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 fields are for sale anywhere from a height range of around 6′ to 18′ depending on the species of tree. However for a DIY homeowner we recommend a maximum tree height of 10′ which makes the root ball size around 28-30 inches . . . approximately 400 pounds. These sizes and weights are still quite capable of being manipulated by individuals with the assistance of a ball cart . . . which are easily rented.  Anything above a 10′ size often times tends to necessitate the use of machinery to manipulate the trees.

Pre-dug Trees and Special Orders

We keep a supply of pre-dug trees in our nursery available for purchase. If you have never bought a B&B tree the pre-dug tree section is 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 pre-dig a minimal number to keep the majority of our trees in the ground in a less stressful situation. 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 safety reasons we do not allow the public in our growing fields.

When you request a tree to be dug for you, we need at least three business days advanced notice to dig it, particularly if there has been little rainfall. Prior to digging all trees are watered to ensure they are well hydrated and making the relocation process substantially less stressful. 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, machine dug, placed in a wire basket lined with burlap, and then moved to the irrigation section of the nursery for display.

DIY Landscaping planting B&B trees Kinsey Family Farm

These are freshly dug 9′ Chaste trees, ready to go in our retail nursery.

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.  This loop also provides a handle to pull the tree in and out of a pickup truck bed or off a landscape trailer. However, NEVER allow the tree to drop from any height onto the ground as this will certainly damage the smallest and most important roots. These small feeder roots are how the plants gain nutrients and water and bouncing the root ball around will break them.

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.
  • Tie downs and/or rope
  • A truck or trailer . . . often times you can rent these by the hour from rental companies for a relatively inexpensive price.

Types of Vehicles:

B&B trees 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. We also do not recommend bringing your van for transport.

Very small 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.

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 and  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 4-6 inches  larger than the rootball all the way around. This will allow you plenty of space for maneuvering the tree into an upright position, as well as, give the new feeder roots plenty of loose soil to work their way into. The hole does not necessarily need to be larger than that. However, if your surrounding soil is extremely compacted you do definitely want to the time to break it up. This does not mean you actually need to dig the dirt out. Rather you can just chop it into smaller and more loose pieces. Also working soil conditioner into this surrounding soil will help prevent soil compaction from occurring again later.

– Sprinkle a slow release fertilizer in the bottom of the hole.  The amount will depend upon the size of the tree and type of fertilizer. Fertilizer in the bottom of the hole will aid in encouragine 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.

– At this point you may carefully lower the tree into the hole. Ideally you need to handle the tree primarily by the root ball and not by pulling the trunk of the tree. This is done to prevent loosening the roots in the ball of the tree.  No matter what you read elsewhere 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 and will be perfectly fine as they grow through the burlap and basket into the soil at their new location. 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 root ball should be approximately 20-30% above the ground.  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, as well as, guarantee that the tree has good drainage. Trees that do not have good drainage run the risk of staying too wet and will eventually develop a fungus on their roots . . . much in the same way our feet would develop a fungus if they stayed wet all of the time.

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

– At this point we recommend filling the hole about halfway with dirt. If your soil has little organic matter in it, or it is a highly compactible, we highly recommend mixing in either a soil conditioner or organic soil such as Black Cow or compost. At the half way point it is often a good idea to soak the soil to remove any air pockets located within the ground. You can then continue back filling the hole, packing it tightly as you go, until all of the soil has been used. Once the tree has been completely planted it should look like it was planted in a small mound.

– Cut the tie straps off of the top of the wire basket and remove them. These were used to stabilize the tree to the basket and at this point the earth is providing that stability.

– Loosen the burlap from around the trunk of the tree and peel it off of 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.

– Again at this point 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. This is particularly important during the drier times of the year as the surrounding dry soil will soak up a large amount of water during the first few initial waterings.

– 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 as quickly. 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. Piling mulch up along the trunk of a tree keeps the bark wet and eventually leads to rotting and provides  a source for infection. It’s a terrible tactic that occurs way too often in the landscape community.  A tree cannot survive with rotted bark at the base.

– Aftercare depends on the type of tree you buy and how well the soil drains in which it has been placed. All trees will need to be watered well. However, the amount depends upon the 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! There is no exact set amount of water for a tree. You have to monitor the tree and allow it to dry out between waterings. It is quite common for your yard to have wet areas and dry areas and you will have to water your plants accordingly. You HAVE to pay attention to them. Leaving them on an automatic watering system is a recipe for disaster. You have done all of the hard work up to this point . . . watering is the easy and relaxing part!  After the first year a tree will be more established and drought tolerant and require little to no additional attention.

– Lastly . . . when you see a beautiful landscape that means SOMEONE is working in it. One of the most important aspects to maintaining your new trees and other landscape plants is keeping them on a healthy diet. You feed your children and yourself and you have to feed your plants as well if you would like them to be healthy and vigorous. If you use a slow release fertilizer you only need to feed them 3 times a year. That’s a heck of lot easier than feeding yourself three times a day and the reward is beyond worth it! You will have a beautiful landscape with vigorous plants that produce copious amounts of lovely blooms and foliage!

Kinsey Family Farm b and b tree

Kinsey Family Farm b and b tree

Kinsey Family Farm b and b tree