Posts Tagged ‘New Jersey Landscape construction’

Landsape Construction, Cutting Edge, Not Cutting Roots!

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008

Cipriano Farms embraces sustainability and adopts the latest techniques in large tree moving, resulting in increased survival rate of larger trees.

Air spade technology, which was originally developed to locate landmines in war zones, is a  technique that utilizes compressed air to unearth the root system and tree trunk, which keeps all of the fibrous roots intact. Barerooting a tree with an air spade retains up to 95 percent of the root mass, as opposed to spaded or hand dug trees, which only retains 30 to 50 percent.

Arborists and professional tree surgeons, initially used the air spade to locate the flares of trees that were planted too deep in the ground and to reduce root compaction commonly occurring during construction  which could eventually kill the trees.

In addition to keeping fibrous roots intact, the air spade reduces the time necessary for the tree to re-establish itself in the new location and allows the tree to be planted in different soil types without the risk of hindering root growth. Without a cumbersome rootball, the air spade method allows landscapers the ability to move much larger trees with a lot less difficulty. Smaller equipment can be utilized resulting in reduced machinery and clean-up costs.

Traditionally, the normal digging time for deciduous trees is limited to the spring and fall. Airspading allows certain trees in full leaf to be transplanted without any signs of stress, regardless of season.

While not all trees are suitable for bare root transplanting, the simplicity of the process, numerous benefits and the overall cost savings make air spading a trend that is sure to take root in the landscape design and nursery industries for years to come.

Most B&B nursery stock you find have root balls that have been mechanically spaded. Tree spading is a method in which metal blades are hydraulically driven into the ground in a circular pattern to scoop up the rootball. The rootball is then wrapped in burlap and put into a wire basket.

The two most common causes of damage associated with mechanical spading are rootball compression and  undersized rootballs. Off-center spading is also a common issue which tends to cause severe branch loss and dieback. As the size of the trees increase, the recovery time also increases and if the tree has not properly dug it will have a hard time recovering. Due to the indiscriminate cutting of roots during the spading process, we seldom uses this method on specimen trees and don’t recommend it.

Our preferred method of transplanting large caliper trees has been hand digging. Also known as drum lacing, this method utilizes manual labor to dig and secure the trees rootball. After digging, the rootball is wrapped in burlap and tightly drumlaced with sisal for support.

Amongst the benefits, the digger can selectively cut the roots of the tree thus preserving important portions of the root system. For top specimen tree growers, this has been their preferred method of transplanting for many years.

A major limitation with the hand dug method is that conventional machinery is known to have difficulties managing large rootballs, which can weigh upwards of 15 tons. Mishandling can cause the dirt to shift within the root ball resulting in root shearing which is detrimental to the tree.

We have had great success with bareroot digging large caliper trees on our 10 acre farm in Mahwah NJ. and are extremely excited to offer this service to landscapers and homeowners.