- Planting a Pine Tree with a Burlap Root Ball
- After pine tree removal, take care before planting at site
- Pine Tree Care and Diseases
- How To Plant A Pine Tree From Seed
- Collect pinecones
- Pick out healthy seeds
- Float test your seeds
- Dry your seeds and wait
- Plant your seed!
- Wait some more
- Care for your seedling
- Transplant your sapling
- Find a permanent home
Planting a Pine Tree with a Burlap Root Ball
You can find a wide variety of ways to plant a pine tree, but one of the most popular for gardeners and landscapers is to use a burlap root ball. A burlap sack is used to cover the roots of an adolescent tree which was grown in a nursery or in a planting field. When it’s time to distribute and sell the little trees, they’re dug up and the roots are bound by the burlap sheet or sack. Twine is used to keep it tied down, and the trees are shipped to nurseries and retailers.
The burlap root ball is a popular way to grow many different plants but it’s especially effective with growing conifer trees. The key is in the digging of the hole meant to accommodate the root ball. The necessary supplies are a shovel and some fertilized topsoil—though it’s suggested you use peat or compost for fertilizer. This will depend on the breed of your tree.
Remember, when planting your balled-and-burlapped pine tree, always lift by the ball, never by the trunk.
Step 1 – Dig Hole
The first thing you have to do is dig a hole to accommodate the burlap root ball. You need the hole at least as deep as the ball is tall, but you need it 4 times the width of the ball. Keep your backfill soil, or the soil you’ll put back into the hole, on the side and get it ready with a bit of topsoil mixed with compost or peat.
Step 2 – Add Ball
Now that you’ve got a substantial hole in your yard, you can put your burlap root ball into the center of the hole. Be gentle, because you don’t want to break any of the roots. Once the ball is in the hole, carefully cut away the top third of the burlap, and take off any spare twine that may still be on the pine tree.
Step 3 – Plant the Tree
Have a helper hold up the tree straight while you add back the soil and topsoil mixture. Don’t pack down the soil, because you want to make sure the roots can get water, and that the roots are encouraged to grow beyond the root ball.
Add mulch to cover up the hole if you mind the way the newly-planted pine tree looks in your yard. This can also help nutrients filter down to the roots, and keep your yard or garden looking clean and deliberate.
Your tree is ready to grow right where you planted it. The natural burlap will decompose and provide even more nitrogen for your tree, which will help it grow thousands of healthy pine needles.
After pine tree removal, take care before planting at site
Q: We cut down three pine trees (in two different areas of the yard) that were more than 40 years old. We also had the stumps ground out. I would like to landscape the first area with grass. But where the other tree was removed, we’d like to create a mound and plant some shrubs and small trees there. How should I pre-treat the existing soil in both areas before planting? I am mainly concerned about the shrub-planting site because I don’t want to lose them. We will have topsoil delivered if necessary and I have a compost bin we could use as well. Also, how high should we make the mound to buffer the poor soil?
A: You are smart to consider the soil conditions before you begin to plant in these two sites. If you prepare the planting areas properly, it will definitely increase your chances of success. There are two different ways you can complete this task; one requires more patience and the other requires more work. I’ll outline them each in turn.
The first way is to not plant anything in either site until next spring. Letting the site rest for a season is good for several different reasons. First, the chips of wood left behind by the stump grinding process need time to break down. As the do so, they temporarily steal nitrogen from the soil, making plant growth initially difficult. This is often particularly evident when trying to grow grass in such an area. The grass will often be pale and spindly. Second, since the trees you had removed were pine, the soil there is likely to be quite acidic. Getting it tested through the Penn State Cooperative Extension will serve you well. The test results are likely to tell you that you need to add lime to counter the acidity of the area and additions of lime often take a few months to generate an effective pH change. If it were me, I would test the nearby soil now, add the recommended amount of lime and then retest in the spring (primarily because as the wood chips from the stump break down they too may further acidify the area). And thirdly, this technique is good because the site will probably settle quite a bit. The last thing you want is a big divot in the lawn or a sunken shrub bed with the root balls of the plants sticking out above the soil level.
