The Landscape Division
Southern Scapes is capable of just about any request you may have. We have a wide variety of equipment and tools to accomplish most tasks, and if we don't, we'll rent or acquire the machines and specialists required.
The Landscape Division is led by Nick Leigh. Having a background in Landscape Design and experience in all aspects, including: Hardscapes, Sod & Plant Installation, Drainage & Irrigation, Grading & Excavation, Nick is well-qualified as the on-site Project Manager, overseeing every job undertaken by our crews. With a Dual-Degree in Entrepreneurship and Operations Management from Auburn University, Nick manages the crews, as well as consults with customers on their landscape needs and creates the designs based on their preference and practical solutions to achieve the desired goal.
Southern Scapes has taken on many unique projects, from landscape transformations, to installing unsual plants such as a 4,000 lb / 25' Musashino Zelkova tree.
Phase I: Tree Removal, Under-Brush Cleared, andGrading Done to Channel Storm
Water. A dry-creekbed was created and new trees and shrubs installed.
Phase II will include: Zoysia sod and a firepit / sitting area.
The back lawn has been extended, currently seeded/strawed during the Winter. A variety of Evergreen trees and shrubs were added for year-round color.
The Original Landscape Design: created in 3-D and showing the mature size of
the plants: Atlas Cedars, Carolina Sapphires, Blue Point Junipers, Leyland
Cypress, Gold Mop Cypress', and Gold Lace Junipers.
The process of installing a Large Specimen Tree: the Musashino Zelkova...
Installing a 1,000 lb / 12' tall Live Oak in a difficult backyard:
The tree's 46" root ball had to go through a 48" wide gate
Only 36" of space between the tree leader branch and the deck railing. The tree's canopy had a very tight squeeze through here, even being wrapped and compressed.
A 4-man Job: the heavy weight of the tree, coupled with tight quarters to maneuver in and on a steep slope... took every bit of 4 men to safely move this tree.
This Hand-Truck being used, called a Root Ball Cart or Tree Cart, is a MONSTER. Standing 6' tall x 3' wide, with pneumatic tires, it's rate to carry 1,600lbs!
The steep incline with little room to turn and a large 5' wide x 3' deep hole waiting at the bottom. The tree had to be rotated, with the "face" towards the house, before it's set in.
After wrestling the tree into position and adjusting it to stand with a level core structure, the Live Oak is backfilled with a garden soil / fertilizer mix, a bowl bermed around the base to retain water, staked & tied, and finally watered.
This photo angle gives a better perspective of the steep incline, and tight quarters to maneuver around the rocks. This job was passed over by several Landscapers who turned it down due to the risk and complications involved. Southern Scapes welcomed the challenge and had the right tools for the job.
Tree and Shrub Installation
Transplanting / Installation:
It is important that the tree is in good condition and healthy before considering a transplant. Several days and sometimes weeks prior to moving, ensure that the tree receives a thorough watering. Just prior to the move, we arrive on site and tie the tree branches up with twine to prevent breakage during the move. We will find the front or “face” of the tree, mark it with a ribbon, so it will put its’ best face forward in the new location. The tree is now ready to be moved……….but we need to ready the new site first!
Preparation: prior to any digging, underground utilities (power, gas, water, etc.) must be located. Several days prior to our arrival, we will need to call "GA UPC" (dial 811) and have them mark where their utility lines, if any, are run. We will not move any trees and/or shrubs without the area properly marked first. For more information on this website, go to http://www.gaupc.com/. These are FREE services.
We now create a hole in the new location where the tree will be moved to. The bottom of the hole is filled with water and loam slurry (compost and/or shredded loam, bone meal, fertilizer and water). A correct amount of space is left around the root ball, in proportion to the root ball size, for compost/topsoil. It is important that as much of the existing “native” soil be transplanted with the tree as possible, so the tree farm will dig a root ball with their tree spade that is approximately 12" wide per every 1" caliper on the tree trunk. This will aid the tree in having an easier acclimation to its new location. Once the tree is brought to the new location, it will be hoisted into place, either by Skid-steer, Telehandler All-terrain Forklift, or Crane. As the tree is positioned into place, the ribbon on the face is lined up to face the desired direction where it will be most prominantly viewed. The tree is placed in the hole and the slurry fills up any air gaps around the root ball bottom. With very large trees we excavate up to 15 - 20 inches deep around the outer edge of the root ball, so this space is now backfilled with new gardening soil. This gives the roots a fertile place to grow into. After the tree and/or shrub have been transplanted, we simply tamp the soil around the plant to ensure that the root ball has a solid footing and to remove any air pockets. A 4-6 inch berm is formed around the outer edge of the new excavated area. This new area is entirely mulched (4 inches). This is done to create a collection trough for watering and fertilization. Water the tree and/or shrub immediately. We then stake the tree at the appropriate height and circumference to protect it from the wind, hold it upright and firm so new roots can form. We do this with protective hose, braided wire and stakes. After we stake the trees, it is recommended that any broken branches are pruned.
