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Access Considerations
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Access Considerations

Moving a mature tree from the nursery to its final destination without incident requires considerable forward planning, so understanding the site access conditions is critical. In fact, this is likely to be the first question an advisor asks when fielding a new enquiry, because it will also help him or her work out the optimal size range of specimens for your project. We can overcome most access issues when necessary, but it’s only logical to start with the most straightforward solutions and go from there. We’ll coach you through this stage of the process when the time comes, but if you’d prefer to select your specimens independently, or are planning to make your own arrangements for planting, please do take time to consider the following.

Before you read further, you may want to do a Quick Access Assessment of your planting site so you’ve got some key information to hand. It’s easy. Here’s how:

How to do a Quick Access Assessment

  1. Consider the approach to the site and the most logical offloading position.  Note any parking or HGV access restrictions from main trunk roads, including bridges and narrow lanes.
  2. Establish the ‘minimum access width’ for each planting position by walking from the intended position of offloading (usually the road or a driveway) along the path of access to each position, measuring the narrowest width of access along each path.
  3. Also as you walk the path of access to each planting position, observe site conditions carefully. Note any tight corners or obstacles such as steps, soft ground, overhead eaves, etc. along the access path.
  4. If you have noted any obstacles or parking/HGV access restrictions, you may wish to ask one of our advisors to help refine the optimum size range for your specimens.
  5. Remember this is just a rough idea for guidance. We would strongly encourage you to talk through access with an advisor prior to confirming an order.

Parking/HGV access restrictions

Access and parking is important to consider as we will need to bring the tree(s) in either a moving van sized lorry (LGV) or a very large articulated one (HGV). If access for these larger vehicles is questionable, let us know early in the process as we can usually overcome most of these issues by planning accordingly.

Tight corners along access path

Tight corners can sometimes restrict the size of specimens we can plant economically, not only because of difficulty in manoeuvring the specimen itself, but because they may prevent the use of lifting or digging equipment. However, in some cases we can access another way, such as by removing a fence panel or using equipment to lift the specimen over a wall or fence.

Obstacles and overhangs

Paving and lawns can usually be protected adequately with our heavy duty matting and a few steps can easily be managed in most cases. More significant obstacles may well be easier to overcome than you may think, but in all cases be sure to disclose them before confirming your order or asking for a planting quote.

Locations of overground or underground services

We’re not referring to the actual Underground here (well, in some cases we may be), but to locations of water pipes, electrical services, gaslines, telephone wires, etc. It’s important that you consider well ahead the location and proximity of services relative to your proposed planting site as this may make it impossible to plant the tree where anticipated. Our planting teams are very careful but can’t be responsible for damage to services not disclosed in advance!

Minimum access width

Your minimum access width (see ‘Do a Quick Access Assessment’ above) will limit the size of tree that will easily ‘fit’ down your path of access, which in turn will influence your planting costs. Below are the main access width ranges we work to. Click the one which best describes your access conditions to get an idea how the pot sizes of the trees you choose may impact your planting costs.

3.0 metres or More Minimum Access Width

With a minimum width access of 3.0 metres or more, we can off-load, move and position any tree on our nursery, but here are some size thresholds to bear in mind:

Under 160L. If you are only considering one or two specimens, then trees with pot sizes under 160L are usually most economical to plant, as they don’t normally require use of an HGV or forklift.

160- 200L. We can sometimes manoeuvre stock of this size into position without recourse to heavy machinery, which, if you are only planting one or two trees, can save on planting costs. If you’ve seen something you like in this size range, but are keen to keep planting costs to a minimum or wish to avoid having any heavy machinery on site, it’s well worth discussing possibilities with an advisor.

201-1200L. Trees of this size can usually be planted with relative ease using our specialist handling equipment, and are well worth the increase in planting cost for the impact they provide.

Over 1200L. Planting truly majestic specimens such as these need some careful planning and a little more investment in planting, but provide spectacular instant impact.

Between 800mm (standard garden gate) and 2.99m Minimum Access Width

Under 160L. If you are only considering one or two specimens, then trees with pot sizes under 160L are usually most economical to plant, as they don’t normally require use of an HGV or forklift. 

160L-200L. We can sometimes manoeuvre stock of this size into position without recourse to heavy machinery, so if you see something you like in this pot size range it’s worth talking the possibilities through with an advisor.

201-1200L. Trees of this size may still be practical to plant with a modest uplift in cost, depending on the distance beyond the narrowest point and the obstacles between. We suggest asking an advisor for guidance.

Over 1200L.  Trees of this size may still be possible to plant, but will likely require use of a crane or other large machinery, so are likely to require significant additional investment in planting costs.

Standard Garden Gate Access only (800mm)

Under 160L.  This is the optimal size range for garden gate access.  No stairs or tight turns please!

160-200L. We can sometimes manoeuvre stock of this size into position depending on the individual specimens and the other site access conditions, so it’s worth discussing with an advisor if you’d like to consider a tree in this size range.

201-1200L.  Trees of this size may still be possible to plant, depending on whether the planting position can be accessed with our in-house lifting equipment (moderate increase in cost) or through the use of a crane (significant increase in cost).  

Over 1200L.  Planting trees of this size may not be practical unless the planting position is very near a large offload hard standing.  A crane is likely to be necessary, which can add significantly to costs.  In some cases the impact may be worth the investment! 

Less than Standard Garden Gate (less than 800mm) Access

We can probably get some of our youngest trees (pot sizes 120 litres or less) into position and planted fairly economically. An advisor can guide you on what range of pot size to keep within if you supply your measurements and confirm other access details. If you have your heart set on something bigger, we may be able to pull that off without too much of an uplift in cost, depending on other access conditions, or, if need be, with the help of a crane. In the latter case, the cost can be significant, but well worth it if you are looking for an instant transformation.

Through the House or a Window Only

85L or less  This really is the maximum pot size we can consider taking through the house or window. We’d love to say yes to something bigger, but the chances of scratches, dings, and breakages are just too great (and that’s just to our planting crew!). There are occasionally exceptions to this rule of thumb, of course, so it may be worth a conversation.

Over 85L.  If you have your heart set on something bigger, we can probably pull that off with the help of a crane or special equipment. Costs can be significant, but may well be worth it if you are looking for an instant transformation. Cost of crane hire can vary considerably depending on two factors 1) the size of the crane required and 2) whether road closure will be necessary (for example, the fee for road closure in London Borough of Camden is £3,000!).

Our Fleet and Lifting Equipment: Options and Access Requirements

We are able to personally deliver and plant every tree on our nursery, in the vast majority of cases using exclusively our own specialist fleet and planting equipment and in-house highly experienced planting team. The machines and vehicles needed for each planting job vary, not just due to the pot sizes of the stock ordered, but also factoring in the number of trees coming to site and any specialist machinery that will need to come to site to provide access to the planting positions. You can learn more about our fleet and machinery on the Fleet & Machinery page, but one useful size threshold to bear in mind is that trees with pot sizes of 160L or more will likely require the use of an HGV (articulated lorry) and forklift for delivery. If you’d like to know about specific access requirements for any of our vehicles or equipment, please contact one of our advisors or the Scheduler.