The second option does require more work, but if you are anxious to get the areas planted, then do this: remove as many of the pine chips as possible from the area. Dig them out and pile them up next to your compost pile or somewhere to the side of the garden. Eventually they will break down (it might take two or three years) but when they do, you can use this compost somewhere in the garden. Once all the chips have been removed from the site, fill the hole with a mixture of topsoil and compost (I prefer a ratio 50/50). Since the area will probably settle, mound it up a little before planting, but without a resting period, how much it settles is a shot in the dark. You could end up with a bit of a divot or a hump in your lawn. This might not be too much of a factor for your shrub bed, but it will be for the grass site. If you go this route, be sure to get a soil test done next spring to check for pH and nutritional content and then adjust it according to their recommendations.
And one more bit of advice: be aware that grinding out a stump does not mean the complete removal of all the tree’s roots. It will be many years until the roots fully decompose. You may find them to be “in the way” of your shrub planting — so have a maul or pickaxe handy as you plant.<
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Pine Tree Care and Diseases
Chester County Resident
- “During a terrible rain/wind storm, a huge, old, double oak tree split and came crashing down in my next door neighbor’s driveway. I was given Brian Brunsch’s number at SavATree. They did meticulous work. With the exception of the stump still remaining for insurance evaluation, it doesn’t look like anything happened. A lesson that was learned is to have your trees monitored by a tree expert and SavATree is the company to call.”
Mortgage Professionals, Inc.
- “SavATree is organized and I love what I am doing. I can grow as an employee and the job is close to home. I like my job!”
- “I highly recommend David Wesley and his crew without any hesitation. In a field where there is an abundance of folks looking to take advantage of consumers with many trees on their lot, SavATree, David and crew strike me as incredibly honest and proud arborists which do a fantastic job. Thanks for a job well done. I look forward to continuing my relationship with SavATree and David.”
Silver Spring, MD
- “What touched me were the cooperative spirit and the energy and enthusiasm of the people at SavATree. There are so many institutions that are worthy of some kind of an altruistic spirit, and for our school to be selected for an Arbor Day activity is an honor. More then that, Steve Skyer and the people he works with spent a whole day with us. SavATree went out on a limb to plant and root a future for our school.”
New Rochelle, NY
- “Many, many thanks for the work you did at Updike Farm. The care you showed our fruit trees, maples, and ornamental cherries will offer them a chance to recover from years of neglect. With so many challenges facing the Society at the farm, it is reassuring to know that many of the trees have been professionally cared for.”
Gail S., Director
Historical Society of Princeton
- “Thank you for the wonderful lawn care and woodland management work you do!”
Old Lyme, CT
- “Your tree crew just finished removing two trees, and pruning another on my property. They were extremely neat and professional, making sure that everything was they way they found it. I could not be more satisfied. I definitely plan on using your company for any future tree work on my property, and will also heartily recommend you to anyone I know needing your services.”
- “I was speaking with my husband about all the workers we have had on our new landscape over the past year and a half and we are so pleased with you and your staff. I trust knowledge, experience, and expertise. I also would like to thank you for always being available should an issue arise. I feel like we are in the best of hands…Thanks so much for making our property beautiful.”
- “On behalf of the Township of Maplewood, I would like to take this opportunity to thank SavATree and especially your arborist, Lorainne, for the wonderful care that you are giving to the Township tree. The pruning that was performed by your arborists helped provide a much safer environment for pedestrians and vehicles in an extremely busy area. The work was carried out in a most professional manner with the utmost care.”
J. Todd Lamm
NJ Tree Expert
- “Absolutely one of the best in the business. We had to have our front tree taken down. The crew did a terrific job in the remove process. They left the site so clean that it was hard to tell they were there. One of the best companies I have done business with in years. The customer service as well as all the employees exceed all expectations. Well Done!”
- “The only problem I ever had was of the branches that were trimmed, some remained in the tree. The crew came back and got them all out. Ann and co. are all wonderful. I love them and your company.”
