Sunday, December 30, 2012

Looking back at gardening, 2012

Often I complain about neglecting the garden, or not getting enough time in it.  This year was different.  Much was effort toward 2013.  It's about the journey, and not the destination.  Sometimes.  A big part was making the Battleground place into "our" garden, instead of "that 2 acre lawn".  Not all of the 2 acre is/was lawn, but most of it.

These days, I'm less willing to think about 10 years down the road. I think more about tomorrow. Or next year. With a bow and aim for later years, of course. No one can plant a tree and not think that. But rather than waiting for the best time to plant, or waiting until soil prep was ideal, which takes time, I planted in the summer. I kept the soil prep to immediate areas around what was planted. That said, I did haul at least 8 truckloads of compost, so I did more than I'm acknowledging in that sentence. I mulched with thick layer of compost, and watered new trees and transplanted trees, conscientiously.   After I thought of it, I added mycorrhyzal inoculant.  Not knowing if that matters.   I added some not-ideal-but-promising big box store trees that needed some TLC, shaping, and root pruning, but constitute a head start on next year. My reasoning is, the added TLC would result in better plants, in 2013, than I could start or obtain in 2013, and maintenance would be less than if I start them in Spring.  The journey, Summer and Fall 2012, was digging, moving, planting more than I otherwise would have.  But the work isn't work.  It's therapy.

The pics are today, now, at the Battleground place. First frost of the year. Foggy. Very nice, quiet, solemn atmosphere.
Trees I moved from Vancouver. Size is based on my faulty memory
1. Mulberry, Illinois Everbearing.. Height about 7 foot. Trunk about thumb thick. Heavy root system.
2. Ginkgo. Height about 7 foot. Trunk, thumb thick. Heavy rood system.  Originally grown from a seed.
3. Two Hazelnuts. Height about 9 foot, pruned to about 6 ft. Trunks, thumb thick heavy root system.
4. Volunteer hazelnut, height 6 foot. Trunk, pinkie finger thick. Minimal roots.
5. Four volunteer hazelnut saplings, knee height, trunk pencil or thinner. Minimal roots.  Two are divided from the hazelnut in #4.
6. Volunteer red maple, knee height, trunk pencil thickness. Small but fully intact root system.
7. Three peaches, 2 from containers. Height, about waist, two with trunks pinkie finger thick. Indian Blood with severely pruned root system, due to bad digging on my part, so I pruned the top back as well.  That one was more thumb thick trunk.   I was surprised, it didn't wilt.  So maybe it survived.  The other two had more intact roots, because I grew in containers.
8. Morello cherry, shoulder height, trunk index finger. Root system moderate, not much pruning.
9. Almaden Duke cherry, Root system heavy, not much pruning.
10. Stanley plum. Height, top of my head. Trunk thumb thick. Heavy root system, minimal pruning.
11. Four small fig trees, foot tall to knee height, all form containers. Largest, Sal's fig, knee height, good roots; then Petite negri, foot tall, OK roots, and two King, foot tall, minimal roots. All from cuttings I started.
12. One larger fig tree, "Vancouver Brunswick", which I have pruned to maintain compact size over the years, so height does not reflect weight and volume. Height, top of my bald head, wrist thick trunk, root mass very heavy.   Root pruning was minimal.

