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Dormancy Period For Bare Root Hedging


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#1 jsharris

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 09:07 AM

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Just a head up, really, for anyone who is putting in bare root hedging.

In November 2014 I ordered a few hundred bare root mixed hedging plants, all native species, blackthorn, hawthorn, field maple, wild rose etc. They were delivered early December 2014 and I'd arranged with a landscaping chap to both post and rail fence around the site and put in all the hedge plants inside the fence. For whatever reason, he didn't actually turn up to plant the hedge until the end of February 2015. I'd unpacked the bare root plants and kept them in the dark (inside the garage) with their roots moist (wrapped in damp hessian sacking and stuck in two wheelbarrows).

Around 90% of the hedge plants failed to come into leaf last year, not really surprising given that they were supposed to have been planted two months earlier than they really were. I was more than a bit annoyed with the landscaping bloke, so he's had no more work from me, I got another chap in to to the garden landscaping (and a very good job he's done too, David Rhodes, in Motcombe, Dorset, if anyone wants a good landscaper).

This week I've been clearing all the weeds and rubbish away from behind the fence, and was very surprised to find that the seemingly dead hedging has come to life. Plants that have been nothing but bare twigs poking out of the ground for over a year have grown new shoots up from near the base and seem to be doing well. At a guess I'd say that 75% of the plants I thought were dead have come back to life, having been dormant for well over 12 months.

I'm now carefully weeding around them all, to give them a fighting chance of getting established properly.

Just thought it might be a helpful tip for anyone planting bare root hedging; be patient and maybe "dead" plants will come alive after another year.

Edited by jsharris, 08 April 2016 - 09:08 AM.


#2 Alphonsox

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 09:29 AM

We have had the same experience. SWMBO bought far too many hedging plants in January 2015, we didn't manage to complete planting them until March. Around 50% of them sprouted successfully over the spring/summer the rest I assumed were dead and would need to be replaced at some point. This spring I have been pleasantly surprised to see around 95% of the plants are now showing signs of life. We have lost a growing season but at least we don't need to go through the hassle of removal and replanting.

#3 doofaloofa

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 11:39 AM

@ Mr Harris

Were the roots dry when you unpacked them?

I'd put the faliur down to the way the plants were stored prior to planting myself, as bare root trees and shrubs can be planted up to the end of April

The correct way to store trees if not being planted immediately is to 'heel them in'

that is, with roots covered in soil and plants leaning at an angle of approx 45 degrees

The relative warmth of the garage, combined with the dark must have confused the heck out of them

Not sure about the efficacy of the damp Hessian on the roots, but would avoid that situation personally



Amazing the staying power of some plants though

Edited by doofaloofa, 08 April 2016 - 11:40 AM.


#4 jsharris

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 12:09 PM

TBH, I just followed some guidance from a neighbour, who's a very keen gardener. She spotted the hedging plants arriving, asked me a week or two after they'd arrived when they were being planted and I told her "in the next few days". Just before Christmas she came over and advised me to keep the roots moist, as she didn't think they'd survive much longer before being planted. I had nowhere to stick them in the ground at all, so just stuck them all in the wheelbarrows, leaning out over the edge and put some old potato sacks over them, moistened a bit. The neighbour was more concerned with frost getting to the roots, which is why I stuck them in the garage.

The people I bought them from didn't provide any instructions or advice, other than recommending we get them in the ground within a couple of weeks of delivery. Had the bloke turned up to do the fencing and plant the hedge when he was supposed to things would have been fine, instead they were stuck, waiting to be planted, for around 10 weeks or so.

Thanks for the tip about "heeling in". Not being a gardener I'd not heard of it. Makes sense, but we'd not got anywhere we could have done that, the idea was to get them on the ground where we wanted them soon after delivery.

#5 doofaloofa

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 12:38 PM

You're welcome

They can also be kept in well sealed plastic sacks in bundles in a pinch, as long as the roots are damp to start off with. I'd go for soil if possible though

The 45 degree bit would also apply to bagged plants AFAIK

In fact, well heeled in trees at 45 deg can be left that way for a few seasons and will only put on an inch or two of top growth, and little in the way of root growth

#6 jsharris

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 12:43 PM

Thanks, that's worth knowing, especially as the next things we have to plant are two cherry trees. With luck they should arrive in big pots, though, and I've got a chap with a minidigger lined up to dig some holes and also bring over a few tonnes of topsoil we need to cover the clay subsoil that's still exposed over a part of the site.

When the bare root hedging arrived there were black bin bags around the roots, but they were bone dry, which was why the neighbour suggested they should be kept moist.

Edited by jsharris, 08 April 2016 - 12:44 PM.


#7 stones

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 03:51 PM

I'm surprised you didn't get any care instructions (explaining heeling in) as this has been the only consistent bit of information I've had on the various occasions I have bought bare rooted hedging.

Being a lazy gardener I've never followed the rather time consuming ground preparation advice, simply digging the smallest of holes and dropping a bit of granular fertilizer in before planting. Far easier and plants always take.

#8 jsharris

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 04:26 PM

My fault, for buying online at a cheap price!

The plants all arrived in labelled bundles with bin bags around the roots, packed into a big cardboard box. It wasn't a specialist courier, but just someone like UPS.

The chap that planted them just made a slit with a spade, opened it up by levering the spade over, dropped the plant in then trod the slit closed again. Seems to have worked OK, even though they sat dormant for over a year. I'm pleasant surprised that they've now started growing. In fact I've just come in from half an hour of weeding around them, as I feel I owe it to them now to give them all the help I can.

#9 Redoctober

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 04:55 PM

View Postjsharris, on 08 April 2016 - 04:26 PM, said:

My fault, for buying online at a cheap price!
The plants all arrived in labelled bundles with bin bags around the roots, packed into a big cardboard box. It wasn't a specialist courier, but just someone like UPS.

Reminds me of the time I purchased 30 conifer "trees" via mail order - I was horrified when they were actually posted through the letter box ! :wacko:

PW

#10 doofaloofa

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 06:58 PM

just to be precise about storing in plastic bags...

When I say well wrapped I mean the roots in the bag and the tops sticking out the top

If outside (which would be best as there is no need to harden them off, or acclimatise them) face the bundles so the wind is not blowing into the bag (roots pointing into the wind so as to speak)

#11 SteamyTea

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Posted 09 April 2016 - 12:24 PM

Jeremy
Won't cherry trees attract birds that then do red shits on the PV?

#12 jsharris

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Posted 09 April 2016 - 01:00 PM

View PostSteamyTea, on 09 April 2016 - 12:24 PM, said:

Jeremy
Won't cherry trees attract birds that then do red shits on the PV?

Possibly, but I think SWMBO has in mind the flowering ones that don't produce loads of fruit.