How to Move and Plant Balled and Burlapped Trees

Kinsey Family Farm has our field grown balled and burlap trees for sale to the retail public so homeowners may have larger specimens to plant in their yard. If you are a DIY person, planting a large tree or shrub in a residential landscape is not that difficult.

Available Sizes

B&B trees from our tree farm are for sale in 6′-18′ height range., however for a DIY homeowner we recommend a maximum tree height of 10′. Root ball size can be 28″ – 30″. Anything above a 10′ size will require machinery to dig the hole.

Pre-dug Trees and Special Orders

We keep a supply of pre-dug trees in our nursery which you may purchase. If you have never bought a B&B tree, these are good to walk through to get an idea of sizes and what you would be dealing with once you get one home. Most of our B&B trees remain in our fields until they are requested. We dig a minimal number to keep them in the ground and healthy. If you are interested in a pre-dug tree, be aware that they turn over fast! A tree you saw yesterday may not be there tomorrow but please ask us if we have them in our fields. Often we can dig the specific height and size you want as a custom order. Pricing depends upon the size and height of the tree.

For insurance reasons we can not allow the public in our growing fields.

When you request a tree be dug for you, we need at least three business days warning to dig it, particularly if there has been little rainfall. Any tree we dig will be watered for days prior to digging to ensure that they are well hydrated to avoid shock. It is mandatory for any tree to have sufficient water before digging. Some trees may only be dug during certain seasons.

When you buy a B&B tree from us, we are here to help. We will discuss transporting options, how to plant and aftercare with you. We also load the trees on your trailer or vehicle for you. Please do not hesitate to ask questions! These instructions will help prepare you beforehand.

How Our Field Grown Trees Are Prepared for Transport and Transplanting

DIY How to Plant Balled and Burlapped Tree Kinsey Family Farm

Trees are field grown to a desired height, then we dig them up and prepare them for sale.

DIY Landscaping planting B&B trees Kinsey Family Farm

These are freshly dug 9′ Chaste trees, ready to go in our retail nursery. They are a size which a homeowner would be able to plant.

B&B trees for DIY homeroom landscaping Kinsey Family Farm

When we dig a field grown tree we prepare it by wrapping the root system in burlap. The wrapped root ball is then placed into a wire basket. The basket is tied closed at the top with straps. The straps are used as handles for lifting and moving.

B&B tree rootball basket Kinsey Family Farm

The root ball of our balled and burlap trees are set in wire baskets to stabilize the root system and make the tree easier to handle. Wire baskets can range from 20″ – 40″ depending upon the size of the root ball.

The burlap wrap and basket will not need to be removed for planting. The wire gauge is large enough that the roots to easily grow through. Once in the ground, the burlap will rot quickly and the tree roots will grow through the wide gauge of the basket. Eventually the wire basket will disintegrate as well.

HT move, transport and plant balled and burlap b&b trees Kinsey Family Farm

A loop handle is made out of the top tie straps so that you may move the tree easily. Since the roots are in a wire basket, the root system will be protected if you need to drag the tree a short distance. Try to avoid dragging if you can, it is only meant for short distances. This loop also provides a handle to pull the tree in and out of a pickup truck bed or off a landscape trailer.

tied leaves on retail b&b tree for moving Kinsey Family Farm

The tops of B&B trees are sometimes tied to keep branches from tearing and breaking as well as help protect the foliage during transport.

How Do I Get It Home? Transporting a Balled & Burlap Tree

B&B tree on pickup truck with landscaping trailer Kinsey Family Farm

What to Bring:

  • Mesh tarps and/or old sheets – we carry mesh tarps for sale or bring your own.
  • Old towels
  • Red scrap of cloth or wide red ribbon
  • Extra tie downs and rope
  • A truck!

Moving a B&B tree typically is a 2-4 man job depending upon the size of the tree you get.

Types of Vehicles:

B&B tree may be transported in the back of a pickup truck, moving truck or on a trailer. They are too heavy for the suspension of a car, as well as too large to fit in a trunk space.

Smaller trees may fit into an SUV depending upon the sizes of the tree and SUV. Please be aware that a tree can be very difficult to fit into an SUV without breaking branches. Visit us first to select your tree and determine if it will fit in your vehicle.

A B&B tree may not ride on top of an SUV or car.

Cover, Protection and Tie Downs:

You will need a mesh tarp to protect the leaves! The mesh tarp will be used to cover the tree and protect it while driving. We have tarps for sale in our nursery or you may bring your own. Without a covering, the foliage will be torn off of a tree even of you are driving slowly and traveling a short distance. The tarp should be mesh to allow for airflow. A solid tarp (such as the blue tarps you think of) will beat against the tree in the wind and harm it. Old sheets also work to wrap a tree, however tarps have holes with grommets to tie them down to sides of a pickup truck or trailer. This makes them the best choice.

