Buying conifers in containers rather than with open roots is always preferred. Like other ornamental shrubs or trees, conifers, when using seedlings with a closed root system, better take root and grow faster. There is nothing complicated in planting such seedlings, but you should still adhere to the general rules for preparing the planting site and for the primary care of plants.Cypress in containers.
The advantages of seedlings with a closed root system when buying conifers
For any decorative species of bushes and trees, the golden rule says: plants with a closed root system are always preferable as planting material. And conifers are no exception to this rule. The risk of plant loss in the case of buying seedlings with an open root system (from a closed one) differs several times. And there are many reasons for this. But the most important is the degree of damage to the roots of plants.
Any conifers that are grown in garden centers and nurseries suffer from root injuries when growing, diving and transplanting. When seedlings or established cuttings dive, then plants inevitably lose from a quarter to a third of the roots. Then, when young conifers are transplanted for growing, they also lose a third of the root system. And if the plants are not grown in containers, then when planting also for a permanent place, digging and transportation affects more than a third of all roots.
When grown in containers, all this damage is minimized. Due to the preservation of even small peripheral roots and a separate “space” from a young age, plants are characterized by much higher adaptability and viability, do not suffer from a decrease in growth rate and always develop faster.
The main practical advantage of container seedlings is the ability to extend the planting time to almost limitless. Unlike planting material with open roots, seedlings with a closed root system can be planted not only in spring or late summer and September, but throughout the year, except for the period of frozen soil for non-large sized plants.
Even summer is no exception if you can arrange the right care for the plants. But the optimal time for planting, even for conifers in containers, is May-June or August-September, the period of the most active growth of the root system.
Healthy seedlings are the foundation of everything
As in the process of buying any plant, how responsibly you approach the selection of seedlings themselves determines the likelihood of success. But with conifers, attentiveness and scrupulousness is even more important, since, with rare exceptions, conifers are one of the most expensive categories among planting material, and mistakes with their choice always result in the loss of a significant part of the budget.
If there are many factors and signs that you should pay attention to when buying seedlings with an open root system, then for conifers grown in a container, the selection rules are much simpler. By seedlings in containers is meant plants not dug with a lump of earth, but plants grown in plastic containers (or newfangled special plastic bags that replace them).Thuja seedlings in containers.
The basic principles of buying coniferous seedlings in containers:
- Be sure to inspect the earthen lump itself and evaluate its size. The soil should not be too loose and light, nor too dense. Growing in peat rather than in the substrate is a typical phenomenon for imported plants. But only if the climatic conditions of the nursery do not correspond to your region, such a purchase is unlikely to turn out to be anything good: plants that are grown in your area or under similar conditions are always preferred. On the surface of the soil there should be no signs of decay or mold, and the dimensions of the container and earthen coma should be quite large, respectively: in the best case, the height of the container and its diameter should be at least one third of the height of the crown.
- Dryness or waterlogging, dampness of the substrate is the reason to refuse to buy even a very desirable plant. With quality care, container conifers should receive regular, metered watering with control of soil drying. Any signs of drought or overflow indicate that the plant did not receive optimal care, which means it did not develop normally, could suffer from the spread of rot along the roots, etc.
- Check how “firmly” the plant sits in the soil: light removal with roots from the ground, shedding of the substrate may indicate that seedlings with an open root system were simply covered with a substrate to increase the price. Whether the plant was grown in a container is also indicated by the presence of moss.
- Make sure that the main roots of the plant do not come out through the drainage holes, only small roots are shown from them.
- Inspect the branches and check their condition - for flexibility, the absence of signs of lethargy or sagging, injuries, traces of damage to wood or bark.
- Inspect the needles. She should look healthy - tidy, shiny, fresh. Immediately refuse to buy plants in which the needles seem tangled or sloppy, dull, suspiciously dull. In container seedlings, the needles should look perfect regardless of the time of purchase.
- Pay special attention to traces of pests or diseases and their control, including residual stains from spraying or treatments, suspicious odors, etc.
When buying, it is important to pay attention not only to the plant, but not too lazy to clarify all the necessary nuances regarding its habits and agricultural technology. Be sure to check with the seller the full name of the species and variety, lighting, soil characteristics, other nuances that are recommended to be observed when growing this plant.
Before planting conifers, check individual recommendations and explain to yourself all the necessary information on care and on the required conditions. An individual approach and attention to detail are no less important than following general rules.Coniferous plants in containers
Preliminary preparation is needed not only in soil
The soil at the planting site of conifers is always prepared in advance. The optimal period is a month before landing, the minimum is 1 week. The soil is dug up, removing stones and roots, if necessary, it is improved, adjusting the reaction, introducing organic and mineral fertilizers or special preparations for conifers.
