the tree goes in the ground!

Over the summer I wrote a column about the development and design of my front garden. The wholesaler I was working with charged by the truckload, so the price would be the same whether it was half full or packed. This was a great opportunity to get hold of a tree, preferable one native to the area that would provide food for the birds and animal life. After consulting with plant whisperer and good buddy Walter Meyer* of Local Office Landscape Architecture, we decided to go with a serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea). In addition to flowering beautifully, the berry is delicious – kind of like a sweeter blueberry with a mini-almond in the center.


Two summers ago, the tree arrived on a flatbed and it was HUGE. Wholesalers sell to large landscaping companies or landscape architecture firms that have the equipment to deal with a tree weighing thousands of pounds. We were totally unprepared and the truck drivers were pissed off.

Our friend Paul, owner of Paul Surf, happened to be walking by. ”We need help!” Matt called out from down the block. Paul came trotting over,  “I needed to catch the train five minutes ago, but let’s do this!” Matt, Paul and the disgruntled truck drivers hoped for the best as they rolled the gigantic tree down a makeshift ramp (video here!). It was steady for the first 5 seconds, then it crashed on the ground splitting the wooden ramp. But it was off the truck and unharmed, phew!

In advance, Matt had build a 5ft square wooden box on casters knowing we weren’t ready to plant the tree in the yard yet. The tree was in the box for a year and a half. It’s been a source of stress for me because I’ve been so afraid it would die. I’d water it frequently and I insulated the box over last winter. After badgering my husband ceaselessly this past month, the tree has been planted! But it was no easy feat.

So, how many Rockaway dudes does it take to move a 2,000 pound tree into a three foot ditch? Five!  And one columnist to do nothing but take pictures and put them on Instagram!


The first task was to move the tree in the box as close as possible to the planting site, about 25 feet away. One caster broke, so it wasn’t as easy as it could have been, but still not too bad. Then, the guys cut out one side of the 5 foot square box. Now the difficult part: the tree was strapped up and laboriously pulled, pushed and dragged by all five guys to the hole Matt had pre-dug. Using a 2×4 as a lever was discussed to lift the tree up, but that wasn’t working. Ultimately a combination of strength, time and luck led to the tree finally thudding into it’s final resting place!

Thank you Big D, Doctor Don, Good Keith (sorry about your foot), and Cousin Brian for the muscle! I awe you guys a tray of lasagna. This spring the Serviceberry will produce beautiful white flowers and in the early fall the birds will be feasting on its sweet berries. I’m planning on making serviceberry jam next year and I’ll be writing all about it!

2,000 Pound Tree Planting from Glorified Tomato on Vimeo.

tagged in garden, gardening, trees