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planting trees

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by fblandscape, Mar 30, 2003.

  1. fblandscape

    fblandscape Banned
    Messages: 776

    I went on a sales call yesterday and left with a big smile on my face. A good customer wanted a bunch of stuff done, but one of the items left me wondering.

    Plant about 15 kwanzan cherry trees. 8 - 10 foot tall. Trees are about $125 each. The nursery will deliver any order over $1,000. The problem I have is that the area the trees are to be planted in is almost completely rock. We had planted 1 tree of the same size last year in the same location (they are going around 1 side of a U driveway.) Last year when we planted the 1 tree, it took 2 guys, 2 days just to dig the hole by hand.

    How would you go about doing this job, and how would you charge for it?
  2. terraverde

    terraverde LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    I don't know what the site looks like, but a carefully designed berm might be an option. Opening the door for some other plantings as well. Otherwise a machine w/ auger attachment and someone with a shale bar to pull out and chip away the rocks and rock fragments when the auger stops penetrating. A little auger a little chipping a little auger etc....its what we do. And yes it can get expensive and time consuming. An out line of flowering cherry sounds pretty nice. The result will be quite a nice installation for pictures of spring color for your portfolio.
    Time and Materials.
  3. fblandscape

    fblandscape Banned
    Messages: 776

    This is the way I was thinking of doing it, but I wanted to get some opinions first.

    Get a small excavator with a regular bucket
    Get a small excavator with a rock hammer
    Get a bobcat loader for moving the rock into the back yard to dump.

    Dig a bit with the excavator until I hit rock, switch to the rock hammer, pound the rock away, dig more, hammer, etc. Plant the trees using the excavator w/ bucket. I was thinking $600 per day for each excavator and $400 per day for the skid steer. So I figure about $2,200 for the machines. $2,600 for the trees. Then 2 guys for 2 days so ~ $1,000. Then a few yards of top soil and seed, so ~$300.00 That brings me out to about $6,100.00

    How does that sound?
  4. aquaturf

    aquaturf LawnSite Member
    from MA
    Messages: 28

    This sounds like a big, expensive mess. And what are the roots going to grow into? It also sounds like drainage will be a problem. A berm might be the solution, that is your call. But I sure would not chisel trees into the ground.
  5. fblandscape

    fblandscape Banned
    Messages: 776

    There is some soil in the mix. It's a lot of ledge rock mixed in with soil.
  6. ParkerLawn

    ParkerLawn LawnSite Senior Member
    from KY
    Messages: 511

    Depending on what type of rock you are talking about. Is it very large rocks that have to be dug out individually? If it is a bunch of smaller sized rocks and just hard ground, rent a bobcat with an auger. I live in an area with alot of caves and we have alot of rocky ground. I rent a bobcat with an auger for $150 a day and would have no problems getting all your trees done in a day. I would figure each tree at $300 installed for everything. This is just how I do it and have done alot of work with rocky ground.
  7. fblandscape

    fblandscape Banned
    Messages: 776

    These rocks are pretty good in size. I believe their technical term would be boulders.
  8. Pard

    Pard LawnSite Member
    Messages: 9

    Hasn't anyone here ever heard of a spoon? These things are awsome - they will dig through anything and the holes turn perfectly round.

    I have always heard that it is bad to plant trees with an auger, because it is hard for the roots to penetrate the sides of the hole. Anyway here is the link for the spoon:


    Hope this helps.

  9. DaddyRabbit

    DaddyRabbit LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 937

    I don't believe that I'd put myself in the position to warranty these trees if in fact you plant them in rock. If it were me I'd use an excavator to dig up a large enough area for optimal root ball growth and replace w/good topsoil.

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