Historic Preservation - Technical Procedures

General Planting Procedures For Landscape Work
Procedure code:
Jacob Weinberger Us Courthouse, San Diego, Ca
Landscape Work
Last Modified:
General Planting Procedures For Landscape Work
Last Modified:




    A.   This procedure includes general guidelines for excavating
         for, and planting, new trees, shrubs and groundcover,
         seeding new lawns, preparing and applying soil
         amendments, and providing initial maintenance of
         landscape materials.

    B.   When planning for or evaluating landscaping around
         historic buildings, it is sometimes possible to obtain
         original landscaping plans in the original drawings.
         Such drawings may be available at the building, GSA
         region or National Archives.  Such plans, where they
         exist, typically identify all plantings and their
         quantities and location.


    A.   Federal Specifications (FS):

         1.   Q-P-166E  Peat, Moss; Humus; and Peat, Reed-Sedge

    B.   American National Standards Institute, Inc. (ANSI), 1430
         Broadway, New York, NY  10018.

         1.   Z-60.1-1973    Nursery Stock

    C.   American Joint Committee on Horticultural Nomenclature:

         1.   Standardized Plant Names, Second Edition, 1942.


    A.   Design Data/Test Reports/Certificates:

         1.   Soils test:  Furnish Architect with written soils
              analysis by recognized laboratory made in
              accordance with methods established by the
              Association of Official Agriculture Chemists.
              Soils analysis shall include recommendations for
              any changes to specified soil amendments which are
              deemed necessary as a result of the soils test.

         2.   Plant and Material Certifications:

              a.   Certificates of inspection as required by
                   governmental authorities.

              b.   Manufacturer's or vendor's certified analysis
                   for soil amendments and fertilizer materials.

              c.   Label substantiating that plants, trees,
                   shrubs and planting materials comply with
                   specified requirements.

              d.   Seed vendor's certified statement for each
                   grass seed mixture required, stating botanical
                   and common name, percentages by weight, and
                   percentages of purity, germination, and weed
                   seed for each grass seed species.

         3.   Test Reports:  Provide report on topsoil analysis
              from approved testing sources:

    B.   Operation and Maintenance Data:

         1.   Maintenance Instructions:  Provide written
              instructions for the continuing care of installed
              plants through the full growing season.

         2.   Maintenance Instructions:  Typewritten instructions
              recommending procedures to be established by Owner
              for maintenance of landscape work for one full
              year.  Submit prior to expiration of required
              maintenance period(s).


    A.   Subcontract landscape work to a single firm specializing
         in landscape work.


    A.   Packing and Shipping:  Deliver packaged materials in
         containers showing weight, analysis, and name of
         manufacturer.  Protect materials from deterioration
         during delivery, and while stored at site.

    B.   Acceptance at Site:  Provide freshly dug trees and
         shrubs.  Do not prune prior to delivery unless otherwise
         approved by Architect.  Do not bend or bind-tie trees or
         shrubs in such manner as to damage bard, break branches,
         or destroy natural shape.  Provide protective covering
         during delivery.  Do not drop stock during delivery.

    C.   Storage and Protection:

         1.   Deliver trees and shrubs after preparations for
              planting have been completed and plant immediately.
              If planting is delayed more than 6 hours after
              delivery, set trees and shrubs in shade, protect
              from weather and mechanical damage, and keep roots
              moist by covering with mulch, burlap or other
              acceptable means of retaining moisture.

         2.   Do not remove container-grown stock from containers
              until planting time.


    A.   Existing Conditions:

         1.   Utilities:  Determine location of underground
              utilities and perform work in a manner which will
              avoid possible damage.  Hand excavate, as required.
              Maintain grade stakes set by others until removal
              is mutually agreed upon by parties concerned.

         2.   Water Supply:  Verify extent of on-site
              availability and location for this work and
              conditions of use with the government.

         3.   Excavation:  When conditions detrimental to plant
              growth are encountered, such as rubble fill,
              adverse drainage conditions, or obstructions,
              notify Architect before planting.


    A.   Planting Time:  Proceed with complete landscape work as
         rapidly as portions of site become available, working
         within seasonal limitations for each kind of landscape
         work required.

         1.   Correlate planting with specified maintenance
              periods to provide maintenance from date of
              substantial completion.

    B.   Coordination with Lawns:  Plant trees and shrubs after
         final grades are established and prior to planting of
         lawns, unless otherwise acceptable to Architect.  If
         planting of trees and shrubs occurs after lawn work,
         protect lawn areas and promptly repair damage to lawns
         resulting from planting operations.


