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Landscape Design: Rainbarrels  

from Plants Daily Post Sierra Club founded 1892 

Tree Holes

More often than not, bidding out a landscape plan builds its own set of pitfalls into the quality of the job ultimately. As an independent designer and consultant, I have witnessed from the humblest to the highest of landscape contractors, shortcuts and fudging born of promising too much in order to clinch a deal, only to find themselves up against it once the job begins, for one reason or another. Exactly at that moment it begins to come out of whatever the contractor estimated for materials and labor, and most assuredly, things will not end up as well as they should have.

To keep expenses low, one of the most important steps which has been dispensed with almost altogether, on the basis that "no one does it," is the proper preparation of a hole for planting a tree. Despite sheets of details on plans of Landscape Architecture as well as easy to understand State publications readily available to contractors, the procedure isn't followed. Namely, there should be enough excavation of the hole for planting mix to go underneath the tree in the bottom of the hole, chopped in somewhat to whatever substrate may be below, and once the trees is set, the hole should be backfilled with very good soil.

Worse is when the ground is rocky or compacted requiring more time in labor to excavate a proper hole. In fact, any aspect of a landscape job requiring more than anticipated labor results in loss of quality somewhere to the purchaser; the solution in the case of tree holes has become placing trees partially, sometimes right on top of the ground and creating a "landscape berm" to the customer, or "debris hill," as I know them, around the root ball of the tree.

In short, to grow a good plant, start with a good hole, is a good rule to observe. After all, we are growing trees for tomorrow, not just turning over nursery stock. It is a waste to plant a beautifully grown field tree a nurseryman has worked twelve years or so to produce in a bad hole.


Daily Post text by Leigh Fulghum

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