Gardening with Laurie: Prepare trees for transplanting now
Fall is such a wonderful time to garden. The temperatures are pleasant, and there are fewer mosquitoes and other pests to torment us gardeners.
The only thing that could make for a better season would be more daylight hours. I would like longer sunlight hours to get more garden chores completed.
Fall is a good time to plant just about anything. There are many beautiful cool-weather annuals that love the cool weather - snapdragons, pansies, lobelia, stock and many more. Planting shrubs and perennials now while the weather is pleasant will be much less stressful to the plants than during the warmer months.
If you have plans to transplant a tree this season, now is the time to prepare the tree for the move. I would suggest this method be used for younger, established trees with trunk diameters of 3 inches or less.
Root pruning now allows the tree to start the process of developing new feeder roots. Cutting some of the trees longer roots now encourages the tree to start forming new, fibrous roots all within the area of the root ball that's to be moved with the plant.
Using a sharp spade, you are going to make deep (12-14 inches), connected cuts that form a circle around the tree. This circle is to be cut within the size of the root ball that you will eventually be digging out to transplant.
For example, if your root ball will be 18 inches out from the trunk, make your root pruning circle cuts 15-16 inches out from the trunk. To determine the proper size of root ball to dig, measure the trunk 12 inches above the soil line to determine the tree's diameter.
For every inch of trunk diameter, add 9 inches to the root ball size. A trunk diameter of 2 inches will need an 18-inch diameter root ball. Root pruning should be done at least two months prior to transplanting to allow time for new feeder root growth. Root pruning is not recommended for stressed or diseased trees.
Fall is the best of times to add new trees to your landscape. Do your homework before purchasing a new tree. A tree is a big investment for a landscape. It will be there for many years to come.
You want to know the tree you buy is the tree that will fill all your requirements: good look, provide shade, drought tolerant, not messy, happy in this environment, etc.
Until next time, let's try to garden with nature, not against it, and maybe all our weeds will become wildflowers.
Laurie Garretson is a Victoria gardener and nursery owner. Send your gardening questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77902.