Wow.  Wow!   Can't believe I did all of that. If I set out to move all of these, I could not have done it. Moving one or two or three at a time, I didn't think about that.  My Vancouver yard is much less congested.  The trees have a good chance to settle in before the stress of next summer, lots of time for root growth.  New growth will be limited by the existing root mass, which will help with survival and management.  And it's done.  There's not much else, of any size, that I would want to move.
Shrubs moved this year:
1. Forsythia, tall canes to 10 foot, slender. Pruned heavily to waist height. Trunk 2 thumbs thick. Roots, minimal for such a big shrub. Originally cutting-grown.
2. Rose of Sharon, kept pruned very compact for 10 years, chest height, but also pruned heavily to knee height. Trunk ankle thick. Pruned heavily due to root loss while digging. This one, I don't know if it will survive.
3. Small lilac, probably 6 years old but grown in shade, knee height, minimal root loss.
4. Rose of Sharon seedling, knee height, about 4 years old.
5. Three blueberry plants, knee height, neglected in shade and didn't water, so small, knee height. Much better location now. Compact roots, minimal loss.
6. One small Tamara rose grown a few years ago from cutting. I thought it died, but now some new growth. Maybe it will survive.
7. One burgundy leafed "Royal Purple" Eurasian Smoke Tree. Cotinus coggyria. I don't know if this is tree or shrub. Probably, small tree. Height about 8 foot but pruned back to chest height due to root loss. Root mass OK, loss minimal but there wasn't much.
8.  Three mugo pines, about 2 years old, about 1 foot tall.  Slow growers.
9.  One pieris cultivar.  It's been growing., barely, with a tall privacy fence blocking Southern sun, and trees and shrubs blocking eastern and western sun.  It was also in a retaining wall, which seems to have poor drainage - dig a couple of feet, and it's rock.  It might have once been a pond.  This pieris was abouit 4 ft tall, trunk about thumb thickness, doesn't look very healthy.  The new location gets a lot better light and drainage, so if it survives, it will be a lot happier.  Orchard Mason bees love Pieris.
10.  That big camellia that I moved last week.  About 8 foot tall, thumb thickness.  Good root mass, I think, although I could not get all of the roots, and pruned back the top from about 10 foot tall.  I read that camellias don't survive moving.  Maybe it will, it looks good for the moment.
11. Probably more, forgotten as of this writing.
There were also many bearded irises, perennials, and bulbs moved from Vancouver, or planted this summer and fall.
New Trees, added this summer and fall.
1. Four Lindens, Greenspire. One about 10 feet tall, trunk 2 thumbs thick. Originally balled/burlap, with roots extending into compost. Others about 6 to 8 feet tall, will need some guiding to develop central lead but otherwise look good. Bought largely due to my honey ambitions. I read they are not summer drought tolerant, but they do well in Vancouver. Experiment. Prices very cheap due to season close out, $8.00
2. One red leaf Norway maple, single thin lead to about 12 foot tall, trunk thumb thick, roots as for Lindens.
3. One hybrid Red maple, damaged trunk, minimal roots. I have doubts about whether it will survive. Ning liked it, and it was cheap - as I recall, about $16. Some TLC will be needed.
4. One Shan Xha, or Chinese Haw. Bare root, waist height, roots typical for bare root tree. Mail order, "One Green World".
5. One flowering plum, 8 foot tall, trunk thumb thickness. Roots as for Lindens. $16 due to late summer close out.
6. One Korean dogwood, height to top of my head, trunk thumb thick. Heavy root mass in container. This was the most expensive, $30 or so.
7. One Aspen, height to top of my head, compact roots, about $6 from a local nursery, same as the Red maple. I think they buy damaged trees from Oregon nurseries, from the look of the stock, but the prices were great.
8. One Laburnum, "golden chain tree". Height 10 feet. Needs some shaping. Trunk thumb thick. Really limited root mass. Would have fit in 2 gallon pot. Otherwise, similar idea to the Lindens. Ning was wanting this, so I bought on impulse. Big box store close-out. $16
9. One Mountain Ash, same source as the Red maple and Aspen. Height 10 feet. Trunk thumb thick.
10.  Two Asian plums, 6 foot tall, thumb thick trunks.  Containerized.
11.  Three small Pawpaws.  One foot tall.  I have doubts about their survival, but it's worth a try.
12.  One Asian pear, 5 foot tall, trunk index finger thick.  It wasn't looking happy, but I think it will be better in 2013.  Average volume roots as for Lindens.
13.  Two tiny Jujubes.  Mail order, containerized.  About one foot tall.  Basically saplings.

I think that's all. Wow that's a lot.
New Shrubs.
1.  One very small Cotinus starts
2.  Two very small virbunums
3.  Two blueberries, about waist height.
4.  One virbunum about waist height.
5.  One forsythia about waist height.
6.  One hydrangia about knee height.
7.  One weigelia about knee height.
8.  One additional Mugo pine about one foot tall
9.  Two Honey berries.  Basically, honeysuckles that produce blueberry-size berries.  About 1 foot, really just rooted cuttings.