    A.   Warranty lawns through specified lawn maintenance period,
         and until final acceptance.

    B.   Warranty trees and shrubs through specified maintenance
         period, and until final acceptance.

    C.   Remove and replace trees, shrubs, or other plants found
         to be dead or in unhealthy condition during warranty
         period.  Make replacements during growth season following
         end of warranty period.  Replace trees and shrubs which
         are in doubtful condition at end of warranty period;
         unless, in opinion of Contracting Officer, it is
         advisable to extend warranty period of a full growing

         1.   Another warranty inspection will be conducted at
              end of extended warranty period, if any, to
              determine acceptance or rejection.  Only one
              replacement (per tree, shrub or plant) will be
              required at end of warranty period, except for
              losses or replacements due to failure to comply
              with specified requirements.

    D.   Whenever observed by the Contractor or notified by the
         Contracting Officer, the Contractor shall immediately
         correct unsatisfactory conditions at no added cost to the
         Government.  This shall include damage to the buildings
         and ground where the result of these Contractor


    A.   Maintenance Service:

         1.   Begin maintenance immediately after planting.

         2.   Maintain trees, shrubs, and other plants until
              final acceptance, but in no case, less than
              following period:

              a.   60 days after substantial completion of

         3.   Maintain trees, shrubs, and other plants by
              pruning, cultivating, and weeding as required for
              healthy growth.  

              a.   Restore planting saucers.  

              b.   Tighten and repair stake and guy supports and
                   reset trees and shrubs to proper grades or
                   vertical position as required.  

              c.   Restore or replace damaged wrappings.  

              d.   Spray as required to keep trees and shrubs
                   free of insects and disease.

              e.   Water trees, plants and groundcover beds
                   within the first 24 hours of initial planting
                   and not less than two times per week
                   (including rain) until acceptance.

         4.   Maintain lawns for not less than the period stated
              below, and longer as required to establish an
              acceptable lawn.

         5.   Maintain lawns by watering, fertilizing, weeding,
              moving, trimming, and other operations such as
              rolling, regrading and replanting as required to
              establish a smooth, acceptable lawn, free of eroded
              or bare areas.

         6.   Upon completion of the maintenance period and prior
              to final inspection, all lawn areas shall be
              fertilized by the contractor with post-planting
              commercial fertilizer (16-6-8) at the rate of 6
              lbs. per 1,000 square feet.

         7.   The Contractor shall be responsible for a period of
              one year after completion of plant installation to
              maintain all planting and work incidental thereto
              by replanting, plant replacements, watering,
              weeding, cultivating, fertilizing, pruning,
              controlling insects and diseases, reguying and by
              performing all other operations of care for
              promotion of root growth and plant life so that all
              work is in a continuing satisfactory condition
              throughout the maintenance period.

         8.   All planting and plant materials required by this
              Contract shall be in a condition acceptable to the
              Contracting Officer at the end of the maintenance

         9.   The Contractor shall replace any planted trees that
              are dead, or are in an unhealthy or unsightly
              condition or have lost their natural shape, or
              both, due to dead branches, excessive pruning,
              inadequate or improper maintenance, within the
              warranty period.  However, replacement shall be
              made during the next planting season, after the
              need becomes apparent notwithstanding that such
              planting season may run beyond either the
              maintenance period or the warranty period.



    A.   Topsoil:  Topsoil will be protected in place for re-use
         in landscape work.  If quantity of stockpile topsoil is
         insufficient, provide additional topsoil as required to
         complete landscape work.

    B.   Soil Amendments:

         1.   Sawdust:  Neutralized fir or redwood shavings, free
              of chips, stones, sticks, soil, or toxic substances
              and with 7.5 pounds of nitrogen uniformly mixed
              into each cubic yard of sawdust.

              a.   Particle size, dry weight basis:

                   percent passing     sieve size
                   95-100              1/4" mesh
                   0-3                 no. 40 mesh

              b.   Organic content:    94% as determined by ash

              c.   Chemistry:

                   1)   Minimum 0.8% nitrogen based on dry

                   2)   Minimum 0.8% dilute acid soluble iron
                        based on dry weight.

                   3)   Salinity shall not exceed 2.5 millions
                        per centimeter as measured in the
                        saturation extract.

