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Transplanting trees, pruned vs unpruned  RSS feed

 
Yen Yus
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I recently got some fig trees in February. They were in the ground at the nursery and they were chainsaw ed out of the ground and given to me bare root. Yes chainsawed, because they were impossible to dig out apparently. The trees were grown from sticks and had been in the ground for about a year.

The chap at the nursery who was an agricultural engineer said I should cut them at waist height. He took one of the trees and carried out the horrific ordeal before I could intervene. I don't believe in chopping trees you see. I though maybe I'm wrong so I planted it anyway.

I took pictures of the cut tree I planted and the intact tree to show you their progress. These two trees are side by side. I have never watered them even after planting.
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Yen Yus
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Here's a close up of the buds.
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James Freyr
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What the chap at the nursery did is a common pruning technique, and it looks horrendous when it's done. It should grow several new leaders at the top, and next year or this fall the largest and best looking leader should remain and the other 1 or 2 be pruned off. All the lower nubbins will grow scaffold branches. You should water those trees if you're not getting regular rain. Those roots haven't grown much and are still localized and can dry out the soil they're in contact with relatively fast. The last thing you want to do to those transplants is stress them even more with lack of water, they've had enough stress.
 
Yen Yus
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James Freyr wrote:What the chap at the nursery did is a common pruning technique, and it looks horrendous when it's done. It should grow several new leaders at the top, and next year or this fall the largest and best looking leader should remain and the other 1 or 2 be pruned off. All the lower nubbins will grow scaffold branches. You should water those trees if you're not getting regular rain. Those roots haven't grown much and are still localized and can dry out the soil they're in contact with relatively fast. The last thing you want to do to those transplants is stress them even more with lack of water, they've had enough stress.


It seems the ones that weren't pruned are growing better. How much water would you say they need in liters?
 
James Freyr
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It's hard to say how much water to apply, but I would start with a couple liters every 3 or 4 days. A lot depends largely on the kind of soil you have. Lighter, loose sandy soils don't hold much water, so you'll need to water more often if regular rain doesn't fall. If you have heavier or dense clay like soil, they hold a lot of water and you won't need to do it as often. When they fully leaf out and put on vegetative growth their water needs will be greater than they are right now with just nubbins of emerging growth. Just keep on eye on the soil at the base of the tree. If it looks and feels damp, skip the water. If it seems dry, add some. If the leaves start to wilt, things have gone too far and gotten way too dry, and after watering, the tree will spend energy growing new root hairs that died from the lack of water in the soil, further stressing the tree. Basically, just keep an eye on it this first year and don't let it dry out and don't let it get waterlogged.
 
Miles Flansburg
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How deep are they stuck into the ground Yen ?
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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My family's generations old tradition about watering new trees, is that they should get 20 liters (5 gallons) once per week for the first two years, during the active growing season. We live in a low-humidity desert, with silty/clayish soil so conditions may vary in other areas.
 
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