UPS delivered my trees, now what!
The "Short and Sweet" from Grandpa:
• Sometimes Mother Nature, work or other chores delay immediate planting.
• Don't panic! Well packaged trees can be stored for a week or so in cool, dark locations that are not in direct sunlight.
• If you can't plant for an extended period of time, heal the trees in the garden.
• DO NOT STORE BAREROOT TREES WITH APPLES OR OTHER PRODUCE! You can kill them.
• Planting as soon as possible means that the stored energy in the root system goes toward getting the tree off to a good start rather than wasting it.
Grandpa's "long winded" answer: Grandpa loved Mother Nature, but she didn't always love him back as much! Here's what he's learned about holding bareroot trees until Mother Nature cooperates and sends some decent planting weather, or, just as likely, you are caught up on all your other chores so that you can find the time the next weekend to plant.
First, don't panic and have an anxiety attack!
• Always open the box and inspect the trees. They should be properly wrapped in plastic and still have moist material around the roots.
• They should feel and smell OK. If they smell sour or feel dry, brittle, and lifeless, then there may have been a problem in transit. Often you may see a little gray mold on branches or buds. This usually does not present a real problem, unless it is excessive, covering the trees, roots, or branches. On exposure to sunlight and drier outdoor conditions, this usually disappears and causes no harm.
• However, if you have concerns about the condition of the bareroot trees contact and notify us immediately.
If you can plant within a week or so:
• Make sure the packing around the roots material is damp, not dripping wet.
• Even if the trees seem to have broken dormancy somewhat, and you see some bud swell or even a little bit of shoot growth, you are still O.K.
• Close up the box.
• Put it in a cool, dark location, out of direct sunlight, so they cannot heat up. Check on them periodically. A cool basement, shed, or even on the north side of the house if it is cool and temperatures are above freezing. Avoid root and produce cellars that are not completely aired out.
• DO NOT PUT ANY BAREROOT TREES IN THE SAME ROOM OR STORAGE WITH OTHER FRUIT OR PRODUCE, like apples and other ethylene producing fruits and vegetables!!!!!
• REPEAT! Don't store bareroot trees with apples or other produce!
• Plant as soon as possible, and care and train them like normal.
Why is Grandpa screaming? Because, ethylene gas is emitted from apples and many other types of ripening fruit. It is the "fruity" smell that you notice. Ethylene gas is a natural plant growth regulator or hormone and it WILL KILL STORED FRUIT TREES. Almost every nursery guarantee that we have seen is voided if the trees are stored in any location that has even a low concentration of ethylene gas.
If you can't plant for several weeks:
• Shame on us for shipping too soon or on you for not planning ahead.
• Unpack the box and heal the trees in, if outside temperatures are not below freezing.
• Heal the roots of the trees in the garden.
If spring temperatures are on the rise, the trees will most likely break dormancy and start to grow, just as if you planted them in their rightful locations. This is just a temporary place for them until you get your act together. Completely cover the roots with soil and firmly press out all air pockets, which can let the roots dry out. Keep watered, but don't drown them.
• As soon as possible, re-plant the trees to their proper locations and care and train them like normally planted trees.
• With luck, you won't notice much difference.
Sometimes, the extra planting step will cause more transplant shock and the trees may be a little slower to take off. This is because when you removed the healed in trees, you are ripping off a lot of newly started, fine root hair growth from the root systems, and the tree has to grow them anew. It's like a false start in a race. The longer the runners run before they are called back, the less stored energy they have to make a fresh, clean start.