Planting Large Specimen Trees - Quick Checklist
Plan for off loading and placing of tree. It is the customer’s responsibility to off load the tree from the delivery truck, unless installation services have been arranged through us. Ascertain that the equipment and personnel you have will safely handle the weight by consulting the weights given in the Specimen Tree Specs chart, and determine if the contractor has experience with large specimen trees. If hiring a crane company, request a site visit and quote. If you need assistance, our crews can do turn key installations or simply get the tree off the truck safely and efficiently into your planting holes. If we do the installation and after planting monitoring, we can provide for an additional fee a one or two year warranty.
Size-Hole depth should allow the soil surface of the tree to sit at least 3” above your final grade. Do not over dig the depth and backfill to achieve proper depth with out compaction. With out compaction, this backfill will settle and over time may result in the tree root ball being planted to deep. Minimum width is specified in the table, Specimen Tree Specs. Digging the hole 2 to 4 times wider than the box is very helpful if you have compacted soil.
If there is any chance of compacted or clay soil affecting drainage a drainage test should be performed as follows: Step 1. Fill the planting hole completely with water. Let it drain and note if water infiltrates out at less than 1” per hour or 2’ per day. If it is less than 1” per hour go to step 2. If it is more than 1’ per hour refill the hole and do the test again. If it drains faster than 1”/hour no drainage system is necessary. Step 2, (for less than 1” per hour drainage) Install 3” perforated pipe with a fabric sock circling the bottom of the root ball and connect to a gravity drain and 2 vertical standpipes. If a gravity drain is not feasible, extra care and monitoring must be done to insure the tree is not getting over watered and the bottom of the rootball is staying constantly wet.
The box bottom is left on. Check to make sure the top of the root ball is at least 3” above grade and make sure no fill soil is ever added near the trunk. Do not remove the sides until you are sure the tree is set in straight and rotated to the desired orientation. Guying may be required on trees over 20’ tall. Remove the sides, install the drainage system, and backfill with your native soil. Do not amend the backfill soil unless you have over excavated the hole 2 to 4 times the width of the box and have a heavy clay or compacted soil. Do not place gravel or sand under the root ball.
Large boxed trees are purposely shipped dry so it is critical that the tree receive a through soaking the day it you receive it. Construct 2 concentric soil berms to provide watering basins at least one foot in depth. The inner berm is placed just inside the tree root ball. The outer berm is place just outside the backfilled soil. Fill these basins to a 12” depth and allow them to drain in at least 3 times the day of planting. Start the normal watering cycle 3-6 days after the initial heavy watering.