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Old 04-01-2012, 08:47 PM
 
Location: NJ
4,526 posts, read 9,778,036 times
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I purchased and planted a couple 6' arborvite trees. When I purchased them the worker at the nursery told me to keep all the burlap and string on the root ball when planting to keep the dirt in place. He said not to remove it and that it would all decompose within 2 months. So I planted them with everything still intact. Does this sound right? Everything I'm reading online seems to suggest I should at least remove the string near the trunk area.
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Old 04-01-2012, 10:12 PM
 
Location: Gainesville, VA
1,261 posts, read 5,120,054 times
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We planted a tree in a burlap ball last fall. You're supposed to pull the burlap away from the trunk a bit. Definitely cut any string around the trunk.
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Old 04-02-2012, 09:09 AM
Status: "chickpea soup" (set 25 days ago)
 
18,762 posts, read 56,493,459 times
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That is a recipe for a root-bound tree. The worker is an idiot.

Before the rotting occurs, and if the soil is hard or low in nutrients, the roots will grow within the moist root ball to the exclusion of venturing out into the sand/clay/soil outside. Those roots eventually growth is size and during the first heavy rain followed by a windstorm, the tree will fall over like a cartoon character that falls over dead.

Make the soil outside of the burlap ball at least similar in composition to the growth medium within the ball. Then once it is in place, cut holes in the burlap and try to tease out and straighten any long roots that might have begun circumabulating the trunk.
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Old 04-02-2012, 09:55 AM
 
Location: Out there somewhere...a traveling man.
40,377 posts, read 49,922,356 times
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This is the correct method recommended by 99% of horticulturists, landscapers, certified nursery personnel and professional tree growers:
If you bought a tree in a burlap bag, after the tree is set in the hole and some dirt has been added to the hole, cut loose the tie around the base of the trunk. This tie will not decompose fast enough, and if left on the tree will girdle the trunk and can kill the tree. The burlap can be pulled back from the trunk, but does not have to be removed because it will quickly decompose and will not inhibit root growth. This is only true if it is common burlap, plastic burlap must be removed.
Removal of the protective burlap will cause the soil to breakaway from the root system and may put the tree into severe shock.
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Old 04-02-2012, 10:09 AM
 
28,673 posts, read 41,189,890 times
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//www.city-data.com/forum/23671093-post1.html
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Old 04-02-2012, 04:12 PM
 
Location: ๏̯͡๏﴿ Gwinnett-That's a Civil Matter-County
2,117 posts, read 5,494,315 times
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NO! NO! NO!

Take the burlap off! Take off the wire basket and anything else.

Also.... This is important.....
B&B trees are dug by mechanical tree spades. In the process, up to 12" of additional soil can be squooshed up against the trunk.
So REMOVE ALL SOIL against the trunk until you expose the root flare.
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Old 04-02-2012, 04:46 PM
 
Location: Out there somewhere...a traveling man.
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Tree Planting Guide (http://www.sunshinenursery.com/GardenNotebook/articles/treeplantingguide.htm - broken link)
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Old 04-03-2012, 05:33 AM
 
Location: Newport, NC
956 posts, read 3,662,361 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cittic10 View Post
NO! NO! NO!

Take the burlap off! Take off the wire basket and anything else.

Also.... This is important.....
B&B trees are dug by mechanical tree spades. In the process, up to 12" of additional soil can be squooshed up against the trunk.
So REMOVE ALL SOIL against the trunk until you expose the root flare.
So basically what you're saying is to pay for a balled and burlap tree and then plant it bareroot?
What about larger trees - back many years ago when i worked for a nursery/landscaper many of the trees we dug were from 4 to 6 inch caliper. You certainly won't be removing baskets and burlap ffrom something that size.
I'd also like to point out that all the trees we dug were 'grubbed' (all surface soil removed) before the trees were dug, there was no soil squooshed against the trunk. This is a common practice throughout the industry.
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Old 04-03-2012, 07:09 AM
 
Location: ๏̯͡๏﴿ Gwinnett-That's a Civil Matter-County
2,117 posts, read 5,494,315 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rtom45 View Post
So basically what you're saying is to pay for a balled and burlap tree and then plant it bareroot?
What about larger trees - back many years ago when i worked for a nursery/landscaper many of the trees we dug were from 4 to 6 inch caliper. You certainly won't be removing baskets and burlap ffrom something that size.
I'd also like to point out that all the trees we dug were 'grubbed' (all surface soil removed) before the trees were dug, there was no soil squooshed against the trunk. This is a common practice throughout the industry.
No, that's not what I meant.
Just dig with your fingers until you feel the top most root and remove the soil above that.

As for removing burlap and baskets from 4-6" caliper trees, it is easy and there is no excuse for not doing so except to blame it on being trained with poor cultural practices.

The best tool for removing wire baskets in the field, IMO, is a cordless "Sawzall" or reciprocating saw. The long blade gets into the tight spots in the planting hole and cuts through the wire like butter in a fraction of a second.

Then you can use an ordinary box knife with razor blade for cutting off the burlap. An trees that are really heavy leaving a little at the bottom is not that big of a deal but removing as much as you can is the best practice.

As for removing surface soil before digging the trees, that is counter productive since the problem occurs while the trees are being dug. Once the trees are dug, they're typically wrapped immediately and it falls on the end user to remove the excess soil and expose the root flare
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Old 04-03-2012, 08:34 AM
 
25,627 posts, read 31,455,264 times
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Wow who would have guessed burlap rootball trees would be a wedge issue for green industry professionals. Sounds like many of my weekly conversations over coffee at John Deere Landscapes with many of the local contractors.

To remove or not remove that is the guestion, Whether tis noble in the planting to...........
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