Archive for April, 2009

Don’t Forget The Mulch!

Saturday, April 25th, 2009

In an earlier blog entry, I talked about the value of mulch around newly planted trees and shrubs. Actually, mulch is good in your flower beds and vegetable gardens as well. I’ll not re-tell the mulch story here, but will merely remind you, now that the end of the spring planting season is near, to be sure and mulch; it’s one of the best actions you can take to assure that your plantings get off to a good start. Some reminders are shown below:

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Transporting And Storing Trees

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

It is best to plant trees as soon as possible after they are received. However, that is not always possible, for one reason or another, so, if they must be stored for a while, place them away from excessive exposure to sun and wind. Cover balled and burlapped or bare rooted tree roots with wood chips (mulch), sand, or loose earth. Remember, trees are alive and should be treated with respect, if one expects them to live and do well once they are finally planted. Protection from drying is critical. Roots must be kept moist. Foliage, stems, and branches can also dry out. If trees will be transported by truck, be sure to keep them covered for protection from wind.

Trees should be lifted by their container or root ball to avoid breaking fine roots and to protect stems.

Following are some helpful reminders about the various types of planting stock that you are likely to encounter.

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Avoid Stem Girdling Roots

Saturday, April 4th, 2009

Every year, there are some older, planted trees that become stressed or die for no apparent reason. Upon further inspection, we find that they were effectively strangled to death by roots that had grown around the stem (below ground level of course) and shut down the flow of moisture and nutrients to the above ground portions of the tree. This condition (called circling, or girdling roots) is basically caused by the tree being planted too deeply; first at the nursery, then in the final location; or the plant was kept in a container too long before it was outplanted. Containerized seedlings are particularly susceptible to this condition, and, since the average home owner usually buys container plants, they should pay close attention to the tree(s) they buy to see if they have a circling root system.

girdling-roots-2When a tree with circling roots is removed from the container (or burlap wrapping)  and planted,  unless special care is taken, the roots will continue to grow in a circling fashion, and eventually girdle the stem leading to decline and/or death. Girdling roots also adversely affect the trees stability, making it more prone to windthrow. No matter what kind of planting stock you use (containerized, balled & burlapped, or bareroot) care must be taken to assure that any circling roots present should be spread out in a more natural arrangement before closing the planting hole. AND BE SURE TO PLANT AT THE PROPER DEPTH! TREES PLANTED TOO DEEPLY WILL JUST DEVELOP MORE CIRCLING ROOTS.

girdling-roots-3Planting correctly:

Planting Larger Trees, Balled & Burlap, or Potted

Planting Larger Trees, Balled & Burlap, or Potted

Good luck, and let’s go plant a tree!