- “Let me say that Vassar’s association with SavATree has been very positive and we are achieving great success in managing our campus trees in terms of safety and aesthetics. And our insurance carrier is quite pleased with this effort. Vassar is pleased with SavATree and the work being performed on campus.”
Jeffrey H., Vassar College
- “Thank you for coming to our home yesterday to give us an evaluation on some of our trees, bushes and lawn. You always educate us how to improve our landscape endeavors. We also want to let you know how pleased we are with the improvement on our lawn after just one year of service. It was looking pretty pitiful this time last year. Thanks again for coming over. We were educated about our yard and got to talk about Lacrosse (the good ole’ days).”
Jerry and Sue F.
- “I am a highly satisfied customer of SavATree. I have never had a tree company that gave me such fine service. I attribute this to my arborist, Scot Boyce. He won me for life as a customer. I asked him to come look at a that was shading my terrace and discuss pruning it, but when he saw how beautiful it was, he advised me to leave the tree alone – a loss of business for your company, but a long term investment in customer loyalty.”
- “The Pleasantville Country Club has had the benefit of SavATree’s tree care services for more than ten years. Our experience with SavATree has been a very good one. We have found the staff to be very knowledgeable in all aspects of tree and shrub care. Equally impressive has been the reliability and enthusiasm of the staff members we have dealt with through the years.”
Pleasantville Country Club Corporation, Inc.
- “It is with pleasure that I can comment on the work done recently by your great work crew. You are very fortunate to have such a polite, professional, and exceptionally safe work crew. Work conditions don’t allow for conversation, they were able to communicate via hand and eye signals that enabled them to work in a highly efficient manner. Their appearance, manners and excellent equipment make for a winning combination.”
John K., Southbury, CT
- “I enjoy working at SavATree. Within the company there is a vast knowledge base of experience and I feel I am given the tools to perform my job efficiently. The company has high regards for safety. There is a progressive management strategy to continuously improve the organization. There is a variety of geographic markets for employment opportunities and the opportunity to travel for training.”
- “Allan Fenner gave me a mental vision of what the finished product would look like. During the day of the pruning, he came to the site a couple of times to offer further explanation of what the tree climbers were doing at the time and what was to follow. They were all very polite, competent in what they do and truly enjoy their work; the clean-up in front and back was meticulous.”
West Hartford, CT
- “Alan and crew did a tremendous job at our house. With great skill, they removed two large trees, trimmed another tree plus three other smaller projects. Alan engineered the project with with careful attention to safety. I appreciated his friendly helpful manner throughout the day and his willingness to accommodate us. Our thanks to them for a job well done.”
- “It is always a pleasure working with SavATree as your company provides the best plant, tree and lawn health care that we have experienced at the Ives. Always professional, courteous and responsive to our needs, SavATree’s services have provided our employees and patrons with pleasant outdoor experiences in an insect free environment for several years. Not only are SavATree’s treatments most effective but also delivered on time and with the utmost professionalism. In this business the show must go on and SavATree always ensures that it does!”
Kathleen G. Gallagher, Executive Director
The Charles Ives Center for the Arts
- “This is concerning the Certified Arborist, Thomas Marino. I have met him through SavATree. His care and concern for our home during the removal of our trees as well as his advice for future tree care has been exemplary. I look forward to working with him again in the near future.”
- “Speaking as Mayor of Briarcliff Manor, SavATree has contributed time to help protect some Hemlocks in our Law Park, which is really the showplace of our village. I wanted thank SavATree for their efforts and contribution to improving the quality of life in our village. always mentions our dogs. This is because we’ve requested no weed on their fenced in area and assures us of this when such applications are made…And in addition to that, our lawn looks great! Thank you for your great service.”
Kimberly and Bruce W.
Cape Cod, MA
- “I cannot say enough good things about your Old Saybrook office and the people who work there. I can say though, that it is due mainly to the people why I choose to do business there. I know that pricing is important, and your company is very competitive in the market here, but it’s the people that really make it work.”
