planting big trees

Who has experience with or has planted large trees? I've been asked to put 3 of 20ft high leylandi and 10 of 10ft high photinia. Just wondering should I planting just the same just with a larger hole? Also more importantly how much is reasonable to price? I'm thinking just under £500 or does that sound to cheap? Bear in mind the size of the pot these things are coming in is about 3ft deep with diameter of about 2ft.

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  • PRO

    You're going to need mechanical handling equipment and be carefull not to damage the bark with rough handling. Who is responsile for watering, etc? Expensive to replace trees that size if they die. Stakes will want to be substantial- potential for big claims if one falls over.

    • Hi Ben, thanks for your reply. I've never moved and planted anything of this size before but I'm thinking moving equipment may be excessive? So we have 3 laylandi approx 20ft high in a pot 3ft high with dia of about 2 ft. I'm guessing total weight will be around 100 kg. Would it not be feasable for 3 or 4 guys to load onto a pallet truck and move to position. Dig large deep hole and stake, then plant? 

      • PRO

        You’re right at the edge of what can be safely manually handled I’d suggest. 

        When we’ve done a few specimen trees at business parks we’ve always used anchoring systems especially for an evergreen (whose branches will be instantly at mercy if any winds with no time to root.There’s a lot of weight up top).

        Recommend a watering loop as well.

        As Ben said, know your liability after planting ....

      • PRO

        Pallet truck will be hopeless on anything other than flat concrete. A mini digger for the day will make light work of digging the hole, moving the tree and then lowering it safely into the hole. It'll also support it in exactly the right position whilst you backfill and stake or anchor. You'll then only need two men (or just one if he knows what he's doing and the RA says lone working is fine on that particular site). And the mini digger will cost less to hire than a days wages.

        I'd say that's a no brainer ;-)

        Main thing to be careful of is the strop slipping up the trunk and damaging the bark. I'd carefully clamp the pot between bucket and blade to move, and then use a nice wide strop and gentle movements to lift and lower. When lifting, take the bucket off and use the lifting eye on the quick hitch. Take an abrasive cutter to cut the pot off, it's much easier.

  • All makes sense. I will call the supplier of the trees tomorrow to get more info. Thanks for your help guys

    • PRO

      Does anyone have a rough guide to weight of pot per litre ? 

      Say a 100 litre pot -- if its damp/wet surely that would be 100 kilos just at pot volume with then extra to consider regarding the plants top growth 

      I know nurseries will generally keep plants dry before transport to keep costs down which effects any guess work but is there any rough formaulae for estimating weight per pot size ?

      • PRO

        I know a rough guide is that 1m3 of ‘soil’ equals about 1.6t from memory, so logic suggests ~ 160kg of soil + tree

        However, they normally use a lightweight OM mix for containerised trees.

        I might know a bit more by end of Friday as I’m on a CPD day at a major tree provider this week.

        • PRO

          That sounds a very interesting day Gary - 

          I think its going to be impossible to guess due to as you say either using a light soil mix or keeping them dry for transport costs 

          But in theory if it was water in the pot -- it would be 1litre = 1 kilo i believe -- so if the soil was wet it should be the same. 

          I had a client ask for me to plant a tree the other day in a 125 litre pot and as a guess id say even dry it was plus 150kg so an absolute no no without machinery. 


          • Speaking to suppliers today, I was told the pot is 240litres and in there opinion which could be very inaccurate approx 150 kg in weight. But apparently 2 men can manoeuvre by tipping on their sides which is useless considering the side access is very narrow. I’m wondering if I should pass up on the job at the risk of it being to much hassle

            • PRO

              If one goes all ‘HSE manual handling’ about it you’re way outside of any recommendations, especially if you put an employee at risk on injury.

              The other way to look at it, how much are my back and limbs worth if I can’t use mechanical assistance....  ?

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