Urban Landscaping- Part I: Bareroot Trees

June 18, 2009
1:00-2:00pm EST
National Webcast
A best management practice that is increasingly moving from research to the field is bare root planting. Whether from a nursery field to the city street or just from one place in your yard to another, it’s the roots that suffer when trees are transplanted.

Consider this: Shade tree roots are found primarily in the top 12 inches of soil. Tiny absorbing roots- responsible for most of the tree’s intake of water and nutrients- grow horizontally not only up to the dripline, but also beyond it. In fact, there is often a higher percentage of absorbing roots beyond the dripline than within it. An unbelievable 90% of tree roots are routinely left behind in the nursery at the time of harvest. In an industry where having a viable root system is the primary determining factor of whether trees survive and thrive in their new location, current practices must be reevaluated.

Downloadable Resources:
Urban Landscaping- Part I: Bareroot Trees Resource List
Nina Bassuk, Urban Horticulture Institute at Cornell University (Ithaca, NY)
Research by Nina Bassuk indicates that many tree species fare better when transplanted bare root as opposed to balled and burlapped (B&B) or containerized (grown in pots). When properly handled, the bare root method is less traumatic for the trees’ roots, and can lessen transplant shock and recovery time. Bare root stock offers many benefits including up to 200% more root mass than B&B or container trees.
Patrice Sheehan, Delaware Center for Horticulture (Wilmington, DE)
Last year, the Delaware Center for Horticulture started using bare root stock in their plantings, and have found that bare root stock makes for easier plantings. A young tree without soil weighs very little, is easy to move and plant, and is cheaper due to less labor and materials. However, working with bare root stock requires careful coordination. Once they leave the nursery, bare root trees need to get in the ground within a week at the longest. With no soil, the roots can dry out and die if left exposed for any time. They are delivered in bulk with roots covered in only a very moist medium or slurry hydrogel.
Bare Root Tree Planting Case Study- Wilmington, DE
Webcast attendees will learn:
* Advantages and disadvantages of bare root stock.
* Dealing with the narrower planting window (after leaf fall to before budbreak).
* Finding desired species.
* Selling to and educating the public about bare root trees.
About the Third Thursday Webcast Series
The Third Thursday Webcast Series is the Alliance for Community Trees’ monthly webcast series held at the lunch hour and made possible through support from The Home Depot Foundation and USDA Forest Service. The goal is to create informal training opportunities for local urban and community forestry organizations. The content is geared to mainly serve the needs of volunteer organizations and community groups, although webcasts are open to all.
The trainings leverage local successes by amplifying to a larger audience the model organizations’ methods, materials, and approaches. Sessions are planned to last no more than one hour, with two presenters speaking on the same topic from slightly different perspectives, each for 10-15 minutes, followed by 10-15 minutes of questions and answers.
CEU Approved: 1 Hour
CFE Category 1 Approved: 1 Hour