Shipping and Handling
B&B Trees

From our years of experience with the handling of B & B material, we recommend the following procedures to ensure survivability and maintenance of quality.


If a forklift is available to drive into the truck, the balls can be lifted directly on the forks. Otherwise, they will need to be drug to the back of the truck utilizing hooks and chains. Note that the wire baskets are not designed with this in mind, so several hooking points may be required or, preferably, wrap a strap around the ball and pull out with the strap. Note that the tops of the trees may be tied together during the loading process, so be watchful as the trees are pulled out.



Several methods can be used for unloading, either a loader with forks or a loader with straps. Often the only equipment available will be a loader with a bucket or a backhoe. These can be used but extra care is required to prevent causing damage to the trunk.

Trunk protectors can prevent minor damage due to trunk-to-root ball contact, but sharp edges and heavy impacts will still cause damage.

Certain species have particularly sensitive trunks and should be handled with extra care. Some examples are Acer rubrum, Tilia, Acer palmatum, Cornus and Gleditsia.


Dormant Handling

Tops can remain tied up while trees are dormant, but it is important to untie them before leaves emerge. If planting is not anticipated until after growth has begun, it is best to untie the tops and stand the trees up. Covering the root balls with mulch will retain moisture and prevent damage from freezing temperatures.


Summer Handling

Depending on the amount of growth and the prevailing temperatures, summer handling of B & B stock does not allow for much margin for error. The trees will probably have lost moisture during transport, so immediately following unloading, water should be available to re-wet the root ball and keep the foliage cooler. The tops should be untied and the trees either planted immediately or stored upright in mulch with irrigation. Trees should not be allowed to stay lying down, tied up on asphalt as the leaves will burn and desiccate. If necessary, trees can be laid down, untied and kept under sprinklers for a few days. It is important to elevate the tops so that leaves do not touch the ground or they may burn.

Once planted or placed in mulch, a foliar spray of anti-transpirant is recommended.  All summer dug trees are sprayed with anti-transpirant prior to loading on trucks.

If trees are to be held in storage for more than a few weeks, the twine fastening the top of the basket should be loosened to prevent girdling. These trees also may benefit from an application of up to 2 oz. per tree of Urea fertilizer. It is desirable to leave the plastic trunk protector in place during hot weather to prevent sun-scald. It should not be left on indefinitely, however, as humidity build up inside can cause disease problems.


Shipping Information


Ball Size

Weight *

Average Number
per 48ft. trailer *



350 lbs.




370 lbs.




450 lbs.




600 lbs.




900 lbs.




1550 lbs.




2500 lbs.




2700 lbs.


*These figures are intended as a guide only and will vary between
varieties, weather conditions, time of year, and size of order.