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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been planting seedlings for the past two years on my property.
Year 1: very high mortality rate (partially due to my error)
Year 2: better success rate so far
I decided to plant some 2-3' bare root pines last spring as an experiment.
Unfortunately most of them died. When I received the trees, I noticed that most of the roots were cut off when they were dug up.
Has anyone had success planting bare root trees (other than seedlings)
If so, can you share any ideas. I'd like to get something established asap.
The larger evergreens were planted as a screen for my sanctuary.
My neighbor likes to shine his spotlight into my sanctuary every night as I usually have plenty of deer hanging out in there.
Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
 

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Don't feel alone, I lost a lot of trees this year. It was way too dry towards the end and they ALL died.
 

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trees I have had any luck with are white pine seedlings - everyting else I have planted is history -

But - the white pine for some reason have out lasted weed invasion and I mean serious invasion - in fact we could hardly find them this year - pines where only about 18" tall and the weed around 48" - but I think that the weeds kept them from being 'brows' from deer and likly saved them. Not to mention the water/moisture retention of the thick weeds.

Anyway - white pine - they sure took a lot neglect from me and are alive today -

ferg....
 

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The last 5 years all I plant is 1 to 2 foot transplants. I also plant some 2 -3 foot speckled alder and norway spruce with good results.

1, order and have the the trees arrive early, to get all the early moisture in the ground. I have my trees arrive the first week of April, all planted by mid April. I live in saginaw county. Northern areas, have later dates to make sure ground is thawed.

2, plant them within a few days of arrival, add moisture to roots when they arrive.

3, I will Carry 50 -75, 1-2 footers in a bucket, Take them out one at a time, and plant on the spot, Don't let them lay out even for a few minutes. Sunny breezy days are the worst.

4, Get a 4 gallon back pack sprayer, spray roundup around the trees 2 to 3 times that summer. The weeds and grasses will suck all the moisture during dry spells.

I have been planted 16,000 trees this way over the last 11 years. I have been through some good droughts. I have never lost over 30%. That was only once, that I can remember. I think spraying the weeds is key. Many of the trees can't handle the shade of the weeds also.

My ground is very wet in the early spring when I plant. Its a light sandy loam farm soil, no clay. It gets real droughty in the summer, but the roots can go deep.

To give you an idea of what competition can do. Look at a cornfield, and look where any large tree grows in a fencerow. The corn will be half the height of the rest of the field in that area.

2 to 3 foot transplants should have a lot of roots attached, Makes it difficult to plant. Sounds like your roots couldn't supply the tree with enough moisture.
 

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Something else to try is a product like Musser Water Gel (or similar). It will help your trees get through a drought. water gel

If you are doing a small number of trees a 4' by 4' square of used carpet can be layed down to control weeds.
 

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I planted 700 seedlings last year. Had a mix of white and red pine and blue spruce. I disked all areas a couple weeks before planting. I don't see any dead ones and they grew about a foot already(except for the spuce). Didn't get any ordered in time this year and glad I didn't. Way to dry for them to get established.
 

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Planted many a 2-3 yr old bareroot transplants in sandy NW WI. For the fastest cover, weed tolerant and can handle droughts the best try JACK PINE. They are great along field edges to eliminate people shining fields. It will take about 7-9 years to reach the height needed for cover. Plant them staggered rows about 2 steps apart for thick cover. Certainly preparing the land (disc, mow, etc) helps, but not needed. We've had success planting Jacks in 2 feet tall weeds and have had 80% survival rates in normal moisture years (not including the drought last year!). Jack Pines don't get the respect they deserve, but they are the toughest pine out of the gate.

Q: When is the best time to plant a tree?? (Answer Below)





A: Twenty years ago
 

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answerguy8 said:
Something else to try is a product like Musser Water Gel (or similar). It will help your trees get through a drought. water gel
:yeahthat:

The watergel products mentioned above have made all the difference for us. Terra-Sorb is another brand name that our CD has available. Our soils in many places in NW Lower are light, droughty and with no significant summer rains some years, tough to get any seedlings established. Our seedling success rate has gone from less than 50% to over 85 percent using Terra-Sorb.This was with white pine, white cedar and jack pines. The jp are planted on dry, sandy ridges and is the only thing we can get to grow there.

NB
 

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answerguy8 said:
Something else to try is a product like Musser Water Gel (or similar). It will help your trees get through a drought. water gel

If you are doing a small number of trees a 4' by 4' square of used carpet can be layed down to control weeds.
Thanks answerguy8. Just looked that up and just might give it a try this year. Seems to me you could also use this on raspberries, blueberries and such.
 

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I think your basic problem may have been using 2-3 foot bare root trees. Those seem to be too tall for bare root planting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for the responses. I had assumed the 2-3' bare root would be tough to get established and thats why I tested it last year. Oh well, guess I'll go back to planting more 1-2' seedlings next year.
Anyone know of any nurseries that sell cheap balled trees? I don't need nice landscaping trees, just some park quality evergreens. Thanks
 

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Try containerized trees for your larger trees. They are more expensive but trees that die are valueless not to mention a waste of time. I like tera-sorb and water gels but there is one more thing you can do to increase the survial rate especially with you pine trees is to spray them with an anti-desicant. The green needles continue to transpire (let go, release water) to bring up more water and nutrients from the roots. If the roots can’t uptake water the tree will lose it’s water traction much like taking your thumb off the end of your straw and watching the fluid empty back into your drink. Your pine tree loses its water traction and crashes. The use of anti-desiccants will coat the needles with a waxy film preventing them from releasing water, essentially locking in the water. Your survival rate will go thru the roof with this technique. Van Pines sell pine trees in Jiffy Forestry plugs (containers) for a reasonable cost. www.vanspinesnursery.com
 
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