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View Full Version : Another idea for autumn jobs.


StartALawnCareBusiness
11-01-2007, 09:46 PM
A guest on a radio show I was listening to today was talking about this being a great time of year to transplant trees and shrubs.

I have done a fair amount of landscape installations but I haven't done much transplanting. It always seems to be a tremendous amount of work with the ever present danger of killing the thing you are transplanting.

Anyway, the guy on the radio said now is the time to transplant trees and shrubs. He said if it is done with minimal stress to the plant, you can expect a 75% chance the plant will not die. 25% chance of the plant dying still seems awfully high to me.

So, if you have any customers who might want small trees or shrubs moved around in their yard, now is the time to do it. I think you need an iron clad waiver stating you are not responsible if the tree/shrub dies.

I found an animated demonstration of a serious tree transplanting tool. Check this out:

Tree Transplanting Machine (http://www.optimaltreespades.com/function_1.htm)

Has anyone else had any success with this type service? I would be interested to know what kind of rates can you charge.

Keith

pmblair
11-01-2007, 11:49 PM
I have three words for you:

NO THANK YOU

lol I don't even do installs yet... I can't see taking a 25% chance of losing any chance of future business from a customer because "I killed their shrub"

justmike
11-23-2007, 09:53 AM
sorry to disagree but...i have to disagree. from my knowledge on the subject this is an "acceptable" time to transplant not an "ideal" time, let alone "great". depending on your area trees are either going dormant (preparing for the winter and should be left alone to do so, or are dormant and should be left alone to sleep) the 25% margin is due to this fact...not to mention when you transplant roots will always be damaged somewhat (sometimes very badly depending on experience) this coupled with colder, wetter weather is an invitation for root rot...you also have to take into consideration the age of the tree...as a general rule younger trees survive the stress of transplanting better...sorry to go off on a tangent, but i would recommend being on the safe side (you can never tell what stress, how much fert, etc. the tree had during the growing season)...in my opinion (and as a general rule, not the only rule) the best time to transplant decid. trees is just as they are "awakening" from dormancy (as the buds begin to swell, but BEFORE they are open...conif. trees can be transplanted (and seem to do very well) in very late winter, proly about 1 month before decid....on the biz side i have no idea how much to charge, it would most certainly include several factors that would not be able to be adressed generally...oh...on a side note in regards to pruning, it seems that alot of people like to hard prune in the beggining of winter...i would suggest waiting until late winter...leaving a wound to set throughout winter is an invitation for disease and rot...

just my 2 cents (most of the information above comes from bonsai culture, and is a little more precise than general gardening, so take it fwiw)

mike

Steve
11-23-2007, 11:02 AM
Quote[/b] ](most of the information above comes from bonsai culture, and is a little more precise than general gardening, so take it fwiw)

Is this something you have an interest in? Could you tell us a little about this?

StartALawnCareBusiness
11-23-2007, 12:01 PM
Hi Mike:

Thanks for your input. *I am definately not an expert on the transplanting/pruning side of the business. *So, it's nice to hear from you.

Are you into Bonsai? * I was able to do some mountian biking in North Carolina this past summer. *On one of the trails, we happened upon the NC Arboretum. *They have an amazing setup including a huge outdoor bonsai display with lots of examples of bonsai art.

I took this picture less than 10' from this piece...it was no more than 12" to 16" tall.

http://www.lawncarecompanies.com/bonsai.jpg

Keith

Steve
11-23-2007, 12:08 PM
That is amazing! It looks like a miniature forest! Very fascinating!

justmike
11-23-2007, 03:30 PM
hello all...

1st id like to say to keith...nice photo, they are not always easy to capture, and to the artis of the forrest planting, whoever he or she may be, looks wonderfull (forest plantings are not as easy as they would appear, a lot of rules considering depth, # of trees, species, root management, etc)
those also look like cypress...not always the easiest species to manage...

sorry to be off topic (no thread theft intended) but just a basic overview to help dispell some myths surrounding this art...first of all...'bonsai' is not a species of tree it is an art...the word in japanese literally translates to potted tree...the goal (a long and tedious achievment) is to mimick the appearance of a full grown tree on a miniture scale through horticultural practices including everything from pruning (roots also) to asthetics of a photo...they even have a front and back to them...you can 'bonsai' practically anything...it is a very interesting subject to study even if one does not decide to partake...ok, enough rambling...if anyone is more interested feel free to post, pm, what have you with any questions...

i now return you to your normally scheduled thread

...mike

Steve
11-23-2007, 03:37 PM
Mike,

Do you have any photos of your bonsai's?

