Leyland Cypress Ball and Burlap Planting - Part1 - Unloading the Truck

Leyland Cypress ball and burlap(B&B) trees move with great success. We want to cover; the best way to unload the truck, best equipment for unloading, advantages of pre-digging the holes, and exactly how to place and straighten the trees without distressing the root-ball to trunk connection, and the best use of your planting team.

Ttreat the Trucker Right!

Leyland Cypress ball and burlap trees will arrive on a flat bed truck. Standard trucking rules will allow a two hour window for unloading, after which the customer will pay the trucker $100 per hour for additional time needed. This is paid in cash directly to the trucker. Usually the trucker will cut the twine that is holding the tarp in place, but give him a hand when it is time to pull the tarp off the trees, and do help him with throwing it back onto the truck after unloading, especially if it is wet.

Taking the Trees Off the Truck

I have a short 7' piece of 3/8 chain I made up, and attached a hook on each end. Drape that chain across about four teeth on the bobcat bucket so there is about 2' hanging down on both sides of those teeth. Gently lower the bucket down so the hooks are touching the root-balls you want to hook to. Have one helper stay up on the truck to hook the chains to the top strand of the wire baskets. If you are unloading 22" or 28" root-ball trees, you can take two at a time by hooking the chains to the wire basket two different trees. Hook to the top strand of both wire baskets. If you are unloading 36" root-ball trees, hook both chains to the same root-ball, hook to the top strand at two points at least 16 to 24 inches apart. You can also hook one of the hooks to a lower strand of the wire basket and the other one to the top strand. Remember the goal now is to just unload the truck so at this point the trees do not have to be hooked any special way. It is nice if the trees travel about 45% angle to upright. If you have a lot of trees, have one helper that stays on the truck to hook chains, and one that stays on the ground. Once you gently lift the trees, back up and turn the bobcat so the trees are clear of the truck, then gently lower the bucket so the trees are only about 2' above ground. You should travel with the trees hanging close to the ground like this in case a wire basket breaks, the Leyland Cypress tree will not fall far enough to damage it. Have your helper on the ground walk along holding the tips of the trees as you travel, so they do not swing back and end up under the bobcat treads. Goal now is to line them up is some way so you can move them to the holes after the trucker is paid and gone. Using forks to unload requires that the man (or men) on the truck stand each tree straight up on its pointed root-ball so the bobcat operator slides the forks around the point of the root-ball. I used to unload using this approach; I do not recommend it at all. It is easy for someone to get hurt with all that lifting up on the truck.

Best Equipment for Unloading

I almost always use a T190 bobcat and a bucket with teeth.One point about using rental equipment, like I do; always have the equipment delivered the evening before your trees will arrive. Tell the rental company it has to be delivered the evening before. I personally like to go by the jobsite that evening and pull the key out so no teenagers will go for a joyride. I almost always request a T190 equivalent Bobcat.

Using a Dingo to Plant Trees.

If you are planting smaller trees, like 7' tip size in a 22" , you can use a Dingo and may have to if you have a 3' wide gate to go through with the trees. One point on using a Dingo: It may be rated to lift 500 lbs, meaning you can use it to handle the 28" root-ball trees, but it will not lift high enough to allow unloading as described above using chains from above the root-balls. You will have to get forks with your dingo, then you will only have to lift as high as the truck bed or a little higher if Leyland Cypress trees are stacked two high. The man on the truck will have to do more lifting etc, since the trees need to be stood up straight to slide the forks under the root-ball. If you stop too quickly with a 500 lb tree on the forks of a Dingo, your machine will likely tip forward. If you had a tractor trailer bringing only a half load of 28" root-ball trees for example being 40 instead of a full load of 80-90 trees, you could use a Dingo with forks and would only have one layer of Leyland Cypress trees it wouldn't be too bad. One issue with using a Dingo; assuming you are going to also dig the holes with the same machine, it is easy to blow the hydraulic seals in the Dingo auger head by digging in rocky ground. Use a bobcat instead with the more powerful hydraulics whenever possible. For example your Bobcat with delivery and auger attach might cost 650$ vs. the 450$ Dingo, but remember once you have the auger head started pouring fluid, you job is at a stop until the equipment rental company sends a repair man out, and then only if they have a second auger head they are willing to bring you. They will realize your rocky soil has ruined one auger head and if they have another one ready to bring won't likely let your job damage a second one. I remember the last Dingo rental of mine turned out exactly that way, I had half my holes dug when it started pouring fluid, the repair didn't come all day, finally a neighbor came with a backhoe and headlights and saved the day by digging my holes. Always rent a machine with higher carrying capacity than your trees will weigh. 22" root-balls trees weight 250 lbs, 28" root-ball trees weigh 500 lbs, 36" root-ball trees weigh 1,000 lbs, and 44" root-ball trees weigh 1,500 lbs if Leyland Cypress, Thuja Green Giant, Nellie Stevens Holly or Cryptomeria Yoshino varieties. The same size root-balls on trees like Red Maple, etc will be lighter.

Tree weight based upon Root-Ball Size

Larger Leyland Cypress trees (44" root-ball and above) it is very difficult since they weigh 1,500 lbs and up. Trees with 44" root-ball and bigger from our nursery will have seat belt material woven through the wire basket. When you hook your chain to that seat belt material, be sure to hook to the "X" where they cross, so you are distributing the weight on both straps.

Safety First

While your chains from the bucket are hooked on one or more trees you are planning to ease off the truck, you can knock a neighboring tree off the truck. There is danger to anyone standing on the ground near where the trees come off the truck. Your man on the ground may walk along holding the tips to your drop area, but don't let him be in there close to the truck where the trees first come off. One thing to watch for that causes an additional tree to get dragged off the truck is the twine wrapped around the limbs of one tree can become hooked to a lose piece of wire on the root-ball of a tree you are lifting off. Also, renting a bobcat and doing clearing work etc is a fine way to learn how to run a bobcat. Don't learn how to run a bobcat by renting one to unload a tractor trailer of trees! Your bucket movements need to be smooth and easy when working so close to your helpers to be safe. While you are learning you will occasionally move a controller the wrong direction and also you will not get smooth with the controls until you have run it 8 hours or so. Always rent a bobcat with higher carrying capacity than your trees will weigh. 22" root-balls trees weight 250 lbs, 28" root-ball trees weigh 500 lbs, 36" root-ball trees weigh 1,000 lbs, and 44" root-ball trees weigh 1,500 lbs if Leyland Cypress or Thuja Green Giant varieties. The same size root-balls on trees like Red Maple, etc will be lighter of course.

Watterson tree farm is a family business, David, his wife and sons have developed proven techniques that include proper spacing approach, fall planting considerations, tree staking, fertilizer selection based on season, also how to plant on a slope(hills), and the effects of shade on evergreen trees.See our website for more info http://wattersontreefarm.tripod.com ..

This article was published on 06 Jun 2012 and has been viewed 1522 times
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