Looking at the list, it doesn't seem possible.

It's great to have so much from years of growing, at the Battleground place, instead of them being new starts or costly nursery plants.  Some would not be available at such sizes.  Many are plants / trees / shrubs that I started, or grew from very small size, or "rescued".   Some will bear fruit in 2013, but if I bought them new it would be 2015 before the same varieties started producing even small amounts.  The extra room, and increased sunshine, less crowding, will result in faster growth here, and more productivity.

The comfort of having part of my old familiar garden, at the new place, is great.  The added new trees and shrubs, by planting in 1012, will mean 2013 will be more about puttering, pruning, shaping, and not nearly as much about adding and moving.  I know some trees, shrubs, and other plants may not make it.  There are some challenges adjusting to the change.  Deer and rabbits and squirrels will have effects, so not everything will work out.  I'll need to be diligent about watering, especially the new or transplanted trees and shrubs.  It's all good.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012


Clovers are regarded as forages or lawn weeds. When I was a boy, when the earth was green and great mastodons lumbered across the Illinois plains, lawns in my neighborhood and town were mixtures of grass and clover, with occasional dandelions and other weeds. Then came herbicides and fertilizers, and most lawns were converted to monocultures of grass. All of the images below are via wikimedia commons, searching on "clover" and "clover bee".

All clovers are nitrogen fixing, when working with their Rhizobium bacterial friends.  Might be a good idea to buy inoculated seeds, or buy inoculum.   Depends on who you are reading.

Dutch white clover (Trifolium repens) is considered good for lawns.  Dutch White clover is compact, keeping to a smaller size than most other clovers.  It does not require watering, stays green longer than grasses do, and does well in poor soil.  Dutch white clover improves the soil.  This clover is a perennial legume.  Dutch white clover is the type that grew on that ancient Illinois lawn of my boyhood years.  It turns out that before herbicides and fertilizers, clover was included in high quality lawn seed.
The prompting issue for me, now, is to have lots of nectar production for honey bees.  Of course.  White clover is known as very bee friendly and produces a clear, excellent honey.   Even without wanting to make honey, and even without beekeeping, however, the role of clover in soil conditioning and possibly attracting beneficial insects, and nurturing neighborhood bees, makes it a good addition to the lawn.

Part of the "rebranding" of white clover as a weed, was that bees were so attracted to it.  The thought was that, to reduce risk for bee stings, we should eradicate clover in our lawns, keeping them toxic, environmentally wasteful and damaging, and unhealthy, but pure and pretty to some eyes.  Multiple websites, especially grass seed companies, lawn care companies, and purveyors of fine chemical toxins, continue to promulgate the idea that clover is bad.
Red clover (Trifolium pratense)   is regarded as marginal for honey bees, because the flower shape doesn't allow for good nectar retrieval by honey bees.  Even so, they are beautiful to look at, and other beneficial insects can be attracted.  Red clover is a short lived perennial, lasting 2 or 3 years.  .
Red clover with bee.  Apparently, honey bees may not get much nectar, but they can collect and use pollen.  I don't know if some honey bees are better adapted than others, for red clover.  Other types of bees might benefit.  There are other choices, so it might be best to aim for those.
Ferdinand bee from the story of  Ferdinand the Bull.  My favorite book.  And this image is inked onto my right calf.  Looks like this bee is on a red clover.

Crimson clover, Trifolium incarnatum.  "Incarnatum" refers to "blood red".  Not the same as red clover.  A good producer of nectar for honey bees, and the bloom time is after fruits, and before white clover, which makes for a more extended nectar season.  Trifolium incarnatum is an annual herb, and does not regenerate when cut.  So I imagine it would make a good green manure for raised beds, as well.

If I plant in Spring, I may not get much, if any, bloom and nectar, for the white and crimson clovers.  All in good time. The first year of beekeeping is about learning, and improving my environment for them in future years, and seeing what works, and what doesn't work.