         2.   Commercial Fertilizer:  Complete fertilizer of
              neutral character, with some elements derived from
              organic sources and containing the following
              percentages of available plant nutrients:

              a.   Pre-planting:  Provide fertilizer with not
                   less than 6 percent total nitrogen, 20 percent
                   available phosphoric acid, and 20 percent
                   soluble potash.

              b.   Planting tables:  Tightly compressed, long-
                   lasting, slow release fertilizer tablets
                   manufactured expressly for placing in the root
                   zone of plants and providing not less than 20
                   percent total nitrogen, 10 percent available
                   phosphoric acid, and 5 percent soluble potash.

              c.   Post-planting:  Provide fertilizer with not
                   less than the percentages of total nitrogen,
                   available phosphoric acid, and soluble potash
                   indicated.  Provide nitrogen in a form that
                   will be available to lawn during initial
                   period of growth; at least 50 percent of
                   nitrogen to be organic form.

         3.   Peat:  Shall be Federal Specification Q-P-166,
              domestic product.  Moss peat shall be horticultural
              grade (fine shreds).  Reed-sedge is not acceptable.

         4.   Bone Meal:  Finely ground having a minimum analysis
              of four percent nitrogen and 20 percent phosphoric
              acid, delivered in unopened bags showing weight,
              analysis and manufacturer's name, shall be stored
              in weatherproof storage place and in such a manner
              that its effectiveness will not be impaired.

         5.   Agricultural gypsum:  Commercially packaged powder
              form, calcium sulfate dihydrate at 95% minimum by

         6.   Soil sulfur:  Minimum 98% elemental sulfur.

         7.   Iron supplement:  Iron sulphate, long lasting,
              pelletized, and shall contain the following minimum
              available percentages by weight:

              nitrogen              1%
              iron                  12%
              zinc                  1%
              total combined sulfur 17%
              sulfate sulfur        7%
              calcium               3%
              magnesium             1.5%
              cobalt                .004%
              copper                .06%

    C.   Plant Materials:

         1.   Quality:  Provide trees, shrubs, and other plants
              of size, genus, species, and variety shown and
              scheduled for landscape work and complying with
              recommendations and requirements of ANSI Z60.1
              "American Standard for Nursery Stock".

         2.   Deciduous Trees:  Provide trees of height and
              caliper scheduled or shown and with branching
              configuration recommendation by ANSI Z60.1 for type
              and species required.  Provide single stem trees
              except where special forms are shown or listed.

              a.   Container grown deciduous trees will be
                   required subject to specified limitations of
                   ANSI Z60.1 for container stock.

         3.   Deciduous Shrubs:  Provide shrubs of the height
              specified by architect and with not less than
              minimum number of canes required by ANSI Z60.1 for
              type and height of shrub required.

              a.   Container grown deciduous shrubs will be
                   required subject to specified limitations for
                   container grown stock.

         4.   Coniferous and Broadleafed Evergreens:  Provide
              evergreens of sizes specified by architect.
              Provide normal quality evergreens with well
              balanced form complying with requirements for other
              size relationships to the primary dimension shown.

              a.   Container grown evergreens will be required
                   subject to specified limitation for container
                   grown stock.

    D.   Grass Materials:

         1.   Grass Seed:  Provide fresh, clean, new-crop seed
              complying with tolerance for purity and germination
              established by Official Seed Analysts of North
              America.  Provide seed mixture composed of grass
              species, proportions and minimum percentages of
              purity, germination, and maximum percentage of weed
              seed, as specified.

    E.   Ground Cover:

         1.   Provide plants established and well rooted in
              removable containers or integral peat pots and with
              not less than minimum number and length of runners
              required by ANSI Z60.1 for the pot size shown or

    F.   Miscellaneous Landscape Materials:

         1.   Wood Headers and Edging:  Of sizes shown and
              following wood species.

              a.   All heart Redwood.

              b.   Provide wood stakes of the same species, 2" by
                   2" by 24" long and with galvanized nails for
                   anchoring headers and edging.

         2.   Mulch:  Organic mulch free from deleterious
              materials and suitable for top dressing of trees,
              shrubs, or plants and consisting of one of the

              a.   Fir bark chips, medium texture.

         3.   Stakes and Guys:  Provide stakes and deadmen of
              sound new hardwood, treated softwood, or redwood,
              free of knot holes and other defects.  Provide wire
              ties and guys of 2-strand, twisted, pliable
              galvanized iron wire, not lighter than 12 ga. with
              zinc-coated turnbuckles.  Provide "Cinch-ties",
              "Wonder Tree-ties", "Worldwide Standard Tree Ties",
              of equal or uniform color, material, and size to
              protect tree trunks from damage by wires.

         4.   Wrapping Material:  Shall be 8 to 10 inch width
              two-ply bituminous laminated crepe paper strips.
              Tying twine shall be a lightly tarred medium or
              coarse sisal yarn at top and bottom.

