What is Ball and Burlap?

Ball and burlap is a method of planting and transporting trees and shrubs that involves wrapping the root ball in burlap fabric. This technique is commonly used in the nursery industry to ensure the survival and successful establishment of plants in new locations. In this article, we will explore the process of ball and burlap, its benefits, and how it compares to other planting methods.

The Process of Ball and Burlap

The ball and burlap process begins with the selection of a tree or shrub from a nursery. The plant is carefully dug out of the ground, ensuring that a significant portion of the root system is included in the root ball. The root ball is then wrapped in burlap fabric, which helps to hold the soil and roots together during transportation and planting.

The burlap-wrapped root ball is then secured with twine or wire to prevent it from falling apart. This step is crucial to maintaining the integrity of the root system and ensuring that the plant remains healthy during transportation.

The Benefits of Ball and Burlap

There are several benefits to using the ball and burlap method for planting and transporting trees and shrubs. One of the main advantages is that it allows for the transplantation of larger, more mature plants. Since the root ball contains a significant portion of the plant’s root system, it provides a better chance for the plant to establish itself in its new location.

Additionally, the burlap fabric helps to retain moisture around the roots, reducing the risk of transplant shock. This is especially important during the hot summer months when plants are more susceptible to drying out.

Another benefit of ball and burlap is that it allows for planting during the dormant season. Since the root ball is wrapped in burlap, the plant can be stored and transported without soil, making it easier to handle and plant when the time is right.

Comparison to Other Planting Methods

Ball and burlap is just one of several methods used for planting and transporting trees and shrubs. Another common method is container planting, where plants are grown in containers and then transplanted into the ground. While container planting offers the advantage of being able to plant at any time of the year, it is generally limited to smaller-sized plants.

In comparison, ball and burlap allows for the transplantation of larger, more established plants. This is particularly beneficial when creating instant landscapes or when a mature tree or shrub is desired for immediate impact.

Another planting method is bare root planting, where plants are sold and transported without soil or containers. Bare root planting is typically used for deciduous trees and shrubs during the dormant season. While it is a cost-effective method, it is not suitable for all plant types and may require more careful handling and care during planting.


In conclusion, ball and burlap is a popular method for planting and transporting trees and shrubs. It offers several benefits, including the ability to transplant larger, more mature plants and the retention of moisture around the roots. While it may not be suitable for all situations, it is a valuable technique in the nursery industry and can contribute to the successful establishment of plants in new locations.