Here at the Garden Professors we pride ourselves on being on the cutting edge of technology. In fact, we’re so tech savvy we didn’t even whine when FaceBook foisted a new homepage format on us for no apparent reason. So it’s only fitting that we offer you, Mr. and Ms. Garden Professor Blog reader, an opportunity to participate in the first ever landscape horticulture research project designed by social media.
Here’s the deal. My current research project on water and nutrient management of trees in container production has left us with over 100 ‘Bloodgood’ London planetrees in 25 gallon containers. What I need from you are ideas for a study plan on what to do with the trees next.
Of course, as with any major research project, the first step in the rigorous scientific process is to come up with catchy acronym for the study. I propose “the SOcial MEdia DEsigneD TRansplant ExpErimental Study” or SOME-DED-TREES for short. Needless to say, I am willing to consider alternatives. In any event, we have a unique opportunity to investigate post-transplanting growth, development and physiology of landscape trees.
So here’s what we have: Approximately one hundred, 2” caliper trees, grown in containers in a standard mix of 80% pine bark and 20% peat moss. Trees have been grown for two years in essentially standard nursery culture – daily irrigation and 60 grams of Nitrogen per container. The subject of the original study was fertilizer source; half the trees were fertilized with Osmocote and half received the same amount of nutrients from organic fertilizers. After two years we have not seen any difference in growth or foliar nutrients between the treatments. Nevertheless, I will need to include the prior treatment as a blocking variable to eliminate any potential confounding effects. Beyond that it’s wide open. We could have 6 treatments x 2 blocks x 8 trees = 96 trees. I strongly suspect in the final analysis the block effect will be non-significant and we can consider there to be 16 replicates, but life is full of surprises.
So, what tree establishment or tree care question is burning a hole in your brain? “Shaving” or “butterflying” container rootballs? Fertilizing at time of transplant? The latest biostimulant? Crown thinning at time of transplant? Frequency of post-planting irrigation? Width of the planting hole – how wide is wide enough? Send me your suggestions and we will set up a poll to vote for the top choices.