justmike
11-23-2007, 03:52 PM
i suppose i could take some, but ive only been doing this for about 7 yrs, so none of mine are close to being show ready...not to mention the ones ive have killed through the learning process, or the ones (7 to be exact) that were stolen last year...grrrrrrr....if you would just like some pictures of great bonsai ive got plenty on my computer...

just need to figure out how to post some...get a url error???

gotta go to work, ill get on later and try to figure it out...i can also try to take some pics of mine, but they are quite embarassing in comparisson to good specimens...i just like the fact i can keep them alive http://www.gophergraphics.com/forum/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

Steve
11-23-2007, 04:06 PM
Well I'd love to see what you have been creating!

justmike
11-23-2007, 09:10 PM
alright...soooooooooooo...how exactly do i get a pic on here??? forgive me, i feel a bit dumbo since as you can tell i am a computer genious...but, yea...sooooo...(mouse voice) help...please.

Steve
11-23-2007, 09:12 PM
When you click the add reply button and the new window appears, do you see a browse button below the area where you enter your text?

That is where you browse your computer for the file to attach.

justmike
11-24-2007, 10:19 AM
test

justmike
11-24-2007, 10:28 AM
ha...got it...i knew that the whole time...just wanted to make sure you knew how to post an image (i doubt anyone is buying what im selling right now)...thats my story and im stickin to it...

when ther is a bit more light i will try to get some pics of my trees, for now enjoy some good bonsai (mine are not anything close to these)

justmike
11-24-2007, 10:31 AM
and...

justmike
11-24-2007, 10:33 AM
uno mas...

Steve
11-24-2007, 12:01 PM
WOW very beautiful pictures! How long does it take to get the plants to look like this?

What got you into Bonsai?

Can you incorporate that into your lawn care business?

Maybe as a logo or in an about us page on your website? I think that would be very unique.

justmike
11-24-2007, 01:30 PM
well...some are hundreds of years old...the best specimens are usually collected from wild where they have been growing very slowly in harsh conditions for many many years (naturally dwarfed so to speak)...these types of trees are becoming more and more rare and if you wanted to aquire one, you would risk life and limb (literally) or pay top dollar...a finished bonsai by a master artist (finished is a bad word they are never really finished) if you can even find it for sale could run tens or even hundreds of thousand of dollars...good raw material can easily run into the thousands...as for how long it takes...depends on the individual, the tree, the species, etc...

as an example...say you go buy a 5 ft tall japanese maple...considering how jap. maples grow, the trunk at this point would be suitable to make a tree about 1 ft tall (rough number)...so you would trunk chop the tree, train a new leader (several years to obtain acceptable girth on the new leader), then chop the leader and create a new leader (several more years) this is creating a good taper in the trunk which is one of the most key elements in creating a convincing bonsai (look at fully grown trees, they all have trunk taper)...after that (and during for that matter) its time to train the branchches (the goal being ramification w/ short internodes to give the appearance of a full size tree on a mini scale), then after several more yrs just when you thought you were close comes the refinement stage (slight adjustments to make the whole picture come together)...

so...about twenty yrs later you got yourself a decent bonsai...then you go to lower a branch, snap it, try to save it, loose it, and have to do a re-style, and the process continues...

it is a reaccuring theme in japanese culture that patience and passiveness towards nature takes preasidence over your personal "time schedule"...they joy is supposed to be the "act of" not the "result"...

now for my story...
on my 21st birthday, my mother bought me a small bonsai...and well...i looked at her like "what in the #### is this?"
(nobody wants to recieve a plant for a 21st b-day) so i thanked her and dismissed it as just another dumb gift from moms (right up there w/ knit sweaters and new socks)...so i got drunk...then i remebered karate kid, and went to town on the thing...i butchered the crap out of it (it died shortly after)...but i had fun "butchering" it, and plus im a bit stubborn, and dont accept failuer...so i got another one (also died fairly quickly)...well, by this time it was personal, i was going to conquer this no matter what, so i changed my strategy of "hack and whack" towards educating myself about bonsai culture and horticultural practices...one thing lead to another, it became a hobby.

