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Firming up planting date

Posted by Nathaniel Bouman 
Firming up planting date
January 08, 2015 03:44PM
Figuring out the best window for planting trees is difficult and anxiety provoking, jeesh. A number of factors are pushing me toward an April 9-11th as the days to get the trees in the ground. Things can be awful muddy here in March (April too, but April is generally a bit better) and we've got heavy clay soils so our mud is no joke. I can't do the first week of April for various other reasons. Is April 9th reasonable, if it isn't ideal?

Nat Bouman
Growing cider varieties in Zone 5b
On B.118 at 18X24
Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania
Re: Firming up planting date
January 11, 2015 01:24PM
Bare root trees are best planted "as soon as you can" in early spring. There's a generous window here as far as meeting conditions like mud and having volunteers available goes. Ideally, root systems are in the soil before much happens as regards buds swelling. We're not emulating the maple tree here -- early sap flow is one thing in places where the land freezes but then comes a point when you stop tapping and boiling down sap as maple buds start to swell. Fruit trees are a beat or two behind this progression but silver tip does inevitably come. This latter period can last 4, 6 weeks easily ... which for Nathan in north-central Pennsylvania is probably mid-March through the entire month of April. And if winter gets prolonged, those first weeks of May may be in play as well.

Planting once green tissue shows and leaves start to grow works too. Trees will live, albeit need more fuss as regards initial watering if it's a dry spring. That said, the later you go, the more wood growth on that first season will be set back. Shoot extension may have been 2 plus feet heeding the advice ... now it's more like several inches, and thus good growth doesn't begin till year two. You basically lose a season if you're a laggard ... which happens despite best intentions sometimes!

The trickiest part of this is having trees on site when you deem the time is right. Mail order nurseries need to avoid the stock getting frozen in transit, and so predict the proper delivery time for your location. But in a very warm spring this may hold you up.

Lost Nation Orchard
Zone 4b in New Hampshire
Re: Firming up planting date
June 21, 2017 03:56PM
I have trees grafted two years ago planted in the ground in my nursery area. I would like to dig them up and plant in the orchard this October or early November. Thoughts??
Re: Firming up planting date
June 21, 2017 04:22PM
I think it's safe to transplant them anytime they are completely dormant, but I would wait till early spring if you can. JMHO

Pat

Brampton Lake Orchards

Zone 4a Upper Michigan
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