Hard as rock root ball

Good evening guys and girls, I picked up a couple of Espalier Apple and pear trees and my concern is the root ball, it weighs about 200 pounds and as hard as concrete, no exaggeration. I haven’t opened up the burlap yet, but from my guess, I will find a very hard clay soil with the roots inside. The person at the nursery said to leave the root ball in tact. but to get it to the location I want to plant it, it’s going to be uphill from the driveway and I’d like to disassemble the rootball, remove some of that old hard clay soil and pot it in its final location with the roots having a better chance to escape the root ball. But, the heavy Rootball act as an anchor and I won’t have to be too concerned about using a post to support the teee. What would you guys do?

I bought several like that a while back. I just planted them and yes the rock acted well as an anchor. If you bust up the root ball you will end up losing more roots on a tree already short on roots.

I’d plant burlap and all (but cut / remove string or burlap from around the trunk of the tree). Plant at same depth approximately…or bring dirt up into a slight hill if in a poor drainage location.

I sometimes bare root container trees that I repot by putting them in a tub of water to soak, followed by hitting the rootball with a stream of water with my hose. Could this work with your tree???

Ok guys. Thanks. I’ll muscle the trees up the hill.

One in each hand…that’s 2 trips. :wink:

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The 600 acre nursery I work at produces a lot of BB trees including apple trees. I agree with the advice you got from the nursery you bought the trees at.

A 22" rootball will normally weigh about 250 pounds depending on how wet the soil is. Glad to see the grower used twine that rots and not plastic twine.

Looks like you have some rootstock suckers that you could probably remove with enough roots to grow into graftable additional trees. Just a thought. If you want to do this irrigation the rootball very well once it’s in the planting hole before taking them off. Get about 1/3 root to sucker length and pot for growing next spring. Otherwise you need to remove the suckers to prevent them from outgrowing the grafted tree. A handcart would be useful to cart uphill, maybe you have a friend who has one!

Thanks @Spartan that’s what these are,B&B. What dwarfing rootstock you think they use.

@DennisD thanks for the ideas. And I hoping to get four of us to climb the trees up the hill. This route all spells “sore back”
all over it!

The ‘best’ BB espalier apple trees I know of are produced by Bountiful Farms in Oregon.
While the nursery I work at grows BB trees, we get our espalier apples from them. They do a fantastic job producing them. Theirs are on MM111.

Yes, that’s what brand these are. they are from bountiful Farms and they’re all very symmetrical, with the main trunk as straight as an arrow. I’m very impressed with the quality

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