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Planting bare rooted trees

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Rank attained: Chlorophyll for blood

Joined: 09 Nov 2011
Posts: 2727
Location: Kildare

PostPosted: Tue Oct 27, 2015 2:20 pm    Post subject: Planting bare rooted trees Reply with quote

Now we are getting into the bare rooted season if you are planting either bare rooted or pot grown plants, When planting trees don't mix a lot of organic matter into the soil or the tree might grow a compacted root ball in the improved soil without sending roots out into the surrounding ground. Just dig a hole and put the loosened soil back in - then add compost or well rotted manure as a mulch on top of the ground.
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Rank attained: Vegetable garden tender

Joined: 15 Jan 2011
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Location: north tipperary

PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2015 4:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When buying bare rooted or rootballed trees over the winter, remember these few key points.

1) The most crucial thing is to minimise the time between the plant being lifted and being replanted. This will minimise shock stress, and improve establishment. It is better to do a large area in three hits than have lots of plants hanging around.

2) Water. Root dessication is the main factor in plant failure or plant survival. Don't blast them with a hose. You'll knock all the good stuff off. Put them in a container filled with water. Straight away. No going for a cup of tea.

3)Heeling in. If you won't manage planting the same day, don't let the plants sit in water until you can. The roots will start to rot, or you may risk low temperatures, and the feeder roots (the important ones) killed by ice. Heel them in! This can be a trench filled with enriched earth, where you build a furrow, as if for spuds, and earth them up. It's good protection. It could be putting a specimen tree in a large pile of compost, or one smaller one in a pot.

4) Root collar. Look at the point where the very first root protrudes from the stem. That is the root collar. When planted, that should be no lower than the soil surface. Any lower, and the roots will start to suffocate. Think. A tree seed falls on the surface. It doesn't end up 2" lower. I often plant slightly proud, to allow for soil settling.

5) Weeds. Plan for them. They will come. The worst one is grass. Try to maintain a "plant free area" within 2' of any stem. My preferred method is to use brown cardboard in a double layer covered with: Ideally leaf mould, or even autumn leaves, with twigs to stop them all blowing away. These mimic the forest environment, and contain beneficial fungi. Second, plain old garden compost. You need to block out the light. You will still need to hand weed, but the weeds will be weak.

6) Beating up. It is not uncommon for 10-20% of bare root plants to fail, slightly less for rootballs. With proper planning, you'll probably end up with 5%. You might get more though. Don't get disheartened. It isn't all your fault. Just replace the failed specimens. That's called "beating up" in hedging/forestry.

7) My final point. Nature and nurture. If you've a small amount of plants, or you've spent 500 euro on a specimen tree, love them, by all means! A decent water once a week, fish blood and bone per packet directions, seaweed or nettle/comfrey feed every couple of weeks will obviously help. Avoid high nitrogen feeds, like miracle gro, as you'll only stimulate foliage, while what you really want is root growth. So, try to water and feed at the "drip line". That's about 5cm/2" from the foliage limit for a small plant, a bit more for a bigger one etc. This will encourage the most important roots to chase the food and water.
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Rank attained: Hawthorn Tree
Rank attained: Hawthorn Tree

Joined: 07 Mar 2011
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Location: Mayo

PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2016 3:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I cannot beat Tippben's comments but...
Last January I was planting common birch by the hundreds and about 3 weeks later found a bunch I forgot to plant lying bare rooted on the ground.
They were exposed to frost, rain, wind etc. And they all survied after I planted them.
Perhaps this just points to how wet the weather is!
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Rank attained: Chlorophyll for blood

Joined: 23 Feb 2010
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Location: Co. Wexford

PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2016 12:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hard to beat an expert.
Its my field. Its my child. I nursed it. I nourished it. I saw to its every want. I dug the rocks out of it with my bare hands and I made a living thing of it!

This boy can really sing
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