Skip to content Skip to navigation menu
If you update your home branch it may affect items currently in your cart.

Container Trees versus Ball and Burlap Trees

Wondering which kind of tree is best to plant? Read on for planting best practices

March 28, 2024

Facebook Twitter

Introducing Tree Types

There are pros and cons to both container and ball and burlap trees. Ball and burlapped trees, or B&B trees, have been around for quite some time. This kind of tree is originally planted in the ground to grow, then dug up, leaving a ball of soil around the root ball that is wrapped in a burlap bag. With this method, 40-60% of the roots are cut away.

Container grown trees have been grown a shorter time than B&B. In a pot their whole life, this kind of tree retains its roots through the planting process. Usually, the container is filled with pine bark, peat moss, sawdust, etc. instead of soil.
More recently, some nurseries have been growing trees in fabric containers in the ground, harvesting them, and transplanting them to a container. While this is a hybrid option, they are sold as container trees. If you find a field and fabric container established tree, ensure they have been transplanted a few weeks prior to buying so you know it has survived the digging shock. Look for roots growing out of the burlap around the root ball to check for this timeline. These kinds of container trees will still need more frequent irrigation than B&B trees.


Use the chart above to determine what will work best for your customers. While more expensive, the better availability, viability, and better growth of a container tree may be worth the spend.

Shop at SiteOne

Whatever your customer decides, shop at SiteOne for your nursery needs. Our associates are always available to help you with a project in-branch, and you can also shop online. If there’s not a SiteOne nursery in your area, consider using our Nursery Direct program to get plants delivered directly to your jobsite.

Get our new Mobile app

Keep your business moving with the go-to app for landscape professionals.