This section is from the book "The Standard Cyclopedia Of Horticulture Vol2", by L. H. Bailey. See also: Western Garden Book: More than 8,000 Plants - The Right Plants for Your Climate - Tips from Western Garden Experts.
To get the ball free from the subsoil, dig under all around and tip the tree slightly. Level off the bottom with a fork. If there are tap-roots, tunnel under and cut them with a saw. Put a platform as far under as possible and tip the tree back. To get the ball in the center of the platform, put a hammock around the ball and pull. Hold the platform in position by crowbars driven in front of it. Lash the ball to the platform, make an incline, drag the platform out of the hole onto a truck or sled. Skids with small wheels set in them about 1 foot apart enable a team to load a ball quickly. With balls 10 to 15 feet feet in diameter and 20 inches deep, jacks and pipe rollers are needed.
Fig. 1457. Transporting a large evergreen tree.
Trees over 10 feet need to be tipped over to go under wires. If the canvas is put on tight and at the proper taper, and if the ball is cut flat to fit close to the platform and lashed tight to the platform, the tipping can be done without the ball shaking loose. Sometimes a canvas or burlap bottom can be put between the platform and the ball. In unloading, the tree is stood up, team hooked to the platform and the tree dragged off to the ground. The tree may drop 2 feet without injury. The platforms are dragged to the hole and balls less than 4 feet rolled into the hole. Larger balls have the platform dragged into the hole and the platform pulled out holding the tree in position by a hammock. To straighten the tree, tramp the earth solid under it until it stands erect. Take off the canvas, spread out the side roots, pack the earth and anchor as with deciduous trees. Keep the ball moist; examine it once a month or more often by digging or boring into the ball during the first two years. Evergreens moved with a too small ball or with not enough fibers in the ball or with the watering neglected, may grow 3 inches a year for the first two or three years.
If properly moved, they will grow 6 inches or more a year - half their normal growth.
Deciduous trees may be moved with balls of earth by the above method, and it has proved an aid with difficult species, as beech, oak, liquidambar, tulip. Especially when previously transplanted or root-pruned, the above trees 3 1/2 inches in diameter moved with a ball of earth 4 feet in diameter are very successful, while without a ball many are lost or the growth is much slower. Investigation should be made to see whether this is because of less disturbance of the roots or because there is carried with the roots and soil a mycelium of a fungus which aids the roots to take up plant-food and moisture.
The time of year for moving trees is of minor importance. It is overemphasized by purchaser, landscape architects and nurserymen, and results in heavy financial loss to nurserymen in congesting sales and their own planting in the short spring season. It greatly lessens the total amount of planting needed for forest, shelter - belt, landscape, fruit, and other economic purposes. A nurseryman may plant all the year. Evergreens can be taken up with a ball of earth even in May and June. The new growth may curve down. After June 20, the spruces, and after July 10, the pines, are firm enough not to wilt. August-September sales with a ball of earth are just as successful as April. The ground is warm and the roots grow rapidly; the ground can be made moist. Weather in September is less dry than in May and June.
Small evergreens up to 2 feet high may be planted in August and September from one part of the nursery to another without balls of earth, if the roots are very carefully dissected out without breaking. There will be more failures if the week following planting is hot and dry.
Planting with balls of earth may continue all winter, especially if the ground is mulched to keep out the frost and permit economical digging of the tree and the hole. The frozen ball of earth is an old method, frequently' referred to, but is not an aid. If the ball is frozen solid and remains so for one or two months with dry winds, the top may dry out and die as has occurred with red cedar. If the ball is not frozen, sap can come up to take the place of that lost by transpiration.
A ball of earth 3 feet in diameter is needed for an evergreen 8 to 10 feet high; 4½ feet in diameter for an evergreen 15 feet high, except red cedar which can have a ball 3 feet; a ball of earth 12 feet in diameter is needed for a pine 35 feet high. Root - pruning pines, spruce and hemlock, permits moving the following year with a smaller ball than otherwise. In root-pruning, the trench can go three-quarters of the way around or three or four of the larger roots can be left across the trench to keep the tree from blowing over. Root-pruning of red cedars is of less advantage and is rarely practised. In New England and northern New York, the pine, spruce and hemlock, have only a few coarse roots just under the surface and no roots extending 2 feet deep. When moved to better-drained soils on the coastal plain, they develop deeper roots and have ten times as many fibers in a ball 4 feet in diameter. The above evergreens with their shallow root-systems can be taken up with a disc of roots, peat and grass 8 inches deep and 3 to 4 feet wide. This can be set on a wagon and trees 10 to 15 feet high easily moved. Less roots will be broken or bare if the ball is tied in burlap. The usual cause of failure in this operation is neglect of watering.
Hemlocks and probably other trees will be aided by shading for the first two months.
Fig. 1458. Picea excelsa, the Norway spruce. One of the most popular coniferous evergreens.
Fig. 1459. Picturesque field pine, remnant of a forest.
Fig. 1460. The beauty of young evergreens lies in their symmetry and the preservation of the lower limbs.