The reason for this, is that they are going dormant now.
During the growing season of April through September the leafy top of a tree grows and sustains itself, by means of a fully developed root system. When digging a tree during a time of active growth and you can’t help but sever 40 to 50% of the root system; seriously limiting the tree’s ability to deliver enough water to their present number of leaves. Survival then is severely hampered.
But, if a tree is dug during its dormancy time, the water requirements to the branches are greatly diminished; so much so, that even 50% root loss is not a problem.
Another benni when planting during dormancy time, is that though the top has stopped growing, the tree’s roots continually grow, and do so now with a vengeance replacing what was severed. Come Spring the tree feels a little more at home in its new digs because of these new roots.
Water deeply before digging a tree; this holds the soil to the roots better. When digging, make the root ball as big as you can. If short on good friends or congenial neighbors, lure or trick what you have, to help you lift the dug tree onto a sheet or old blanket. If they are still believing you called them over to see your new 72” flat screen TV, have them help you drag the tree over to the new planting site. Fake a back injury to get them to forget about the TV and possibly back fill the hole for you (and you don’t know why you don’t have friends).
Mixing in a little bone meal into the backfill will aid in a more vigorous root development during this coming winter growing period. But mix it into the deeper part of the backfilling, staying at least 8 to 10 inches away from the surface. Like ants to a wet sucker, dogs love bone meal; and if careless your tree will become his new favorite place to dig.
Staking the newly planted tree will keep it from rocking in the hole and severing the new roots that are trying to burrow into the sides of the hole you have dug. If your soil is clay make sure a fourth of the root ball is above the topsoil, and the hole is two times wider that the root ball, with gouges made into the sides to keep the roots from just swirling around and around. Make sure one of the three stakes is tied to the west of the tree; the winds are the strongest there. If the west stake is at the 12:00 position the other two should be placed at 8:00 and 4:00.
Remove any damaged limbs at this time; and anything you would deem as excess. Even though the tree will have grown some new roots over the winter, the number of leaves popping out next spring will still outnumber the roots that sustain them. Removing some of these will help the roots out greatly.
If you have any questions feel free to e-mail me at NiemeyerLandscaping@Gmail.com or post a comment on this Blog. Like us on Facebook