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Monday
Sep282015

ULNRD Offers Trees and Shrubs for Fall Planting

Fall is an ideal time for planting trees and shrubs.  The soil is warmer now than in the spring, and there's still time for roots to get established before the snow flies. Roots can grow in soil as cold as 40 degrees, and soil remains warm long after the air temperature drops.  By planting in a cooler time of year, the root growth will be ready to take up water during our hot spring temperatures. When leaves unfurl and expand, the increased roots are better able to access the reservoir of water, and the stress of transplanting is drastically reduced.  You will need to plant trees and shrubs now through mid-October.

This year, Bessey Nursery has a wide variety of small potted plants and shrubs that will be available for fall planting.  Some of the species include; Colorado blue spruce, several pine varieties, Silver Maple, Amur Maple, Red Oak, Bur oak, American Hazelnut, Buffalo Berry, Sand Cherry, Snowberry and several more.  For more information on the available species and container sizes available you can contact the Upper Loup NRD at 308-645-2250.  The NRD will take orders now through Tuesday October 13th.

We recommend following these planting tips. 1) Do not amend the soil or add compost into the planting hole. This is especially crucial for trees and larger shrubs. If the soil in the planting hole is much more nutrient-rich than the surrounding soil, the roots won't want to spread beyond it and will grow in circles instead of out like a web. This will cause the plant to become less stable. Adding compost as a top dressing is fine, as it will work its way down.  2)  Do not fertilize the tree or shrub. Since it is fall, we do not want to encourage foliage to grow, as it will only weaken the plant and take energy away from root establishment. The best time to fertilize is in the spring.  3) Do not prune the tree or shrub. Pruning encourages new growth, which has the same detrimental effects in the fall as fertilizer (above).  Adding a rooting hormone, which encourages only roots to grow, not foliage, is fine. 4) Press the soil down lightly, but do not stomp it down. You will want air pockets so rain can get through, roots can grow, and worms can do their jobs. 5) Mulch around the planting hole, at least two inches. You do not want to mound it up to look like a volcano. Keep the mulch from directly touching the trunk(s) or stem(s).  6) Lastly, don’t forget to water newly planted trees or shrubs, daily, until the ground freezes (generally early December). Trees and shrubs are thirsty, big drinkers. Not watering them properly is a big mistake, especially in fall when they really need to establish roots in a short time.

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