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weeds in nursery stock

Posted by Paul Weideman 
weeds in nursery stock
March 14, 2016 08:22PM
I have a number of bench grafts in my nursery from 2 Spings ago that developed a decent amount of competing weeds in their pots. The pots are buried in wood chips but some weeds still took hold. I do not want to simply transplant these whips from pots along with the competing weeds. My thought is while they are still dormant (like now) pull the whips from the pots, carefully separate the weeds from the tree roots and store the bare root trees in my basement (50°) in bushel baskets with damp sawdust until it is dry enough to plant outside in my orchard. I am in SE Michigan. The buds are not swelling yet but day time temps are reaching 45° to 65° recently and close to freezing nights. I hope to plant in my orchard around mid April. I have around 300 nursery trees that need weeding. Thoughts?

Paul Weideman
Fencerow Cider
Imlay City, MI



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/15/2016 12:57AM by Michael Phillips.
Re: Spring planting question
March 14, 2016 09:09PM
Paul,

I have found that dumping pots and separating the mess as you suggest is the way to go. Way quicker than weeding.When I do this, I time it so it is close to planting or repot time, late April, early May here in northern Vt. If the trees are dormant now and the pots are thawed, dump them and heal them outside. There is no insurance that 50 degrees will keep them from growing, but outside in MI with cold nights even during this weather, they might. High 30s low 40s in a cellar or cooler will arrest growth. You could repot them and set them outside and mulch them also.

Now for a curve. Most perrenial plants don't give a lick about weeds, and the organic matter won't hurt either. String trimming is a cheap and easy way to keep the mess down out there if need be, letting the orchard pulse between weed growth and hoeing or trimming right to the soil or mulch level. It helps slow nutrient leaching and builds soil organic matter. Just a thought.

Walden Heights Nursery & Orchard
Zone 3 in Vermont
Re: Spring planting question
March 14, 2016 10:08PM
Thanks Todd,

Good idea to dig them in outside. I was thinking the basement may be too warm right now. Seems like a good way to lesson the shock as well by leaving them in their present climate.

I agree with your second paragraph but only after the whips are big enough to compete. I want the roots to have a clear chance starting out in their new location. Of course the 11 acres of land I prepared last year is host to millions of dormant seeds that will be competing for nutrients a bit later this spring and summer. I like to let the weeds sprout in spring and then give them one last tilling before I drill holes and plant.

I have tons of wood chips from the tree trimmers in my area I will use as mulch in the orchard after planting.

Paul Weideman
Fencerow Cider
Imlay City, MI



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/14/2016 10:10PM by Paul Weideman.
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