White there are already occasional clover plants in the orchard and yard, they are rare.  Probably due to nuking with "weed and feed".  I want a more productive ground cover.  Today I went around the little orchard area and lawns, with a garden rake and packets of white clover seeds.  They can be obtained on Amazon and other places.  I raked the mole hills smooth, spreading the soft  soil around.  Then I sprinkled Dutch White Clover seeds thinly on the prepared patches of soil, and raked a little more.  The first frost is expected in one or two weeks.  I don't know if these first seeds will survive and grow,  If they don't, I'll replant in Spring. By then there will be more molehills, too.   I will wait until other plants are growing, and if no clover germination then, I'll replant.  I feel like I've made another step in the process of creating a more natural and useful area for honey and other bees, beneficial insects, the soil, and the plants and trees.

Sunday, December 23, 2012


This was available a few weeks ago at a local grocery store. It's a nice concept, since Helleborus can be planted permanently outside when it's done inside. They bloom mid winter, when very little else is blooming or growing. I have others at home.
This variety is "Jacob". I had 2 plants at work, which is warmer and more light. On those, the leaves are more faded and flowers are about done, so I planted them outside today.
Hellebores have a place in herbal tradition, as "medicine" and as a poison. I wouldn't eat them or anything made from them - they are known to be poisonous. Apparently deer and rabbits know that too, so the plants are left alone.
One of these came with the house, 11 years ago. It's in a shaded, dry spot with a fence on the north, the house on the west, and a big tree on the east. It blooms every year.

The flowers are nodding.  So you have to get down low, or have them on a retaining wall, to see the full appearance.  This illustration is nice, but I don't think it's very accurate as a depiction of the flower.
I obtain these old illustrations from sites that describe them as before 1912, so are over 100 years old. This one is by Botanical illustrator Elizabeth Blackwell.

Moving a big Camelia

This camelia has been in front of the house for about 9 years. The original plan was to espalier the camelia, but it got away from me. It was too big for this location. I could have just cut it down, but decided to move it along with the rest of the migration of trees and shrubs to the battleground place. This, and a pieris from the back yard, is the last of the major shrubs or trees to move. Some small stuff could follow.
This location was very crowded. The camelia, some clematis, hostas, and bulbs. I dug out a hosta to give myself room to work, and re-planted the hosta when done. The roots grew laterally and under the sidewalk, but the root mass was reasonably compact.
After trenching, I undercut, then sliced behind the bush. Tipped it, slid onto a sheet of cardboard, and onto the truck.
Here in the wheelbarrow. I added Mycorhizal inoculant. Most likely there is already a poipulation of mycorhiza since I'm moving a big root mass. No pic in final location - if it blooms in a couple of months, I'll add a pic then.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Hazelnut

From La Belgique Horticole, 1850s.

Hazelnuts have been part of the human diet for 9,000 years. A large pit with thousands of hazelnut hulls was found in Scotland, radiocarbon dated to about 7,000 BCE. This was on the east coast of the small Hebridean island of Colonsay at Staosnaig. At that time, hazenuts were important in the diet, along with acorns and nettles ( Also "Based on the abundance of hazelnut shells found at Mesolithic sites in southern Scandinavia and Northern Germany it was proposed that these remains may testify to an important food supply rather than just the use as a supplement to animal protein."

After the last ice age, hazelnuts spread from Northern Turkey (Pontus to the Greeks) to other areas of Europe.
"The caduceus of Greek mythology and Hermes fame was made of hazel.... when Apollo was only a few hours old he escaped from his cradle and went out in search of adventure...stole two oxen from Apollo (the god of the sun) and hid them in a cave where he killed and eat them. When Apollo discovered what had happened, Hermes played to him on a lyre... Apollo was so charmed by his music he allowed him to go unpunished. In gratitude Hermes gave his lyre to Apollo, who in return gave him a magical Caduceus made of Hazel, said to bestowed wisdom, wealth and prosperity on its owner by turning everything it touched into gold."from Plant Folklore, on

The ancient Greeks referred to hazelnuts as "karyon Pontin" for their plentiful availability in the mountains of Pontus.