Kristin C., CPO
Evergreen Woods North
- “I want to commend you and your associates for the great work and the great attitude shown on my job. They were on time, friendly, professional and caring about doing the job right. I will not hesitate to recommend you and to your company to anyone I meet who is considering tree work. I know they will thank me.”
- “Thank you so much for volunteering your time and talents. Sunset Lake Park looks beautiful and it’s all because of you!”
Asbury Park, NJ
- “I like working in a job that I am familiar with, taking care of customers properties in an environmentally responsible way with high quality equipment. The pay and benefits are good and I like the employee incentive programs. ”
- “For over 14 years, I have entrusted the care of my trees, plants and orchard to SavATree. Their highly qualified arborists have exacting standards and understand how to maintain the health and form of the various species of trees on my property. I admire the artistic skill that goes into the pruning and love the colorful blossoms, fruits and foliage that flourish as a result of their impeccable care.”
- “Thank you for making our lawn the best on our street. We have had many compliments.”
- “I came to SavATree because it offered me an opportunity for growth that my previous employer did not. SavATree provided me the career path that enabled me to provide for my growing family. Every promise that has been made to me has been kept. ”
- “Thank you for an excellent job. Your workers were very competent, very efficient, very clean- and, most of all, very polite!”
Hyannis Port, MA
- “I continue to work at SavATree because being able to work with true professionals daily to help clients achieve the vision that they desire on their landscapes while growing along with the company and always striving to be the best choice in the industry to service landscapes…that is what drives and motivates me daily and why I choose to have my career at SavATree/SavaLawn.”
- “My wife and I are very pleased with the professionalism and expertise of SavATree. The office manager was pleasant and professional during each of my calls. understood the tree services we needed and was very knowledgeable. Additionally, the professionals who performed the tree services were diligent, efficient and friendly. I would not hesitate to hire SavATree again and recommend their services without reservation.”
Dix Hills, NY
- “SavATree has worked closely with the National Trust for Historic Preservation to save and nurture trees at our historic sites. I appreciate the professionalism and dedication of SavATree’s knowledgeable arborists. Thank you for the work you have done to preserve and enhance the natural landscape of our historic sites.”
National Trust for Historic Preservation
- “I have just had my trees done. Getting to the trees on my property is very difficult because of the way the property is. I would like to thank the men that did the work for me…they worked very hard.”
Cortlandt Manor, NY
- “You take on a job, call it a problem, gigantic or small, and you go to it. True Professionals. I am at peace for having found SavATree. Sometimes bills are paid grudgingly. I pay with respect to a company whose pride lives up to its logo. It’s love of what you do and I thank you.”
Great Neck, NY
- “SavATree provides the best opportunity in the green industry for growth and great pay to support my family. The job is more challenging than what I was doing before but the workers are supported more here, than at other companies. I also appreciate that the company is more environmentally responsible compared to competitors. ”
- “I have been very happy with SavATree’s services. In particular, their Arbor Patrol program gives me peace of mind knowing that someone is regularly scouting for insect, disease and structural issues before they accelerate and threaten the health of our trees and plantings.”
- “Your support allowed us to provide an affordable community program and appreciation for our Veterans where over 3,000 people from this area came to celebrate the holiday season.”
- “I am happy with the work provided on March 26, and was especially happy with the professionalism of the crew and the crew leader’s willingness to talk to me and explain and answer various questions I had.”
Oak Park, IL
- “Their arborists are very knowledgeable and make appropriate recommendations to enhance the safety and beauty of our grounds. The SavATree crew pruned, and placed cables and braces in our mature sugar maples which outline our driveway to the club to preserve their life and magnificent presence. SavATree is a professional group, conscientious, on time and easy to work with.”
Timothy J. Strano
Concord Country Club
- “SavATree’s crosscut sawing activity at Historic Hudson Valley’s River Day festival at Van Cortlandt Manor was a wonderful addition to the event and a huge hit with our visitors. As always, your staff did a superb job- the skill with which they interact with the public is just extraordinary. All of us at Historic Hudson Valley are most grateful for SavATree’s partnership.”
