Container Trees vs. B&B Trees

If a 3″ (trunk width) container red oak tree and a 3″ (trunk width) dug red oak tree (also called harvested and B&B trees) are planted on the same day, the container tree will outgrow the dug tree for each of the following three years. The reason for this growth rate difference is because the container tree is planted with all its’ roots; however, the dug tree is planted with 40% of its roots. The other 60% of the roots were cut and left behind in the ground where the tree was dug. The container tree will grow 2′ (length of new branch growth) the first year and the dug tree will grow 1/2′. In year two, the container tree will grow 3′ and the dug tree 15″. In year three, the container tree will grow 3′ and the dug tree 2′. By the end of this three-year period the total branch growth on a container tree is 8′ and the total branch growth on the dug tree is 4′. The container red oak will also have a trunk width of 6″ and the dug red oak will have a trunk width of 5″ after that three-year period. With a container tree you are buying an extra inch of trunk growth over the next three years. The container tree is our best value because it is the faster growing tree.

Comparing Container Trees vs Dug (B&B) Trees

Replacing the 60% of the roots lost can take up to 3 years for slow-growing Oaks.
Compare the growth differential over this three-year period.

Container TreeDug(B&B) Tree
% of Roots which come with tree 100%40%
Red Oak Year I 2’ Branch 6” Branch
Red Oak Year II3’ Branch15” Branch
Red Oak Year III3’ Branch24” Branch
Total Growth8’4’

Container Trees grow faster

These are generally bought in gallon sizes from 15-200 and are often trees in larger sizes because they don’t want to wait for the canopies to grow and want shade now)

B&B Trees have a slower growth rate

People purchase B&B trees in larger sizes because they don’t want to wait for the canopies to grow and want shade now

Suggested Watering Schedule

Water once a week during January, February, March, November, and December

Water twice a week during April, May, and October

Water every other day during June, July, August, and September

For the first 18 months trees must receive water in addition to the water that is supplied to them via the lawn sprinkler system (if present). On the day the trees are planted the delivery crew will have completed the 1st watering as well as assuring that the soil is settled and rid of any large air pockets. When the customers should apply water again depends upon the time of year which the trees are planted because the watering frequencies change throughout the year as listed above. Whenever watering a newly planted tree for the first time we recommend starting with 30 gallons of water and this applies to all the various types and sizes of trees that we sell.

We recommend watering daily 1-2 weeks after planting and every 2-3 days in weeks 3-12 thereafter.

One good rule of thumb is to immediately irrigate a newly planted tree with 2 to 3 gallons of water per inch of its trunk diameter. So, a tree whose trunk is 2 inches in diameter when you plant it should be given 4 to 6 gallons of water right away.

A newly planted tree’s roots only extend as far as the root ball. Any water in the soil that’s beyond the reach of the tree’s root ball can’t be absorbed. And since that root ball isn’t very large when the tree is first planted, it’s critical to provide enough water around the root ball. Without that nearby water, a young tree in a summer heatwave especially vulnerable.

Sufficient watering is also important if the soil you’ve planted your young tree in is already on the dry side. The dry soil will automatically pull water from the wetter root ball to balance the water distribution where the two materials (root ball and native soil) meet, leaving the tree without enough moisture.

If your young tree is planted among other trees or shrubs, watering is important because the roots of these other, established plants will compete for water with your new tree.

And most importantly, you’ll want to water low and slow. This slow infiltration rate gives the young tree’s roots a longer period to take up water and allows water to move deep into the soil, which is where you want your tree to develop its roots. Shallow watering encourages shallow root development, leaving the tree unstable and susceptible to dry condition.