         5.   Anti-Desiccants:  Shall be sprayable, water
              insoluble vinyl-vinylidene complex which will
              produce a moisture retarding barrier not removable
              by rain or snow.  The resultant film when applied
              shall have a moisture vapor transmittance rate of
              not more than 10 grams per 24 hours at 70 percent
              humidity.  Evidence shall be furnished that the
              material meets these requirements and is safe for
              both deciduous and evergreen plants before any
              application shall be made.

         6.   Polystyrene Board Insulation:  Closed-cell expanded
              polystyrene beads molded into rigid insulation
              boards complying with FS HH-I 524, Type I, Class A,
              8.0 psi compressive strength, 2.5% maximum water
              absorption and 1-1/2" thick.

         7.   Metal Pipe Liner:  AASHTO Designation M245-78;
              Precoated, Galvanized Steel Culverts and
              Underdrains; Type I Pipe.


    A.   Tests/Inspection:

         1.   Inspection of Growing Site:

              a.   The Contracting Officer reserves the right to
                   inspect and select by tagging plant materials
                   before delivery from the growing sites.  This
                   does not preclude the right of rejection at
                   the project site.

              b.   Provide the Contracting Officer the proposed
                   delivery schedule dates sufficiently in
                   advance to allow for these inspections.

         2.   Testing:  Provide tests and report of topsoil
              proposed for use.  These shall be by the local
              State Agricultural Experiment Station or any
              agricultural laboratory recommended by the US
              Department of Agriculture.

         3.   Inspection:  The Architect may inspect trees and
              shrubs either at place of growth or at site before
              planting, for compliance with requirements for
              genus, species, variety, size, and quality.
              Architect retains right to further inspect trees
              and shrubs for size and condition of balls and root
              system, insects, injuries and latent defects, and
              to reject unsatisfactory or defective material at
              any time during progress of work.  Remove rejected
              trees or shrubs immediately from project site.

    B.   Verification of Performance:

         1.   General:  Ship landscape materials with
              certificates of inspection required by governing
              authorities.  Comply with regulations applicable to
              landscape materials.

         2.   Do not make substitutions.  If specified material
              is not obtainable, submit proof of non-availability
              to Architect, together with proposal for use of
              equivalent material.

         3.   Analysis and Standards:  Package standard products
              with manufacturer's certified analysis.  For other
              materials, provide analysis by recognized
              laboratory made in accordance with methods
              established by the Association of Official
              Agriculture Chemists, wherever applicable.

         4.   Trees, Shrubs and Plants:  Provide trees, shrubs,
              and plants of quantity, size, genus, species, and
              variety shown and scheduled for landscape work and
              complying with recommendations and requirements of
              ANSI Z60.1 "American Standard for Nursery Stock".
              Provide healthy, vigorous stock, grown in
              recognized nursery in accordance with good
              horticultural practice and free of disease,
              insects, eggs, larvae, and defects such as knots,
              sun-scald, injuries, abrasions, or disfigurement.

         5.   Label at least one tree and one shrub of each
              variety with a securely attached waterproof tag
              bearing legible designation of botanical and common

              a.   Where formal arrangements or consecutive order
                   of trees or shrubs are shown, select stock for
                   uniform height and spread, and label with
                   number to assure symmetry in planting.

         6.   Supply Source:  Prior to bidding, verify sources of
              supply to insure that all plants shown, of the
              sizes, species, variety and quality required can be
              supplied.  Failure to provide may result in the
              Contracting Officer obtaining the items and the
              Contractor being held liable for these costs in
              accordance with the Contract requirements.



    A.   General:

         1.   Lay out individual tree and shrub locations and
              areas for multiple plantings.  Stake location and
              outline areas and secure Architect's acceptance
              before start of planting work.  Make minor
              adjustments as may be required.

    B.   Preparation of Planting Soil:

         1.   Before mixing, clean existing soil of roots,
              plants, sods, stones, clay lumps, and other
              extraneous materials harmful or toxic to plant

         2.   Mix specified soil amendments and fertilizers with
              existing soil at rates specified.  Delay mixing of
              fertilizer if planting will not follow placing soil
              within a few days.

