Thursday, December 06, 2012

The Last Tree-Planting of the Year

The big box store had a close out on trees. Not many there, but $8.00 a tree. I debated for a while, and made another trip there. If not for the beekeeping plans, I would not have done this. But lindens are famous for sweet honey. The leaves are edible, so pruned branches can be fed to the hens, as I already do with grapes.
Similar to the other recent Linden. All are the Greenspire cultivar. Grafted trees. Tilia cordata. The trees are a bit lopsided. I can correct that with some corrective pruning and staking over the next one to two years. Aside from that, perfection is not needed. It's just my preference. These are east of the Chicken house, so won't be much for shading the hens. But they will give some privacy and food. The bees will find them here easily.
Like some of the other big box store trees, and some nursery trees, these were balled-and-burlapped trees, placed in containers in chopped tree bark. I'm surprised at how little root growth there was. A few roots are winding around the pot, but not much.
Even though the burlap and twine were soft and  nearly degraded, I removed as much as I could.  That was partly because I wanted to see into the original rootball, looking for winding roots.  There weren't any.  I'm surprised at how minimal the roots were.  Maybe that's a characteristic for this species or cultivar, or the treatment they had.

This isn't bad at all for a left-over tree that's been in the lot all spring and summer.  Most experts would recommend against buying these trees, now, but I think it was OK for these.

The Linden that I bought mid summer had more winding roots.  It was also a bigger tree, which may be why.
I pruned a minimum of roots to unwind them. Very minimal. I teased out the rest using my gloved hand. It was easy, more shaking and jiggling than pulling and scraping.  The roots separated easily.  That will give the tree a better future.
Even though I haven't decided on whether mycorrhizal inocula will make a difference, I added some.  The "Plant Success" product was discussed yesterday.  I sprinkled it directly on the roots. When the soil was about half way filled in, I planted bulbs, added some more inoculant, and filled in the rest. The bulbs are for fun, and I think moles may not like alliums and daffodils. So it's a test.

It was interesting to look at the tree label.  They recommended filling in, with a soil / amendment mixture.  Most experts recommend against using a soil amendment.  Just the native soil.  This is a change for me, but I finally got the message.  The reason is, the roots will need to grow into the surrounding soil, and not be over-stimulated by amendments, to wind around in the original hole.
It's been raining, but not for the past couple of days. The soil was easy to dig, didn't clump into gloppy clods, and was crumbly like a moist chocolate cake. So I didn't firm it down with my foot. That would be too tight. I did water each tree in with about 6 gallons of water, 3 trips of 2 gallons for each tree. Then some compost mulch, and they are ready for winter.  The water drained in a couple of minutes.  Very fast.  I'm not worried here about clay or compaction.

This summer I was excited for Fall to come, so I could plant trees, and vines, and bulbs, and fall planted vegetables. Now I'm anxious for Spring to come. For these trees, I'm confidant they will get through the winter fine, but will they bloom? I want that.  Will they tolerate next summer's heat?

I think they will do OK.  I'm glad I planted them without waiting for the Spring shipments.  Way ahead of next Spring's trees - bigger, an extra season of growth, and much, much, much better price.  Can't go wrong with a nice 8 foot tree for $8.00.

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