Planting trees and shrubs 101

Discussion in 'HortForum' started by Sandy, Jun 12, 2006.

  1. Sandy

    Sandy Member

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    My grower/nursery owner insists that the width of the hole is determined by the geographical area in which you live. He was not happy when I asked him why does every online site and every garden show on tv say that the width of the hole should be 2-3 times wider than the ball or container. He planted all of the shrubs and trees in my yard into holes the exact size size of the balls. I am concerned that the semi-clay soil of my yard will become a container tomb and inhibit growth and reduce vitality of these plants. He is supposed to call me this evening. What should I say. This gentleman took exception to my questioning his knowledge because "he attended (notice did not say graduated) a major college, has over 30 years of experience and knows what he is doing". My plants all have "volcano mulching" that is somewhat spread out over the grass. A tree peony was planted just over a foot from a foundation wall. I want it moved because they can grow to over four feet wide. He said he's never seen a tree peony four foot wide and he won't move it. Help. I haven't paid him in full yet.
     
  2. jimmyq

    jimmyq Well-Known Member 10 Years

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  3. Sandy

    Sandy Member

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    Thank you, Paul. Unfortunately, the man (owner of a reputable nursery) that planted my trees and shrubs thinks that there are special rules for each growing area. He was upset because I had the audacity to question him. I don't think he cares what we might find online to corroborate what we know to be true. I'm sure that he will not dig anthing up and replant it. How can I help my poor plants now that the damage is done and they have been planted contrary to good practice. I can move the mulch away from the trunk. That will help. I just don't know how to handle this nursery owner's indignation that I would dare to question his knowledge. Is his technique old school? Or is he trying to save time (and money paid to his workers) by not making the hole wide enough? I thought he was a professional and would know what he was doing. I guess I was wrong. I was rather shocked to see that half his crew were not English speaking because there isn't much of a Latino population near Pittsburgh. Considering recent illegal immigrant issues in the news, I felt uncomfortable about this and was tempted to ask for green cards. I didn't.
     
  4. Dixie

    Dixie Active Member

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    What does their race have to do with it? Several (most) of our landscapers are hispanic and were a heck of a lot more dependable and efficient than our caucasian employees. The crews are only as good as their supervisors and trainers. If they aren't trained or taught the proper ways of the trade, the owner or supervisor is the one to blame.
     
  5. jimmyq

    jimmyq Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    regarding not listening to what you find online, I would disagree, if you find resource froma reputable, recognized organization (such as the international society or arboriculture which hosts and produces the treesaregood website) you should be able to take that info to the person that is perhaps malinformed and attempt to enlighten them.

    I agree that such a course of action will have little effect on the plants in the ground in you landscape. You mention your soil is semi caly, how is the drainage? if it is poor you should consider lifting the plants, and replanting them in somewhat raised beds. If the soil is the same as the rootballs, then lifting the plants and loosening the soil at the outer area of the planting hole followed by replacing the plant, might be enough to give the plants a good head start.

    If the nursery person is worth pursuing, hire a landscape consultant or a consulting arborist to do a brief report on the planting situation, then depending on the findings, you may be complacent or you may find need to pursue the nurseryman for suitable correction of the issues.
     
  6. Gordo

    Gordo Active Member 10 Years

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    I suspect the concern here is not about race, but rather whether the employees are legally entitled to work in this country. If not, the nursery owner is breaking the law, and most likely taking advantage of his workers by paying them sub-standard wages.
     
  7. Sandy

    Sandy Member

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    No no, I wasn't intending to cast aspersions about race. Not at all. I was concerned that the Spanish speaking men were illegal. That's all. I enjoyed trying my high school Spanish with them and they appreciated it. I do have a problem with employing illegals...of any ethnicity. The crew chief was black. I don't care who does the work as long as it was done right. The owner told his workers how to plant and was wrong. Race has nothing to do with it.
     
  8. oscar

    oscar Active Member

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    If the area they are planting in has been thoroughly prepared ie all dug over/rotorvated, then you could dig holes pretty much the same size as the pot, if say for example you are planting into a lawn as lawn specimens then a hole at least twice the diameter of the pot would be prudent.
     
  9. Dixie

    Dixie Active Member

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    Thank you Sandy for the clarification. I appreciate it. The company I worked for was never the cheapest to design or install new landscaping. We took very seriously how we prepped our beds. It was actually one of our big selling points. The other guy down the road would just slap some smaller shrubs and trees in the ground and that's that. If we bid a job, we always new that we would be right in the middle or on the more expensive side, because we prepped our beds while the other company didn't. Being more expensive than the other companies gave us an opportunity to explain to the client the importance of quality plants and bed/soil prep. It made a huge difference on the growth and health of our beds compared to our competitors. So, you have every right to question the work you paid for. You are the customer and need to be satisfied. If he was a good businessman he would want you to be happy so you would use him again and spread the word (free advertising).
     
