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Friday, July 15, 2005

Gardening*TIP OF THE WEEK* - Winter Tree Planting

Many landscapers and gardeners prefer to plant trees and shrubs during the late autumn and winter months. This is the time where most trees are dormant, or if they are deciduous, have dropped their leaves, and are in an almost suspended stage of growth.

Late autumn and winter is the time of year where transplanting a plant within the garden, planting a nursery stock plant, or planting a tree or shrub into the garden from a container will cause the least amount of stress on the plants.

Provided the soil is not frozen your plants can be placed in the ground and will give the plants plenty of time to establish themselves into their new environment during the winter months and prepare them to sprout and blossom successfully in the spring season.

Given enough time to develop new roots and ease the plant slowly into the soil structure and surrounding environmental conditions, the plants have a much higher success rate than if they were transplanted or planted out in the early spring where temperatures can dry out soils rapidly.

There are several states your plants may be in when purchased or lifted.

Direct transplanting:

When transplanting trees or shrubs within your garden, most tree varieties (depending on their size of course), prefer their roots to be under cut the year previous to enable a root ball to form, (To be discussed in future blog entries).

Lift plants carefully from their current position using a sharp spade, take care not to damage or disturb the main root ball and try to lift the tree or shrub with as much root material as possible. In some cases trim larger roots back.

Place the plant root ball in a hole to a depth slightly higher than the soil level as the plant will subside over time, with a width two times the width of root ball. Create holes in the walls of the planting hole with a garden fork. This loosens up the sides and allows plant roots to penetrate the soil more easily. Fill in surrounding area with soil from the hole and press down with some pressure to remove air from soil.

In most cases transplanted trees or shrubs may require staking for the first seasons to hold them solidly in place. As always water the plant at the time of placement and mulch the surface around the tree or shrub, taking care not to suffocate the trunk or main stems.

Container stock:

When planting from containers into the ground the same principals apply as above, if the plant is root bound then cut back roots that are damaged or restricted, especially at the base of plant root ball, and free up the remaining roots gently with your fingers. Place in position and stake, water and mulch as you would with a direct transplant.

Bagged, burlapped or Hessian wrapped plants:

These plants have been usually grown in the field, are hardened to the environment and have had their roots wrapped or are placed in plastic bags ready for planting. The same planting principals apply here as with container and transplanted plants.

Remove plant from plastic or burlap / Hessian sack, take care to avoid damaging roots as the plants are placed. Stake the plant, water and add mulch.

Bare rooted plants:

Bare rooted plants are available and are plants with no soil on the roots. Inspect roots when removed from packaging, sawdust, etc, and remove any dead or diseased tissue, prune off any dead or damaged limbs or branches, then place the plant in a bucket of water for a few hours to allow the roots to take up some water.

Same principals as above for the planting hole, in this case provide a raised cone of soil at the base of planting hole for the plant roots to be evenly spread out over. Start to back fill the hole with soil, hold the plant in place and shake it as the hole is filled in around the roots, shaking the plant will help remove air pockets from around the plant roots.

Stake the plant, water and apply mulch.

1 comments:

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