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Benjamin L. Green, Richard W. Harper, and Daniel A. Lass

Urban foresters must be able to accurately assess costs associated with planting trees in the built environment, especially since resources to perform community forest management are limited. Red oak (Quercus rubra) and swamp white oak (Q. bicolor) (n = 48) that were produced using four different nursery production systems—balled and burlapped (BNB), bare root (BR), pot-in-pot container grown (PIP), and in-ground fabric (IGF)—were evaluated to determine costs of planting in the urban environment. Costs associated with digging holes, moving the trees to the holes, and planting the trees were combined to determine the mean cost per tree: BNB trees cost $11.01 to plant, on average, which was significantly greater than PIP ($6.52), IGF ($5.38), and BR ($4.38) trees. Mean costs for BR trees were significantly lower than all other types of trees; IGF trees were less expensive to plant (by $1.14) than PIP trees, but this difference was not statistically significant (P = 0.058). Probabilities that cost per tree are less than specific values also are calculated. For example, the probabilities that IGF and BR can be planted for less than $8.00 per tree are 1.00. The probability that a PIP can be planted for less than $8.00 is 0.86, whereas the probability for a BNB tree is just 0.01. This study demonstrates that the cost of planting urban trees may be affected significantly in accordance with their respective nursery production method.