         3.   For pit and trench type backfill, mix planting soil
              prior to backfilling, and stockpile at site.

         4.   For planting beds and lawns, apply amendments on
              surface of soil and mix thoroughly before planting.

    C.   Preparation For Planting Areas And Lawns:

         1.   Preparation of Unchanged Grades:  Where areas are
              to be planted that have not been altered or
              disturbed by excavating, grading, or stripping
              operations, prepare soil for planting as follows:
              Till to a depth of not less than 6 inches.  Apply
              soil amendments and initial fertilizers as
              specified.  Remove high areas and fill in
              depressions.  Till soil to a homogenous mixture of
              fine texture, free of lumps, clods, stones, roots
              and other extraneous manner.

              a.   Prior to preparation of unchanged areas,
                   remove existing grass, vegetation and turf.
                   Dispose of such material outside of Owner's
                   property.  Do not turn existing vegetation
                   over into soil being prepared for planting.

              b.   "Schedule of Planting Soil Mixture
                   Requirements" indicating required rate of
                   fertilizer application, is attached at end of
                   this section.

         2.   Fine grade areas to smooth, even surface with
              loose, uniformly fine texture.  Roll, rake, and
              drag planting areas, remove ridges and fill
              depressions, as required to meet finish grades.
              Limit fine grading to areas which can be planted
              immediately after grading.

         3.   Moisten prepared planting areas before planting if
              soil is dry.  Water thoroughly and allow moisture
              to dry before planting.  Do not create a muddy soil

         4.   Restore planting areas to specified condition, if
              eroded or otherwise disturbed, after fine grading
              and prior to planting.


    A.   Excavation for Trees and Shrubs:

         1.   Excavate pits, beds, and trenches with vertical
              sides and with bottom of excavation slightly raised
              at center to provide proper drainage.  Loosen hard
              subsoil in bottom of excavation.

              a.   For all trees and shrubs, make excavations at
                   least half again as wide as the ball diameter
                   and equal to the ball depth.

         2.   Dispose of subsoil removed from planting
              excavations.  Do not mix with planting soil or use
              as backfill.

         3.   Fill excavations for trees and shrubs with water
              and allow water to percolate out prior to planting.

    B.   Planting Trees and Shrubs:

         1.   All plants shall have planting tablets placed three
              inches below grade at the following rates during

              a.   (2) - 21 gram tablets per each one gallon

              b.   (4) - 21 gram tablets per each five gallon

              c.   (6) - 21 gram tablets per each fifteen gallon

              d.   (1) - 21 gram tablet per each linear four
                   inches boxed material size.

         2.   Set stock in planting hole, plumb and in center of
              pit or trench with top of ball at same elevation as
              adjacent finished landscape grades.  When set,
              place additional backfill around base and sides of
              ball, and work each layer to settle backfill and
              eliminate voids and air pockets.  When excavation
              is approximately 2/3 full, water thoroughly before
              placing remainder of backfill.  Repeat watering
              until no more is absorbed.  Water again after
              placing final layer of backfill.

         3.   Set container grown stock, as specified; cut cans
              on 2 sides with an approved can cutter; remove
              bottoms of wooden boxes after partial backfilling
              so as not to damage root balls.

         4.   Dish top of backfill to allow for mulching.

         5.   Mulch pits, trenches, and planted areas.  Provide
              not less than the following thickness of mulch, and
              work into top of backfill and finish level with
              adjacent finish grades.

              a.   Provide 2 inches thickness of mulch.

         6.   Prune, thin out, and shape trees and shrubs in
              accordance with standard horticultural practice.
              Prune trees to retain required height and spread.
              Unless otherwise directed by Contracting Officer,
              do not cut tree leaders, and remove only injured or
              dead branches from flowering trees, if any.  Prune
              shrubs to retain natural character.

         7.   Remove and replace excessively pruned or misformed
              stock resulting from improper pruning.

         8.   Guy and stake trees immediately after planting, as

         9.   Broadcast all planting areas (excluding lawn areas)
              with post-planting commercial fertilizer (12-12-12)
              at the rate of 8 lbs. per one thousand square feet
              after all plants are installed.

    C.   Seeding New Lawns:

         1.   Do not use wet seed or seed that is moldy or
              otherwise damaged in transit or storage.

         2.   Sow seed using a spreader or seeding machine.  Do
              not seed when wind velocity exceeds 5 miles per
              hour.  Distribute seed evenly over entire area by
              sowing equal quantity in 2 directions at right
              angles to each other.

         3.   Sow not less than the quantity of seed specified or

         4.   Rake seed lightly into top 1/8 inch of soil, roll
              lightly, and water with a fine spray.

         5.   Broadcast all lawn areas with post-planting
              commercial fertilizer (16-6-8) at the rate of 6
              lbs. per 1000 square feet after lawn seed
              installation, in addition to the fertilizer called
              for in soil preparation in these specification.

    D.   Planting Ground Cover:


Last Reviewed 2012-02-24