A mesh tarp is particularly important for trees such as B&B Japanese maples. The leaves will get destroyed very quickly if not covered during transport.

Mesh tarp for covering B&B trees and shrubs when transporting Kinsey Family Farm

Mesh tarp is perforated to allow airflow while driving.

If using a pick up truck, an old towel is handy to wrap around the trunk where it hits the pick up bed sides. This will help prevent tearing on the bark.

When using a pick up truck, consider bringing a red kerchief or scrap of red cloth to tie on the end of the tree if it is going to hang over the back of the bed.

Kinsey Family Farm has people on staff who will help you load your tree onto your vehicle and tie it down.

Delivery Options:

Kinsey Family Farm does not deliver. If you do not have a truck or trailer, we can give you the names of local landscapers who offer pickup and delivery service. They can do delivery and on site installation or just delivery. These landscapers are not affiliated with the farm but are their own businesses and we are not aware of their pricing structure. The customer will need to arrange pick up delivery separately. If you are having your landscaper pick up a tree for you, we are happy to work with them, just let us know!

It’s Home! Now What? Planting a B&B Tree

How to Plant Balled and Burlapped Tree Burlap will decompose Kinsey Family Farm

– Dig a hole about 1″ larger than the rootball. The hole does not need to be larger than that since you wish to force the roots to grow into the surrounding dirt. Digging a larger hole will create a bowl of soft earth underground which the roots will circle inside in as they grow. This will eventually wind around the rootball, choke the tree and make the rootball so compacted that water will not be able to penetrate it.

– Sprinkle a time release fertilizer in the bottom of the hole. Only do this if it is the correct time of year, please ask us if you need to do this step! The amount will depend upon the size of the tree and type of fertilizer. Fertilizer in the bottom of the hole will help force the roots to grow downward as they reach towards the fertilizer. That downward growth results in a deep rooted tree and is important to its future health. Kinsey Family Farm offers the same fertilizer we use in our nursery and fields for sale to the retail public.

– Using the loop handles, drag the tree, wire basket and all, to the hole and lower it into the hole. Do not remove the basket or burlap. The wire and burlap are designed to rot and decompose. Removing them will unnecessarily disturb the roots. There is no need to loosen the roots. They came out of our fields that way an should be fine. The less you disturb the roots, the better. If you have questions about this, please ask us about your specific tree when you visit.

– The top of the rootball should be 1″ – 2″ above the ground. Leave at least an inch of the B&B rootball above the ground to allow for settling and sinking. All trees will sink a little as they settle into a newly dug hole and you never want the base of the trunk to be underground. Planting high will accommodate for natural shifting. Once in the ground, the tree should look like it was planted in a small mound.

– Once you have the B&B tree in the hole, turn and settle it to sit however you wish.

– At this point there is no dirt in the hole, only the rootball, and you may fill the hole with water and allow the tree a good drink. Leave it to sit for awhile as the water soaks into the rootball and surrounding dirt.

– Cut the tie straps off the top of the wire basket and remove them. If some are tied around the basket sides and get left in the hole, don’t worry, they will eventually rot.

– Loosen the burlap from around the trunk of the tree and peel it off the top of the rootball to expose the dirt. It does not need to be removed from the sides, only the top and around the trunk. The excess burlap may be cut away or tucked into the sides of the hole. It is designed to break down and decompose so will do no harm to the tree.

– Start filling the hole around the rootball with dirt, packing it tightly as you go. When the hole is halfway full, you may water it again if needed.

– Fill the remainder of the hole with dirt, packing it tightly as you go.

– The tree should now be planted in a raised mound of dirt. Set a hose next to the trunk on drip and leave it there for a few hours until the ground surrounding the tree is thoroughly soaked.

– Mulch mulch mulch! If you don’t have mulch, ask us! We carry mulch by the bag. It’s inexpensive and a very important step when planting a tree. Mulch around the tree so that water does not evaporate. Spread mulch all the way out and beyond the drip line. Keep the mulch an inch or two away from the trunk. Never allow mulch to touch the trunk of the tree and never pile mulch around the base of the trunk in a ‘volcano mulching’ style. This is very bad for a tree and will cause the bark to rot, making it weak. A weak tree will struggle with bugs and pests attacking it. A tree and cannot survive with rotted bark at the base.

– Aftercare depends on the type of tree you buy. All trees will need to be well watered. The amount depends upon time of year and recent rainfall. Typically a newly planted B&B tree should be watered using a dripping hose about every three to four days. Take care not to over water, some trees hate that, particularly conifers! Please ask us about what your specific tree will need for water requirements. After the first year a tree will be more established and drought tolerant.