Bare Root Tree Seedlings - Purchase, Planting and Care

Friends from Arizona ordered trees for their summer country home from the local Soil & Conservation District here in New York. Since they won't be arriving at their summer place until the end of April, we picked up the trees for them and are babysitting until May. These are the type of bare root trees that The Arbor Foundation and various environmental agencies offer for sale each year, in time for spring planting. 

Forty small trees came bundled in a recycled dog food bag and could only remain packaged like that for two days at the most. We were instructed to dig a trench with a hoe, in a shady place and lay the seedlings in the trench making sure to cover the roots well with soil. and to keep them moist so the tiny absorbing rootlets don't dry out and die. In this way the delicate plants would be safe. But, when we got to their land we soon discovered that the ground was still frozen solid, and there was un-melted snow visible in some spots of the landscape. Spring is late in arriving this year.

Colorado Blue Spruce $15.00 for ten trees.

The weather is supposed to be warmer through the weekend, so we used a planter box and pot full of potting soil to bury the roots in until the ground is sufficiently warmed. We will keep them in the semi-shade, keep them moist and baby them until then. Since our friends are insisting that we take two trees of each type for helping them out, we are waiting for our land up on the hill to thaw as well.

Ten larger Cranberry Bushes/trees for $10.00

The prices for these trees are great as long as you don't mind watching over them a little closer and being a lot more patient for them to grow to a recognizable size. And if one or two don't make it through the year, well at least you didn't lose a fortune. And think about what planting a tree will do for the planet and for your own enjoyment as well. Buying these tree bundles is a great way to obtain a greater number of trees for creating an eventual wooded lot, a small stand of trees, a wind break or a privacy shield.   

Sugar Maple and Native Birch each $10.00 for ten trees

When the time has come to set them in the ground, planting Bare Root Trees is a little different than planting burlap wrapped balled root trees.

First your going to need to keep the roots moist and covered at all times right up until they are placed in their permanent spot. Exposing those finer roots to the sun and dry air will damage the tree's ability to survive.

Next you will need to pick a spot suitable for the needs of the type of tree you are planting, just look it up online A good place to start is The Arbor Foundation's Tree Guide and How to Plant Trees, if your not sure. Conditions to consider are the size of the full grown tree, type of soil needed, amount of sun and moisture, and any other conditions provided which might affect the health of the tree.

You'll want to clear a three foot circular area of all plant growth in the spot you have chosen, then loosen the soil of a bowl shaped hole quite deep below the surface. Remove enough dirt in the center to allow room for the entire uncrowded root system of your young tree.

Carefully replace the native soil around the tree's roots up to the base of the tree stem or trunk. Create a shallow basin in the soil around the tree, water the area well and then cover with wood or bark mulch. You will need to keep the soil moist and you may want to place fencing or some other protective cover around the seedling to protect it from hungry animals or errant lawn mowers until the tree has gained sufficient growth.

We decided on an alternative method of protecting the seedlings until they are large enough to withstand the possible hazards of a wilder environment. I planted each treeling in a bucket with holes drilled in the bottom. We had some native soil from digging which was done when the front porch was built, though not enough to fill eight buckets, so that was mixed with inexpensive bags of topsoil, some peat moss to help hold moisture, and a little well broken up styrofoam to help keep the dirt from hardening into a solid mass. A few rocks were placed in the bottom of the bucket first, and each bucket was topped with wood chip mulch to keep the roots shaded. The make-shift planters were placed in an area where they would receive the morning light but be protected from the hot afternoon sun. The roots need to be kept moist but not too wet at all times and they may have to be treated with a safe fertilizerer or plant food if kept in the buckets for a long period. Depending on how well they do, and where they will be permanently placed, they could be transplanted next fall or possibly the following year or later.  


1 comment:

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