
    tie material will hold the tree upright, provide flexibility, and minimize
    injury to the trunk. Remove support staking and ties after
    the first year of growth.

    7. Mulch the base of the tree. Mulch is simply organic matter applied to the
    area at the base of the tree. It acts as a blanket to hold moisture, moderate
    soil temperature extremes, both hot and cold, and reduces competition from
    grass and weeds. Some good choices are leaf litter, pine straw, shredded
    bark, peat moss, or wood chips. A two to four inch layer is ideal. More than
    four inches may cause a problem with oxygen and moisture levels. When
    placing mulch, care should be taken so that the actual trunk of the tree is
    not covered. This may cause decay of the living bark at the base of the tree.
    A mulch-free area, one to two inches wide at the base of the tree, is sufficient
    to avoid moist bark conditions and prevent decay.

    8. Follow-up care. Keep the soil moist but not soaked; over watering will
    cause leaves to turn yellow or fall off. Water trees at least once a week,
    barring rain, and more frequently during hot weather. When the soil is dry
    below the surface of the mulch, it is time to water. Continue until mid-fall,
    tapering off for lower temperatures that require less frequent watering.
    Other follow-up care may include minor pruning of branches damaged during
    the planting process. Prune sparingly immediately after planting and wait to
    begin necessary corrective pruning until after a full season of growth in
    the new location.

  8. Garth

    Garth LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 382

    Coffeecraver and Sheshovel gave excellent advice and the only thing I would add is to check the soil. If you are putting the tree into a heavy clay, dig the hole 12-18" deeper and raise the level with a sand and top-soil mixture to allow drainage away from the roots. I also mix 1/3 top-soil with the native soil before backfilling. Gives the tree something good to bite into. By mixing with the native soil it is already acclimated to the surrounding area. A handful or two of a high phosphorus fertilizer will kick-start the rooting process and help the tree establish itself faster. A capful/gallon of B-1 added every fourth watering will help the plant to stay out of transplant shock. I, myself, use Superthrive, and must say it works a treat.
  9. drsogr

    drsogr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,275

    great info guys! I checked out that website. Lots of good info.
  10. Neal Wolbert

    Neal Wolbert LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 407

    If you're planting in heavy soil or clay and you amend the soil in the planting hole you may encourage it to grow circling or girdling roots If you want the tree/shrub to eventually make the interface into on-site soils, plant it in that soil to begin with. If you take the time to redirect the roots (root washing exposes all the roots and allows for redirection) the chance for problems later on will be minimized. Mud in the roots with a little water and on site soil with your gloved hands to remove air pockets and you probably won't need to stake at all. There is growing support for removing everything that came with the plant from the nursery, i.e. wire baskets, burlap, ties, soil, bark etc. before planting. You can inspect and prune out "J" or girdling roots and identify the first primary roots easily for correct planting depth. It all makes sense when you see it done. Check out Jim Flott's work on Google or the ISA website for more info. Neal

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