My sister ordered fruit trees from Willis Orchard.
We are concerned about root chopped this short. Do you think these trees have a chance?
How odd. Trimming the roots when they should have been trimming the tops.
At the very least, you should reduce a lot of the side growth on top to balance for the loss of roots.
If they are not dried out they should make it since I do see a few roots. Thats not good nursery practice at all however; they will get going much more slowly.
I would agree the roots are over pruned. However the trees arrived still dormant so they should be alright. It looks like the root systems arrived wet too so the packing was good. Don't let the roots dry out. Put the trees in a bucket of water for a few hours to allow them to take a good drink before planting. Get them in the ground right away. Do not let the roots get dry during the first two weeks they are in the ground.
Not saying you should drown them. I'm saying you should water every 1-2 days until the roots have had a chance to start growing new feeder roots. Do not prune the trees. There is a hormone produced by the terminal buds on the ends of the branches that tells the roots to grow which aids in the establishing the trees. You are better off leaving them as is. If you get some die-back you can cut it off later but don't trim them now.
If the trees I purchased from them had roots pruned like that I would be concerned too. But in your zone its still cool enough that I would expect the trees to make it.
If I were you I place a call to Willis. Let them know about your concern and alert them to this thread. That way they can see the pictures for themselves.
Thank you very much everybody. It supposed to be 80+ today, so I would not call it particularly cool weather :(
Olga don't leave them sitting in sun while you dig and prepare for planting. Put them in a shaded area as a bear-rooted tree can lose a lot of moisture sitting in the hot sun. If they dry out they become nothing but dead sticks.
Many nurseries grow trees in the dirt rather than in pots -- so there will be some roots cut when they dig them back up for shipment...
Shipping a big pile 'o dirt with each tree gets kinda spendy too -- so most places won't do it...
If you haven't done it yet, you will need to heavily prune these when they go into the ground... Most of the state extension services, as well as Dave Wilson nurseries have great instructions -- they basically tell you to chop the tree off at 18-24" above ground (Or shorter in Dave Wilson's case)
It sounds pretty barbaric, but works out really well. It makes the tree develop good strong roots -- it doesn't need to spend all its energy supporting a giant, tall, leafy top with a missing root system...
John in sc those instructions to prune heavily at planting is what has been taught for a long time and I agree should be done with bareroot whips. However once a tree is a couple years old like these trees it is not what I would do. I would not prune the trees except to direct growth after they have leafed out or until their first dormant season. A tree of this size will benefit from the auxins produced in the terminal buds as they are less vigorous than a whips.
I have found the same thing again and again that you should not prune a tree at transplanting. Again I think I should state we are not talking about whips here.
In this link look at the bottom left paragraph in page 11.
In this link the UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA SCHOOL OF FOREST RESOURCES EXTENSION repeatedly states the importance of the auxins produced in the terminal buds for tree/root growth and establishment. I have read better articles in the past but these two came up first in my search today.
while i wouldn't prune a containerized tree i was planting, i'd whack that puppy to 30" so that the tree kinda matches the roots
olga I just read you review on at the Garden Watchdog. It has only been 12 days since your trees arrived and you are giving negative feedback because they have not yet bloomed. I have planted many many dormant bareroot trees from many nurseries. Not one has ever bloomed in less than 30 days. Sure the roots look over pruned to me too but its way to soon to be giving negative feedback.
If they don't make it Willis will send you new trees as their warranty is good. If that ends up being the case you will need to send them part of each tree back. Part of the root section and about 6" of the scion is all they ask.