In The Garden with Jo: Getting to the root of tree planting

With Jo McGarry of Caragh Nurseries

In The Garden with Jo: Getting to the root of tree planting

File photo via Pixabay

It's hard to believe the year is flying by so quickly. After a super busy season here at Caragh Nurseries - even in these strangest of times - here we are with the rootballed season upon us already.

The semi-mature trees that we have planted in our own fields are allowed to grow in open ground and so they are healthy with great root structures.

As more mature trees, they have been allowed to grow over a good number of years with the right amount of care, pruning and special care for their roots.

If a tree’s roots are allowed to grow too extensively, it will not only make the tree too hard to move, it will also mean the root structure is not as strong - although this and some careful pruning does mean the head is not as big as if it was left to its own devices.

This is to the benefit of the tree long-term, and does make it an awful lot easier to move the trees to their new homes too.

We are a large supplier in Ireland of rootballed and mature trees to the general public and so our range is extensive and we have a large supply at hand.

Why do we rootball trees and hedging?

Once a tree reaches a certain size it requires the stability of a rootball to ensure it has the best possible start. That is usually 14-16cm in deciduous trees and - dependent on size - is usually the case for most evergreen trees. too These trees are specially selected and then lifted from the field.

These trees have their root system carefully enclosed and held in place with hessian, which ensures the soil remains in contact with the roots throughout lifting, transportation and planting operations.

Our rootball trees have been prepared by being ‘undercut’, ie root pruned or transplanted several times (every three years for deciduous and four years for evergreen) to encourage the development of a fibrous root system. Don’t worry - we won’t charge you extra for some of our fab Caragh Soil!

Rootballed hedging is lifted in the same way and, again, this encourages the best possible root system for your mature and evergreen hedging plants. We have a great selection available, including Laurel, Portuguese Laurel, Box, Yew, Conifers and much more.

What are the benefits of buying rootballed hedging for you?

The hessian and wire are biodegradable and therefore there is no packaging waste to dispose of

The cost of a rootballed tree can be less than a containerised tree

They’re easy to handle when planting

They have a good establishment rate as they’re planted in the dormant winter months

Some planting tips for rootballed trees

Follow the same criteria as for containerised and bare root plants. Please see the planting guide on our website

Do not remove the hessian or wire. The hessian will naturally rot down allowing the root system to develop. The wire will break down soon after planting

Leaving the hessian in place helps to maintain the completeness of the root system

As the season has caught me off guard yet again, I better be away and get all the new stock on the website but for now all our rootballed trees and hedging are available to order and lifted accordingly.

Next week we will look at which options of trees are best for each circumstance.

Until then - happy gardening and remember that time spent in the garden is beneficial to mind and body.

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