Mature trees stand regal and tall and can add character to a yard or garden. Still, when planted from seed or sapling, trees mature not over months but over years and sometimes decades. You can avoid this delay by purchasing and transplanting a mature plant to your home, but the cost of the tree itself is only one part of the overall price attached to the planting of a full-grown tree.
The cost most directly associated with the installation of a mature tree is the cost of the tree itself. Mature trees cost more than saplings or seeds for nurseries to raise. Like most industries, tree nurseries pass this cost on to the customer. Michigan nursery Trim Pines Farm, for example, prices mature white cedars up to $25 per foot, as of publication. Trees that take longer in maturing or that are much larger, such as the live oak, can cost from $50,000 to $100,000. This size tree requires costly equipment, such as a crane, that can move the tree and its large root ball to its transportation from the nursery.
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Larger trees also cost a great deal more during transport. Labor must dig the tree out of its place in the ground while keeping preservation of the root system in mind. Next a crane or large jacks must lift the tree onto the moving platform or truck. A tree such as a century-old oak tree can weigh several tons and can require a ton of dirt during transport. Once the tree is loaded onto the platform, the land around its former location requires reshaping by the same labor that dug it out. After transport, the process is repeated in reverse, with labor digging an area up and placing the tree safely in the ground. This process can cost anywhere from $30,000 to $100,000 for equipment rental, skilled labor and transportation.
Trees such as oak, maple and beech trees require specific soil for proper growth and development and transplanting a tree to a different soil type from that which it is accustomed can shock the tree or even kill it. Soil conditioning ensures that your tree has a proper chance at establishing itself in its new environment, but this costs both additional money and additional time. Soil conditioning can include liming or acidifying the soil, laying down layers of fertilizer and treating the tree occasionally with liquid plant foods that stimulate new growth.
While not the first thought on every homeowner's mind, mature trees can die after transplant even in the best of conditions. Unlike saplings, which are easily pulled, chipped or thrown out, mature trees require safe and complete dismantling, often from a professional service. Mature-sized dead trees are not only eyesores, they can collapse onto houses or fences causing damage to property and people.