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Rootballs and tree transplants in very cold weather?

 
ben harpo
Posts: 76
Location: Illinois, zone 6b
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How warm does the ground need to be to handle tree transplanting? How does month of the annual cycle affect the tree's resilience?

I'm lucky to have thousands of wild black locust trees growing within walking distance of my home. I have no trouble at all finding any size I want. I was thinking of digging up a few dozen and moving the root balls in plastic shopping bags. I was thinking it will be easiest to move trees ~1" diameter ~10' tall. They will go into the upper side of a swale.

At the moment the ground outside is frozen solid as a rock. But in my area it seldom stays frozen for many weeks continuously. Is there any problem with transplanting trees in February or March when there is still a bit more freezing to go?


Also I have a commercial versions of a mycorrhizae innoculant and a legume innoculant. Someone suggested I make a root dip with water in a 5 gal bucket. And dip each rootball just before planting. I assume this would use water from a cistern that is just slightly above freezing temperature. Is this a good idea? Or is it fine to just set each rootball in the ground plain (and save the innoculants for later)?
 
John Elliott
pollinator
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ben harpo wrote: Is there any problem with transplanting trees in February or March when there is still a bit more freezing to go?


Not a big problem. The problem comes when you dig it up after it has started to leaf out, and in the tranplantation process, a lot of the roots get cut or damaged. Then the very thirsty new leaves have been deprived of their source of water and the transplant can shrivel up and die. But to dig them up now when they are still dormant and to put them on a swale where there will be abundant water -- you've got your bases covered.

Also I have a commercial versions of a mycorrhizae innoculant and a legume innoculant. Someone suggested I make a root dip with water in a 5 gal bucket. And dip each rootball just before planting.


An excellent idea. As long as you have the roots up out of the ground, dipping is a great way to get good contact between the inoculant and the fine roots. If you do a root drench after planting, then there is a lot of dirt in the way and it takes time for the spores to move through the soil with the flow of groundwater and bump into a root that they can call home.
 
I agree. Here's the link: https://richsoil.com/wood-heat.jsp
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