Blog reader Alan Haigh asked if we could start a discussion about tree planting recommendations. He sent along these guidelines from the Colorado State Master Gardener Program.
While I’m glad to see that the consensus now seems to be that burlap, wire, twine etc. do not belong in the planting hole, there’s still plenty of issues to contest. Here are just a few that I found on my first read:
1) Not mulching over the root ball;
2) Assuming that all B&B trees are “field grown,” which I *know* is incorrect for so very, very many B&B trees;
3) Not including the root-washing technique for B&B, which is not only research-based but is actively promoted through the International Society for Arboriculture’s workshops (see this posting for instance). This is the only way to find and correct circling and girdling woody roots, and the easiest way to find the root crown for planting at grade.
Without root washing you’d have to dig through 10″ of clay to find the root crown (the duct tape marks the top of the clay root ball prior to washing)
I’ve written about this topic before. And many people argue that it would “take too much time” and “be too expensive” to root wash specimens. But when you read this publication, note that it takes 13 pages to describe how to plant containerized and B&B trees.
It takes 1 page to describe how to plant a bare root tree.