  10. Sandy

    Sandy Member

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    My nurseryman is supposed to call me tonight. We'll see. The trees and shrubs have all been planted in my yard and mulched on top of the grass. Even an area that was supposed to be a "bed" in a mounded area (because of poor drainage I requested this) turned out to be top soil dumped on top of the grass. The *** maple had been planted in a shallow hole then surounded by top soil which was then topped with mulch. Because of reputation I assumed I would get professional work. It doesn't appear that it has happened that way. I should have had my lawn care guy do the work. Even he knows that the shrubs and trees were not properly planted. I took better care in looking for a contractor for my home remodeling. For that I had all work described in detail and all supplies listed in the contract so I could see that the job was done right. I goofed, didn't i?
     
  11. Sandy

    Sandy Member

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    You're going to love this. From his own website.... (the photos didn't make it)
    Planting Ball And Burlap Tree
    What you need:
    Shovel
    Garden fork or cultivator
    Mulch
    Scissors or knife
    Outline a planting area 3 times the width of the root ball by cutting into the turf with a shovel. Remove the turf.
    Dig the hole twice as wide, but only as deep as the root ball.
    Scarify the sides of the hole with a hand held cultivator or fork. This makes it easier for the tree's root system to expand into the surrounding soil.
    Place the tree in the hole, using a dowel to gauge the proper depth. Plant the tree at the same depth as it was growing, or slightly higher. When the tree is planted correctly, the soil on the top of the rootball will be visible. Mulch the newly-planted tree with 2-3 inches of mulch. Keep the mulch several inches away from the trunk of the tree.
    Remove any twine or wire from the burlap ball. Ties that are left on the root ball, especially around the trunk, will eventually girdle the tree and kill it.
    If the burlap is synthetic, remove it altogether. If it is made of natural fibers, loosen or cut away the top layer and roll it down around the base of the root ball. Check the planting depth once more to make sure the top of the rootball is at or slightly above the level of the surrounding soil.

    I am going to print it and show it to him. Then ask him if the web site is for show only.

    I could shoot myself for doing this all wrong.
     
  12. oscar

    oscar Active Member

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    That's outrageous. Give him the oppertunity to make amends, if you still arnt satisfied, i believe in the USA you can complain to an organisation similar to our trading standards.
    Good luck.
     
  13. francee

    francee Member

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    I think the problem is not only about the plants.??

    I had a similar situation when someone laid a lawn for me.When I questioned what he was doing .I was told he was the "expert" 30 years experience, blah,blah,blah.

    It was an intimidating experience.He was a big man.I am quite small.However, when he asked for £50 more ,I became very angry.

    I refused to pay him anything ,until the job was done to my satisfaction.He redid the work and was paid what we had agreed in the first place.

    It wasn't pleasant.

    Stick to your guns,get the job done correctly and do not pay anything extra.

    If he refuses.Tell him you will go "Trading Standards" or whatever you have there.The law is on your side.You are paying,the job must be done properly.

    francee
     
  14. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    A contract with planting specifications on it, like a landscape architect provides on a blueprint would have prevented this issue. You could both refer to it when discussing the execution of the job. But the contractor should be interested in making you happy, anyway, so you pay up quickly and he can move on, if for no other reason.

    "Planting Ball and Burlap Tree" above is all correct procedure.
     
  15. Sandy

    Sandy Member

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    After six days of not hearing anything, I finally got some satisfaction. I contacted the man's alma mater (since he bragged about his university education) and received confirmation (from a professor of horticulture) that the grower's planting tecnique was wrong. I sent an email to the grower referring to his own alma mater's disdain at his planting tecnnique. I stated that his planting technique was contrary to what was on his own website and contrary to the International Society of Arboriculture's reference book (Watson's 'Principles and Practices of Planting Trees and Shrubs').

    Apparently, my email worked. He sent someone (note that the coward did not come himself) this past Saturday to address some of my concerns. Though the plants weren't dug up and replanted, at least broken stone was replaced, grading issues were fixed and a plant was moved to a more favorable location. I removed the volcano mounded mulch from around the trees and shrubs myself.

    It looks nice. I just hope the trees and shrubs survive. This was a rather expensive lesson.

    Thank you all for your input.

    Sandy
     

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