Large Box Trees & Palm Planting

When many people think about planting trees, they think about planting small saplings. We all know that older trees tend to be quite large. It is then obviously easier to plant young, smaller trees. But this isn’t always possible, or desired. Occasionally, local regulations require removed trees be replaced by large box trees. At other times, a large box tree, or a palm tree, is what the client wants. These are essentially trees sold in planters. These planters range in size from five gallons to fifteen, to even larger. The larger trees generally require cranes to move transport, much less even plant.

Planting large box trees and palms is a challenge that often requires special equipment. It also comes with a unique set of challenges. However, despite some disadvantages, there are great benefits to be had for any landscape.

What are the advantages of planting large box trees?

From a practical standpoint, building a landscape from scratch is faster if more mature plants and trees are used. If you need to establish trees quickly for your backyard, or for a commercial client, large box trees are the way to go. For landscapers, and for clients, a large box tree offers a good look at what you’re going to get in the next few years. This also helps get a landscape to look as a client wants sooner rather than later.

Additionally, establishing large box trees is cheaper and easier than trying to move a full-sized tree that has spent decades on another property. For commercial properties, large box trees let arborists fill gaps in the landscape quickly. If multiple trees need to be removed as safety risks, they are just as quickly replaced by trees nearer to maturity. The relative ease of replacing trees also allows for dramatic changes to a landscape, if that is what a client wants.

Another advantage to a large box tree is that their roots are often planted in highly nutritious soil blends. A good nursery that offers high-quality product will have very healthy trees to select from. Healthier trees have a much greater chance of surviving and thriving at their new home.

The disadvantages

While large box trees do have certain positives in terms of convenience, there are some other factors to consider. An obvious disadvantage is cost.  Large box trees are expensive to acquire. The larger they are, the more expensive. The costs also include the actual planting process. Larger trees require cranes to safely move on or off a transport truck, as well as to plant.

One potential disadvantage is the containers themselves. The nutrient-rich soil inside the containers are perfect for keeping trees alive and healthy at a nursery. However, after an extended period of time, the tree can develop serious problems because of the restrictions of that container. Girdling roots are possible in that relatively small space, a potentially fatal flaw if not detected and dealt with before planting.

The other major disadvantage is the soil itself. Oftentimes, where a tree is being planted is not going to have soil as nutrient-rich as what is in the container. The density of the soil in the container may also not be the same as the new home. In both cases, the tree’s growth is potentially slowed or stunted as the root system struggles to extend out into the new environment.

A note on palm trees

Palm trees can be particularly expensive to purchase and plant. Protecting this investment starts before you even purchase the tree. As with other species of trees, planting young, or near-mature palm trees has similar advantages and disadvantages.

Many palm trees are best planted during warmer months, which contrasts against other types of trees. It is best to get the palm tree you want assessed by an ISA-qualified arborist, to detect potential problems before they surprise you.

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Are large box trees a good or bad solution for a landscape?

It depends entirely on what a property owner wants, or what local regulations require. There are certain cities whose local ordinances require tree replacements be made with large box trees. Additionally, there is no denying the relative ease of selecting trees that look closer to what they will ultimately grow into on your property. It’s one thing to look at pictures of trees in a book or on the internet. It’s entirely something else to see in person.

There is also no denying the disadvantages and the costs associated with planting them. However, many of those disadvantages can be mitigated with professional assistance. A company like Fallen Leaf Tree Management excels at selecting good tree specimens, transporting, planting, and maintaining newly established trees.

While the cost of planting large box trees is high, it can be just as expensive to remove and replace trees that fail in unsuitable environments. It helps to get the experience of a certified professional to ensure that your investment doesn’t go to waste.

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