Balled and burlapped (B&B) is a special process used for transplanting various types of trees, shrubs, or other plants. The B&B process is used for plants that have been previously planted and grown for a limited time and are then dug up with a ball of soil and covered with a canvas or burlap bag.

The term balled refers to the plant’s root ball that is dug up, and burlapped refers to the material used to wrap the soil, which is customarily burlap or other coarse fabric. The burlap covering is tied and secured with a string, wire, or twine.By using this process, plants can be transported with their original soil, and replanting is easier and more efficient.


The balled and burlapped (B&B) method is used in cases where plants have root structures that cannot survive bare root transplanting. This method allows for easier transplanting of many species. A few of the types of trees and shrubs prepared and sold this way include rhododendrons, azaleas, and various conifers, which are deciduous and evergreen.

Balled and burlapped plants are typically grown in clay or other heavy soil that can be compacted properly when the young sprigs are dug up and burlapped.It is crucial that the burlap sack completely covers the roots to prevent exposure, and the soil ball should be firm. Additionally, the burlap should be either biodegradable or rot-resistant. If the material is not biodegradable, it must be removed when transplanting so the plant’s root growth is unobstructed. The plant must be held from the balled portion as well as the trunk or stem for stability. When planting B&B plants, a hole approximately three times the size of the balled portion should be dug and the root collar should be a little above ground level.

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