Final call for bareroot planting
Published 27/02/2016 | 00:00
Get on with your final rose pruning
Prunus subhirtella 'Autumnalis' white flower virtually all winter.
I got two shocks while gardening this week. One was when I pruned a smallish branch, maybe two inches thick, off a maple tree to witness it pour out sap from the wound strong enough to run down the trees trunk in a steady stream. The other was when buying some bareroot laurel plants, these had been heeled into a peat bed, to see the amount of new white roots that had already been formed this year.
Both of these observations suggest, that while we may not feel it, these plants are telling us that spring is on the way. The sap is rising and evergreens in particular are tentatively putting out fresh roots.
Container grown plants can be planted at any time of year. Rootballed plants can safely be planted until late April even early May when plastic wrapped or kept in a peat bed. Bareroot plants, those literally without soil attached to the roots, I would normally be happy planting until early April but this year I am thinking that for the best planting I would get them in the ground in the next week or so. This may be a real problem because the winter has been so wet soil preparation for any planting has been impossible. Working waterlogged soil is never a good idea as it can destroy the soils structure causing severe compaction and is a pretty miserable task to try to perform to boot.
This calls for a little advanced thinking. If you are planning to do some bareroot planting I would recommeded that you place your order with your garden centre now and get the plants lifted as soon as possible. The more dormant the plants when disturbed and lifted the better for transplanting later, even if you have to run into April to get them into the soil. This is because once the plant is uprooted it will encourage it to check a little and slow down its spring growth.
Either get your plants and heel them in temporarily some where in loose soil in your garden or ask the garden centre to hold them for you in their peat bed. As soon as the soil conditions are dry enough get your planting preparation works done then lift the plants carefully disturbing any new root growth as little as possible and plant immediately.
What kind of plants are supplied barerooted? Hedging plants would be a classic example because of the cost implications, the growing, handling, transport and planting costs. A hundred beech hedging plants for example would cost you half barerooted compared to containerised Be supplied tied in a black bin liner that would fit in a small car boot plus take you half the time to plant as their pot grown counterparts.
Roses are also frequently supply barerooted tied up individually in small plastic bags containing a little moist compost. Various trees are supplied this way particularly native species for shelter belts and forestry. Larger specimens of cultivated trees are also readily available, Japanese cherries, Asian mountain ash, American maples are examples. Fruit bushes can be bought barerooted, currants, gooseberries and raspberry canes as well as apples and pears.
This early spring warning should also be heeded if you have been planning to move any existing established plants in your garden. Again early lifting is advisable but if your soil conditions are just too wet or you just haven't got the time at present try to dig around the plant to be moved by slicing your spade full depth in and around the circumference of the rootball you intend to lift. This will at least give the plant due warning of what is in store for it later.