Historic Hudson Valley, NY
- “We appreciate the time and attention that your Arbor Patrol team takes to maintain the overall health and appearance of the trees, bushes and general grounds. You can only have one first impression and the impression the grounds make on both residents and visitors alike is always positive. Just as the trees continue to grow and blossom under your care, we hope our relationship with SavATree does the same.”
How To Plant A Pine Tree From Seed
Planting trees is a rewarding experience for everyone involved. You get the satisfaction of caring for the Earth and future generations get the satisfaction of sitting in the shade you made for them! What’s not to love?
Planting trees is a fairly simple process, but like a good recipe, there are certain steps you have to take in order for a little tree seed to grow into a big, strong, healthy, long-living tree.
One simple way to grow a tree is to plant a pine tree from seed. Pine trees are evergreens, meaning they keep their green needles all year ’round. This makes them excellent windbreak trees in the winter and adds splashes of greens and blues to the landscape
Here’s how to plant a pine tree from seed:
The best time to collect pinecones for seed extraction is in the autumn. During the fall months, between September and November, the pinecones open up and drop to the ground, releasing their seeds.
Pick out healthy seeds
Once you have your pinecones, tap them gently to get the tree to release the seeds. Pick out healthy, intact looking seeds. Avoid seeds that seemed chipped, smaller than the others, or any that might have mold growing on them.
Float test your seeds
One easy way to separate viable seeds from duds is to float test them. Simply place your seeds in a bowl of water. If they float, plant them! If they sink, discard them.
Dry your seeds and wait
Unfortunately, the process of planting a pine tree from seed is a bit of a lengthy one. There’s some waiting involved. Once you’ve float tested your seeds, thoroughly dry them off and store them in an airtight container until planting season, which is in December.
Plant your seed!
Now for the exciting part! Once December/early January have come around, it’s time to plant your seed. Plant your seed in a small pot with soil. Place the seed just under the surface with the pointed part of the seed facing down. It should be verticle in the hole. Water and set near a sunny window.
Wait some more
Now for the not so exciting part! Now it’s time to wait. And wait. And wait some more. Your pine tree likely won’t emerge from the soil until March of April. But keep it watered and don’t move it from that sunny window!
Care for your seedling
Once your pine tree has sprouted, take good care of it. Watch it closely. The tree will try to lean toward the sun. Take care to turn it periodically so that it will continue to grow straight.
Transplant your sapling
Once your pine tree is about 6-12 inches tall, it’s time to transplant to a bigger pot. Select a 1 gallon pot, fill with soil, and gently transplant your sapling. You can now move your sapling outdoors.
Find a permanent home
Once your sapling has begun to outgrow its one gallon pot, it’s time to find a permanent home for your tree. Select a spot that’s right for the type of pine tree you selected.
Want to remember your tree forever? Immortalize it by drawing it! Here’s an awesome tutorial on how to draw pine trees.
Two methods are used for planting tree seedlings: hand planting and machine planting. Both are acceptable.
Hand planting is more common on steeper terrain or in forested areas that have been recently harvested. Hand tools are used to penetrate the soil and create an opening for the roots. Once the seedling is planted, the hole is resealed with the tool and foot pressure.
A machine planter is normally pulled behind motorized equipment with a 3-point hitch.
The planter has a coulter to slice through the soil, a foot to pull the machine below
surface level, trencher plates for opening the soil for seedling placement, and packing
wheels to re-close and compress the soil. Machine planting as compared to hand
planting generally has slightly better survival rates, delivers more consistency in spacing
and works best when converting old fields to forest.
Keep in mind
Care should be taken not to “J-root” seedlings (depicted by the image in the bottom row, center), but rather leave the root in a natural, vertical position. Plant seedlings deep, at least to the original level planted while in the nursery, as noted by the darkened ring where the lower stem meets the roots. It is better to plant slightly too deep than too shallow. Make sure that all air pockets are sealed by applying pressure to the soil surrounding the seedling.
Straighten seedlings as needed.