Romans are known to have cultivated Hazelnuts, including in Britain.

(By Redoute, botanical illustrator for Marie Antionette)

The world's top producer of Hazelnuts is Turkey. In the US, the top producer is Oregon, followed by Washington.
Beehives in hazelnut grove, Ordu Turkey.  I think Hazelnuts are wind pollinated, however, because they bloom in winter.

From wikipedia.

 In mythology, hazel wood is used for dowsing (finding water). Quoting from the blog Grannulus Grove, "The Celts believed hazelnuts gave one wisdom and inspiration. The Gaelic word for nuts are 'cno' pronounced 'knaw' and the word for wisdom, 'cnocach'...if a Hazel tree was unjustly cut down then the punishment was death." Glad I didn't cut down the hazel trees in my Vancouver yard, opting instead to move them to Battleground. Whew. From the same source, "Hazel trees were so abundant in Scotland that it was named Caledonia which was derived from Cal-Dun, meaning 'Hill of Hazel. In Norse mythology, the Hazel was known as the Tree of Knowledge and was sacred to the god Thor."

Hazelnut trees live about 50 years, but regenerate from the roots. So the large bush that results may have trunk or root hundreds of years old.  This regenerative ability may be why the small trees that I moved seemed to split into 2 or 3 trees.

From The Guide to Nut Cookery, 1898, by Almeda Lambert. " varieties which have long, fringed husks extending beyond the nut, are filberts; ...those whose husks are shorter than the nut, are hazels...derived from the Anglo-Saxon word haesel meaning a hood or bonnet."

Hazel Nut trees are more compact than most nut trees.  They tend to be bushy, so can be used for a hedge row.  Ultimate size about 10ft tall, 10ft across.... Hazelnuts spread by underground runners that develop roots. These runners can be cut away from the main plant using a sharp digging spade and planted in a new location. Also here.

Moving Orchard Mason Bee Houses

Each year I add new houses for the Orchard Mason Bees.  They fill up almost all of the holes, so I know they are proliferating.  Now to take some to the Battleground place, where there will be lots of trees to pollinate.

One is home made. The other was bought. I should not have kept it so old, they say they should be replaced to reduce disease. Still, they did well and reproduced well last year.
Kitty cat is vaguely curious but only in that "I don't care" cat way.
Packed with bubble pack to avoid rough travel. I think it's OK this time of year. Earlier in the season bumping and shaking is bad for them. Will install them in a little while. I read, ease or southeast exposures are best. This winter I'll have to make some new bee houses. A bee house is a piece of untreated wood, big enough for 5/16th's inch holes, 6 inches deep. Although these are 4 inches deep. There are many different plans. The bees don't care about the details.

Moving a Volunteer Hazelnut Tree

I didn't plan on moving this tree. While cleaning out compost bins, I looked over to it and decided to. This is a volunteer hazel nut tree.  It's in a corner by the house, with a fence on the South side, the house on the West side, and not much sun on the East side. It's been cut down once or twice. Maybe more. Probably about 6 or 8 years old.

Before digging.  Hard to see if this is one or several, and hard to see where the stem meets the roots.  I made my best guess, and dug under the tree with the shovel.  It came up very easily.  The soil is soft here, having had many years of bark mulch.

I imagine these are "squirrel planted".  Our friendly Sciurus arborists have planted a lot of nuts around the yard.  In addition to scarfing up every nut from the trees.
Clearly 2 trees.  Possibly one multi-stem, or more than one growing together.  I think it's one multistem.
Added potting soil to keep roots moist for transport.
Divided almost by accident.  I moved the stems around to see where they were joined, and they just broke apart.  Now I have a larger one with a lot of roots, and a smaller one with a few roots.  Plus 2 other smaller ones, one from this bunch and the other clearly separate.  The small ones are back into the potting soil while I decide what to do with them.  Maybe, by growing more, and larger, nut trees, there will be one or two nuts left for me to taste.
Planted. Now I have a row of 4 Hazelnut trees. Two of bearing age, one one-foot-tall seedling, and this 6 foot tall sapling.  I planted it as straight as I could.  I'll keep the top for a while to tie to a post and straighten it a bit more, then prune next summer for scaffold branches similar to the others.  This sapling is about 7 foot tall.  It did not look that big in the corner, due to laying on its side.