WARNING: 'bonsai' is one of those things that will drive you a little nuts (in a good way)...most who try it get hooked...ther is no turning back at that point...so partake at your own risk...

as for incorporating into a business...i really wanted to do this, to have a small bonsai nursery and all that, but the time involved vs. the potential market willing to pay you for your time is not at all economical...for me it is better to keep as a hobby, sell a couple here and there, and do comission work (which i have done and is actually quite fun)...

i am considering however incorporating it into an about us section...that would be unique, perhaps set me aside from others and demonstrate my dedication towards perfection and horticultural practices (god i love that word horticultural, gots a ring to it)

thank you for the idea, i never thought of it, but now is sounding more and more appealing...

justmike
11-24-2007, 01:31 PM
keith...sorry, complete thread hijack...request to move to general forum...

justmike
11-24-2007, 01:42 PM
mine...

justmike
11-24-2007, 01:48 PM
i styled this one in a single day from ordinary nursery stock (juniperus chinensis -variety unknown)...it looks a bit bare in this picture since it was just styled...the next spring it really sarted to fill out...and then it was stolen...too bad, because finding nursery stock junipers w/ such an appealing trunk curvature and girth is very rare, this would have been a nice tree...i assume who ever took it has no clue on how to care for it properly and most likely it has already met its demise... http://www.gophergraphics.com/forum/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/sad.gif

Steve
11-24-2007, 03:03 PM
Oh I am very sorry about that!

I am amazed at all the work that goes into this!

Quote[/b] ]as for incorporating into a business...i really wanted to do this, to have a small bonsai nursery and all that, but the time involved vs. the potential market willing to pay you for your time is not at all economical...for me it is better to keep as a hobby, sell a couple here and there, and do comission work (which i have done and is actually quite fun)...

i am considering however incorporating it into an about us section...that would be unique, perhaps set me aside from others and demonstrate my dedication towards perfection and horticultural practices (god i love that word horticultural, gots a ring to it)

thank you for the idea, i never thought of it, but now is sounding more and more appealing...

I am thinking a logo with a Bansai in the center. Then maybe you could have videos where you talk about it and then sponsor a group that you teach about the process. You could open it to the public. You could then create displays and show them off at your local library or at other places to generate interest. You could also talk about it on local tv and radio stations.

With all of this attention, it would certainly bring more attention to your lawn care service.

Depending on your area, maybe you could find a profitable service in attending to a person's Bonsai.

But the main profit center would have to come from Bonsai or Bonsai services, although it could later. You might want to use it to show your interest and love in such a hobby and that would ultimately bring you more attention for all the other services you offer.

I think it is a great spring board.

You could also maybe run classes on it too!

justmike
11-24-2007, 10:05 PM
thanks for the support...however, i think you are overestimating my skill in the area...i also think it could be a usefull springboard, but instead of trying to establish myself as something i am not (an experienced bonsai artist) i was thinking about highlighting general horticultural practices gained through bonsai...this way, i could explain to people via several different types of media, that transplanting in the fall is not ideal beacause, blah, blah, blah...i think it would be wonderfull at setting myself apart and adding credibility...of course to obtain a goal not of bonsai (hobby) but of grounds maint. (job)...the idea is two fold...it is marketing i suppose, but not really marketing per se...i would call it educating...everybody wins...if they choose to listen and complete a project themselves, and it works from my advice, not only have i done my job, but i have just created a ton of credibilty and a potential for that person to spread the word about my knowlegde (not every one will want to take on the project theselves)...and if they choose not to listen, i have (according to the post) a 25% chance of the project failing...this adds more credibility and almost ensures a client...kinda like 'told u so' w/o speaking...i gotta lot to think about as far as my next steps are...but you have got me thinking...

on a side note...when i have enough room, i may start raising some on a condensed scale...in about 3 yrs, i could easily create (not masterpiece) but marketable bonsai (mall-sai, as they are called in the bonsai community)...market these in and around holidays for gift ideas (what do you get grandma for christmas...then you see a small display with 25-50 dollar price tags...and your thinking "what grandma dosnt like cute plants?") that kinda thing...the cost for me to purchase, style, and care for a 'bonsai for 3 years would be less than 15 bucks bucks, so im looking at at anverage of 50% profit...then you get into the services of caring, transplanting, etc...i think it could work...best thing is, while they are purchasing, they are seeing my truck, trailer, logos, etc, for other services...now they are coming to me instead of me looking for them...sounds good to me!

Steve
11-24-2007, 11:01 PM
I think you got a lot of great ideas.

I would say think of Bonsai as the vehicle to attract attention. You don't have to be an expert at all. Just that you have a love for it is all you need to make it work. This vehicle could open many doors for you. Maybe you could be invited to speak at local organizations to talk about this as a hobby. You could become the ambassador of your area for this hobby. You don't need to be an expert.

What do you see as the next steps for your business?