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If you've planted confiers...

Posted by whaas 5a SE WI (My Page) on
Mon, Aug 22, 11 at 13:08

Curious what you think about these comments regarding the planting of new container grown conifers. The source will go anomonyous (likely a business you've never heard of) just curious what everyone thinks.

I would respectfully suggest not tinkering with the roots your new plants my friend. I want them to work well for you. They will be less likely to survive their introduction and slower to establish and there is nothing to be gained for landscape plants. Only Bonsai specimen are aesthetically helped that way if done carefully and at the right time.

The plants will go where the food and water is. If roots happen to be twisted or close together (as also occurs in nature as well as the container) they will fuse and spread to the resources on their own while the less productive root areas will spread more slowly or not at all. Branches go where the sun is. Roots go where their needs are. They really don�t need us. By disrupting the fine feeding feeding hairs on the entire root mass in order to spread them out the water and food supply is cut off. it is more likely to shock, desiccate, die or stop growing for the season. We disrupt those plants that may be bound just enough to facilitate new root production but not nutrient and water uptake. We remove enough soil on younger less bound ones to facilitate shipping but not harm the plant. Per the instructions plant the bag with the plant and then remove it. Use mulch. That provides a good environment for growth and healing.

Girdling is something that may be an issue on large aged specimens grown in large containers for years. Even then I doubt it is less a real issue than one of appearance. Roots will crawl across the ground and shatter concrete asphalt and rock to get what they need. They will lift homes and shatter foundations plug sewers and on and on. They get in the way of the trunk and the trunk will absorb them. That is how a trunk gets bigger. It occupies space the roots did when younger.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: If you've planted confiers...

This is certainly a new twist regarding root management on potted conifers that are about to be planted.

"By disrupting the fine feeding feeding hairs on the entire root mass to spread them out the water and food supply is cut off".

That has some merit and I think that is why some don't make it. This scenario really comes into play with broken ball B&B plants. They almost all never make it.

Dave


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RE: If you've planted confiers...

Whaas, is this gentleman speaking strictly of potted conifers, or are his views directed towards all potted plants? If the latter, his statement that trunks "absorb" interfering roots is surely not true. I can point to street after street of Norway maples in serious decline due to girdling roots.

Also, and I may be misinterpreting here, but fine feeder roots are not permanent anyway, growing and dying over the course of a single growing season. But I do see, upon re-reading, that he may be speaking of the time period immediately following planting, in which case, there could be merit to his ideas.

At any rate, I look forward to the comments of others here. Good food for discourse.

+oM


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RE: If you've planted confiers...

My newly planted "kill ratio" from when I did little root teasing to when I started bare rooting (about 5-6 years ago) is about the same, so it doesn't seem to hurt (for me, anyway). And I know I've dug out a few J root plants that were in the ground for 8-10 years before keeling over.

tj


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RE: If you've planted confiers...

Good post.

I read a paper on transplanting success of two or three types of non conifers. Bare root by air spade and DROPPING! had high success rates. Good stock and after care must be important.

As far as the girdling roots go, i have been sawing through a tree with a "Y" shaped trunk. Amazing how the trunks merged together. Makes for some really neat growth ring patterns at different slice levels.

Usually with container trees I will at least do SOMETHING to encourage the roots to grow out from that tasty potting soil. Now these are one gallon at best so I am not creating too large a bath tub in my clay.


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RE: If you've planted confiers...

Good post.

I read a paper on transplanting success of two or three types of non conifers. Bare root by air spade and DROPPING! had high success rates. Good stock and after care must be important.

As far as the girdling roots go, i have been sawing through a tree with a "Y" shaped trunk. Amazing how the trunks merged together. Makes for some really neat growth ring patterns at different slice levels.

Usually with container trees I will at least do SOMETHING to encourage the roots to grow out from that tasty potting soil. Now these are one gallon at best so I am not creating too large a bath tub in my clay.


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RE: If you've planted confiers...

I think he has some points. However my mind set is on getting the roots to radiate out from the root-ball. Unless I can get them to do so, I typically cut at the root-ball in 5 gallon plants so new growth will start into the surrounding soil. Only in the January-March time frame would I feel safe bare-rooting a tree to transplant down here.


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RE: If you've planted confiers...

  • Posted by whaas 5a SE WI (My Page) on
    Tue, Aug 23, 11 at 13:29

Thanks, always like to get feedback from as many folks as possible so I can learn from my mistakes.

Here are my thoughts:

I would respectfully suggest not tinkering with the roots your new plants my friend. I want them to work well for you. They will be less likely to survive their introduction and slower to establish and there is nothing to be gained for landscape plants. Only Bonsai specimen are aesthetically helped that way if done carefully and at the right time.

I very much disagree with this statment. You need to correct any obvious j roots, girdling roots or roots that have elevated above the root flare. I see the latter happen ALL ALL the time.

The plants will go where the food and water is.

Everyone can easily agree to this.

If roots happen to be twisted or close together (as also occurs in nature as well as the container) they will fuse and spread to the resources on their own while the less productive root areas will spread more slowly or not at all. Branches go where the sun is. Roots go where their needs are. They really don�t need us.

If they are twisting below and back up (like a j root) or around the main roots/trunk they need to be corrected. They will continue to expand and cause issues for the plant later down the road.

By disrupting the fine feeding feeding hairs on the entire root mass in order to spread them out the water and food supply is cut off. it is more likely to shock, desiccate, die or stop growing for the season. We disrupt those plants that may be bound just enough to facilitate new root production but not nutrient and water uptake. We remove enough soil on younger less bound ones to facilitate shipping but not harm the plant. Per the instructions plant the bag with the plant and then remove it. Use mulch. That provides a good environment for growth and healing.

Disrupting the entire root mass should only be a method used if you have a severly pot bound plant or have extreme difference in soil media and volume. For example I would never put a 20 gallon container plant with well draining soil in a clay like soil.

Girdling is something that may be an issue on large aged specimens grown in large containers for years.

I actually take offense to this comment. Its this school of thought that causes the rampent issue with girdled plants. If not corrected early its the large specimans that have the issues. Correct it when it can be corrected!


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RE: If you've planted confiers...

Whass,

Why don't you take your differences in email form to this person/business and find out where they are coming from.

Has he/she some new revelation that needs to be shared with us?

Most of us, not all, only base our opinions on the material we gain from this forum. Some information is very informative. Other information is suspect to the point that further investigation is in order.

Dave


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RE: If you've planted confiers...

  • Posted by whaas 5a SE WI (My Page) on
    Tue, Aug 23, 11 at 16:36

Has he/she some new revelation that needs to be shared with us?

Thats exactly what I'm trying to get at. I wanted to gather more info from other more experienced conifer "planters" and "growers" if you will to see if its worth my time to explore or really to learn from this experience (ie am I messing with the roots more so than I should?).

I actually didn't have any issues with this vendor. I had a damaged plant but it also had a j-root. They asked for a pic and when I sent it over they gave me that response because I teased and straightened many of the roots. I was surprised by the response given they offer quite high quality plants.


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RE: If you've planted confiers...

"Has he/she some new revelation that needs to be shared with us"?

I already know and you do to how everybody feels about root bound conifers on this forum. Probably the 2nd most discussed subject matter on this forum. Green Giants and their issues, die back, browning and so on have to rank 1st.

I want to know how this new school of thought concerning root preparedness before planting has any merit. How did they arrive at providing this misinformation? They could have voided your warranty based upon their advice of not tinkering with the roots of your new plants.

Dave


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