I gave it a good sprinkling of Plant Success Mycorrhiza, which I have no proof is helpful but am doing anyway.  Planted in the native topsoil, and mulched with compost.  Settled in for the winter.

Amazing to be planting trees in mid December.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Time Machine. 2006

From December 2006, same dogs, 6 years younger.  Different fireplace.

Tomatoes Summer 2006.  I think this was one of my better crops.

This is the fig tree I just moved to Battleground.  Summer 2006.  According to my notes then, I started it from a cutting Dec 2003/Jan 2004.

May 2006.  Sunny Disposition bearded iris.  I've moved a start to Battleground.  This is a good performer, increases well, blooms well even with neglect and grass/palm competition.

I was also reading about old and ancient seeds.  That Judean Date Palm is still growing.  The tree is male, so the only way we'll get a taste of the ancient dates, will be for it to be crossed with modern date palms, then back cross with the parent for a 75% ancient palm.  Probably not in my lifetime.  According to this blog, Methusaleh bloomed in 2011, so I hope they used it to pollinate a related palm and potentially have fruit from those trees in 2022.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Setting up Bee Keeping

I've been reading up on beekeeping.  For years I've had bee boxes for Orchard Mason Bees.  Now I'm feeling like they are the gateway drug for Honey Bees.

Today we went to Portland, BeeThinking store.  Bought a Top Bar Hive.  Went to their beekeeping class a few weeks ago, and this seems like the best approach for me.  Easier to manage, less weight for the back to manage.  That coming from someone who lifts 200# fig trees.  This is from their website,

The hive kit fit nicely into the back of a Prius. Over the winter I'll be assembling it. Got the copper roof for rain protection and keep a bit cooler.
The bee that got Ferdinand the Bull into trouble. I have this image tattooed on my right calf. I share a few traits with Ferdinand.

I also placed an order for Italian Honey Bees for next Spring.

Woodcut of honeybee and red clover. I will order some red clover seed and inoculum so I will have more nectar sources nearby. Also those linden trees although they may not do much next Spring. Blackberries are endemic, including our property, and honeybees love blackberry flowers. The fruit trees are small, so may not be meaningful this year for the bees, but there are lots in the area.  I read that honey bees forage as far away as 3 miles.

And one in Portugal, made from cork. It will be fun to learn about another aspect of gardening and nature.

Victorian Beehive via There are many variations on beehives. Bees have been at it much longer than humans. Even though we have a certain image in mind when we think of beehives, they don't have to look like the usual boxes.
Skeps in UK.  Skeps are hand woven, basket-like beehives.
Ukranian beehive, also via wikimedia commons.
Skep, 1800s, Switzerland.
Cork beehive in Portugal, also via wikimedia commons.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

The Hen Fortress

Done for the winter.  The upstairs window openings are covered with plastic sheeting, to keep the cold wind out and keep rain from coming in.  The hens are moved in.  They have 2 new pullet friends - sex-linked.  They won't be laying for 3 months.  There was some initial role assertion by the normally placid Leghorns, but now they are cooing like pigeons.

The dogs won't be there to keep guard all of the time, but it's looking secure.

I still need to paint the door frame.  The upstairs section will need work next Spring.  I'm thinking they will have a balcony to view their realm.
View through the front door. They have a roost, a private laying booth made from recycle bins, and a screened-off food storage area. There is a little door-within-the-door for summer coming and going.

They enjoy the dandelion greens, which make for orange yolks and more flavorful eggs.  Dandelions are growing like crazy now.
The view from the other entrance, showing the doors into the laying booths. Below the laying booth, there is a plastic bin for chicken feed.  To the right, screen doors to access the feeder and waterer.

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.