Mature tree planting


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Hi, apologies for the long question, but I'm in a bit of a bind. I'm trying to figure out if the following is something I should be concerned with or not. Specifically, I bought 3 mature trees (2 Vanderwolf Pines about 12 feet tall, and 1 Korean Fir). Upon delivery by the local nursery one of the vanderwolf's had a very loose root ball (e.g. it wasn't firm in the burlap). The nursery employee suggested I still plant the tree and hope the tree takes root. He fastened it to two stakes to hold it firmly in the ground. Over the last week since they were planted I've watered all the trees as they stated (every other day for 30-60 minutes) but this one vanderwolf is still very loose in the ground with wiggle room of maybe 6 inches (e.g. holding trunk mid tree from one side to the other with minimal effort).

I was told prior to purchasing the trees, on the day the nursery planted the trees, and again yesterday that the trees have a guarantee that if there's a problem I'll get another tree or a refund. Yesterday I emailed the nursery assistant pictures of the tree, he didn't respond so I went to the nursery to discuss it with him. He did say I could choose another tree or get a refund. I looked through their selection but they did not have any more vanderwolfs in stock. I returned to their office to see about the refund. The assistant was gone, but the owner was in; and so I summarized the problem to him. The owner said I had a live tree in the ground so he didn't see the problem. When I emphasized my concern that "his business is closing its doors in July and he's not sure if/when he'll re-open to the public so how would I get a refund on a dead tree if he's not open"; he suddenly became very defensive and said that if I didn't change my tone he would ask me to leave. He also got closer to me. It was really out of left field and pretty sudden too; so prudence being the better part of valor I realized there was little use in continuing the conversation and just left.

Anyways, I still have an expensive and wobbly tree in the ground. Not sure if this tree will "take root". I'm not happy with the prospect of losing the tree and being out of the money too ($550); especially when I was told there was a guarantee. Any help as far as if the vanderwolf has potential or is it obviously not going to take root? FYI, I don't have a green thumb, so apologies in advance (but I did google to see planting tips, etc).
 
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Welcome to the forum. :)

he suddenly became very defensive and said that if I didn't change my tone he would ask me to leave.
He knows he's wrong that's why he became defensive. The fact that he's closing his doors suggests he hasn't been very successful with his business. However, he could have offered to order another one for you and arrangements could have been made to collect it. Was the guarantee just verbal or written? If it was only verbal then unfortunately I don't think you will gain anything from this person. You could seek legal help of course.

Regarding the tree - before it was planted were the roots properly intact with the base of the tree and looking normal apart from the root ball looking loose? And none were damaged? I'm assuming you mean that the root ball wasn't as well developed as the other tree? if they looked okay then I don't see why the tree shouldn't continue to develop more roots and eventually establish itself. Meanwhile I suggest you stop wiggling the tree to allow the roots to gain a grip in the soil. It will take a few months for them to get a proper hold. Later in the year, perhaps mid October try a gentle wiggle then, you will feel a resistance if the roots are establishing themselves.

Is it possible for you to attach a picture of the lower half of the tree please so I can see how it's staked?
 
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Thank you for your response... I ended up contacting the credit card company and they've given me a temporary credit. I'm still waiting to see if he responds to the credit card company and what the final result will be (the guarantee was verbal).

I did a background check on him (e.g. property records, court search) and see he has several years worth of unpaid property taxes as well as some court cases too (tax warrants and business lawsuits prior to the nursery).

I wish I could tell you more about the root ball, but the nursery employees that planted the three trees said they were going to leave the burlap sack over the root ball on all three trees so I never saw the actual roots. Two of the trees are firm in the ground but one is wobbly. As far as the quality of this one tree's root ball when they planted it, it appeared that the dirt became very loose (or crumbled even) when they moved it from the truck with the Bobcat tractor; that's when one of the employees made the comment that the rootball shouldn't be like that. Anyways, he subsequently took the Bobcat's fork and applied a lot of pressure to the ball (as if to squish it in place).

Thanks again.
 

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Hi echinwa,
Just for those who are thinking of going down the same road as you did, (planting very mature trees) your taking on a very big task ,
Your asking both the tree and the ground plus the weather to all fall into one,
Ie the tree to root after its been settled in it first growing area and then been removed, the roots disturbed plus shock, yes plants do suffer shock
and the tree to stop feeding whats above ground, the wind not to come along , and for a tree to re-settle in the new ground once its tall is againg needing some really good ground prep, and staking and Now its in we're trying to get the roots to take (grow) and the above ground tree to be continuing to be able to face its new conditions, even if the re-plant was done at the correct time of the year ie dormont time when feed for top growth is at a slow pace, the roots would have stored all the tree needs for this time of the year, if the root system its'nt complete then how is it going to do its job?
I'd be very very careful of taking on such a task,
Ive removed two 8ft trees here myself and i took as much root ball out as poss, very little trimming of the roots, and i also made sure i had as much of the soil from the ground were the tree came from, Now all this was in my own garden from one side to the other,
One tree is living and doing well its 40feet high now, the other one died these tree's are monkey puzzle tree,
Garden centre's sell you a very neat "rag wrapped' root ball, you need to know how long has that tree been sitting there,
even if its dug out while you wait, you've a lot of prep on your side that needs doing and re-plant it as soon as you can?
 
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It was a wise move of yours to contact the credit card company. (y) It's now a case of wait and see with the response you get if any.

I did a background check on him (e.g. property records, court search) and see he has several years worth of unpaid property taxes as well as some court cases too (tax warrants and business lawsuits prior to the nursery).
As you and I suspected!

It will take a while for the roots to break through the burlap sack and establish themselves. If they were my trees I would have removed those before planting as they will delay the process. They've staked the trees fairly well and I hope they've placed one stake on each tree on the prevailing wind side to prevent heave ( the roots pulling out) in strong winds.

As far as the quality of this one tree's root ball when they planted it, it appeared that the dirt became very loose (or crumbled even) when they moved it from the truck
That would suggest the soil and the root ball were dry. At the moment the tree looks healthy but keep an eye on it and the others for any browning of needles/leaves. It may be worth your while speaking to an arborist who will have greater experience of trees.
 
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Gardening is supposed to be a hobby to enjoy and also deal with like minded people, "But" as they saying goe's one bad apple rots the entire bag,
I do understand what running a business is all about and i also understand whats its like to never worry about looking over your shoulder because you've ripped someone off,
I really do hope you get your tree's sorted out, i really do,(y)
 
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