Finally water, water, water! We’ll provide counsel here.
Care and Maintenance of your transplant:
Once Southern Scapes has relocated or installed the tree(s)/shrub(s), maintenance needs to be done either by you, an experienced landscaper or Southern Scapes. We have a variety of services that are available ensure the tree lives and flourishes. Services available to our customers include watering, fertilizing, periodic inspection, stake removal and final shaping. Other services may be available to residential customers depending on the job.
Proper watering can is the key to survival of newly planted trees. We CANNOT stress this enough!!
Water immediately after planting with a slow stream until the berm around the tree remains full. Soak the entire root ball so water reaches the deepest roots. Water three times a week for two weeks. Then water once every week to ten days (depending on weather). Never water leaf foliage in the full sunlight since sunburn damage could occur. Spray leaves only after sunset as this will reduce transplant shock.
During spring, summer and fall: If rainfall is not sufficient (generally 1 inch/week) the tree should be watered every five to seven days. Reduce watering after September 15 to once every 2 weeks and give a thorough soaking before freeze up to reduce winter damage.
In winter: If we experience a dry month, evergreens should be watered on a mild day. Remember, excess water accumulation in the planting hole is a leading cause of transplant death. Watering must be appropriate for soil type and drainage, not too dry…not too wet.
After the first year, continued watering will help your tree to recover and grow quicker. This is especially important during hot dry spells. Rain fall is rarely enough water from May thru October. During these times continue to water your tree thoroughly once a week.
Stakes should be left in tact for approx. one year. Guy wires should be slack to force the tree's roots to grow and eventually support it, but not slack enough to allow it to fall or lean. The staking system should be checked periodically to ensure it is not injuring the tree. Stakes should be removed after one or more growing seasons depending on the size of the tree and the soil conditions. If support systems are left in place too long, the tree's ability to stand alone may be reduced and the chances of girdling injury are increased.
Wait to fertilize. Since the root system of a newly planted tree is limited, fertilization is often not recommended at the time of planting. Excessive fertilizer salts in the root zone can be damaging. If fertilizer is used at planting or in the first growing season, application of a controlled-release fertilizer is suggested. Fertilization in the fall when the roots are active can be beneficial. The area around the tree should be kept mulched with three to four inches of organic mulch. The mulch will help reduce competition from weeds and grasses, conserve soil moisture and moderate soil temperature extremes. The mulch should not be placed against the stem of the tree as that can cause bark suffocation or crown rot. Black plastic should not be placed under the mulch since it restricts water movement and oxygen availability to the roots.
Before the next growing season use a 10-52-10 as per instructions. RX-30 is recommended for evergreens and RX-15 for leaf trees next season. Follow dosage and application instructions on the label.
Fertilize trees on May 1 and July 1. Do not use "Weed n' Feed on areas near trees. Never place manure, lawn fertilizer, plastic mulch, or landscape fabric over the root ball. Do not mound soil over roots.
Pruning following planting should be limited. The tree will grow and establish most rapidly if pruning is minimized at planting. As said earlier, broken or damaged limbs should be removed immediately and we generally do this. Do not use tree wrap. Many early references recommend wrapping the trunks of newly planted trees to protect against temperature extremes, sun-scald, boring insects and drying. More recent research indicates that temperature differentials at the bark are greater with tree wrap than without. Further, tree wrap tends to hold in moisture on the bark and can lead to fungal problems. Also, insects tend to burrow between the bark and the wrap, and can be worse with wrap than without it.
Although we will assist you in moving your trees and shrubs, Early Spring, Summer, Fall, and even Early Winter, the best time to move your plants is during the Spring or Fall. During the Summer, conditions can be too dry and too hot which can stress your trees and/or shrubs. Air and ground temperatures can be problematic much past Mid December.
Inspect your trees regularly for insect and pest damage. Be especially alert when your trees are putting out soft new growth which is very susceptible. Moved trees are weaker and preventative spraying with a systemic pesticide such as Cygon or Lagon is recommended. Follow all product label instructions. Spray with systemic pesticides on May 1, July 1 and August 15 (approximately).