It is worth starting with an analysis of the water permeability of the soil: for conifers, almost without exception, drained soils are preferred, where the risk of stagnation of water is excluded. If the humidity level is increased or there is a risk of stagnation of water in the spring, the soil is moist or moist, drainage measures should be taken in advance.
High soil nutrition is not a requirement for all conifers. Thuja, microbiota, spruce, fir and yew are species that love fertile soils, but larch, pine, juniper develop better in medium or weakly nutrient soils. And the texture of the soil for different species of conifers should be different. Junipers, pine and larch need soil with the addition of sand or sandstone. Spruce, yew and fir grow better on loam.
At the site of future planting, digging landing pits, the volume of which depends on the need to lay the drainage and the volume of the root system itself. For a coniferous plant, the landing pit should slightly, by 10-20 cm, exceed the container volumes. Depth is increased by 10-25 cm depending on the planned drainage layer. Before planting, the landing pits are saturated with water: a day or two before planting, water is poured into it (1-2 buckets), optionally adding special preparations to stimulate root formation.
Removing a seedling from a container is not always an easy task. For 10-12 hours before planting, the plant is abundantly watered, or for several hours before planting, the container is immersed in water to completely saturate the earthen coma. The best way is to get a seedling along with a whole earthen lump. Gently squeezing the containers on the sides, and then gently holding the base of the trunk or shoots, tilt the container and allow the plant to "slip out".
You can’t pull the plant by the crown; you just need to hold it securely. If you just can’t take out the plant, you can tap it on the bottom, shake it, in extreme cases, if the container is of no value, then you can always cut it.
An earthen lump for coniferous seedlings is always kept intact. Free soil is undesirable to remove, even if it seems that there is a lot of it. Contact with the roots, and even more so their release from the soil, washing or breaking off, is best avoided.
If you bought imported planting material and plants are grown in a dense peat coma with a high content of fertilizers, then before planting the plant will have to be freed from this specific substrate. Mechanical removal of the soil is unacceptable in this case, peat is disposed of differently:
- A large amount of water is poured into the landing pit and an earthen lump is lowered into it.
- Peat lump usually disintegrates itself, but if this does not happen, then it is gently washed with a gentle stream of water.
The process of planting coniferous seedlings in containers is simpler than planting seedlings with an open root system:
- At the bottom of the landing pit, drainage is laid or a small mound of soil is poured, which will allow the plant to be set to the correct height.
- Plants are installed in the planting pit along with a whole earthen lump, making sure to install it evenly, without tilt. After installation, the earthen lump is slightly “moving”, violating its density, restoring air permeability and allowing the roots to slightly move away from the dense substrate.
- When planting seedlings, you need to carefully monitor that the level of penetration into the soil remains the same for plants. After installation in the landing pit, the immersion depth is adjusted taking into account future shrinkage (from 4 to 7 cm, depending on the composition of the soil). The root neck for conifers should not be covered with soil.
- After installing the plant, the planting pit is filled with a substrate, gently ramming it.
- As soon as the voids are filled, the soil around the plant is rammed along the perimeter of the planting pit, acting neatly directly in the root zone.
- Around the landing pit create a watering circle or hole.
- Abundant watering is carried out, soaking fresh soil with water and "leveling" its moisture with the moisture of an earthen coma.
- After watering, the hole is filled up, if necessary, the soil level is leveled, if it was not sufficiently compacted.
- It is advisable to mulch the soil immediately after planting the seedling. Peat, manure or compost, and simpler materials like leaves, sawdust, grass are suitable for any conifer. If you have the opportunity, use mulching needles.
- When planting tall seedlings or stump conifers, the vertical position of the plants must be fixed with a garter to a support or extension installed on the edge of the planting pit.
Care for planted plants
Seedlings with a closed root system usually take root much faster and, accordingly, start growing earlier. They do not need such careful care as plants planted with bare roots.
In fact, caring for such conifers comes down to watering. In order to maintain stable soil moisture, abundant watering is carried out for young plants not only after planting, but throughout the first year after it once every 2-3 weeks (in the absence of precipitation). In this case, one must act carefully, in no case preventing water from getting on the root neck during irrigation, or its jamming due to improper distribution of water.
Watering can be carried out in the usual way (slowly and gently), and also use other methods - from drip watering to watering grooves at a distance of about 1 m from the plant. For large-sized plants and plants with a very dense crown on the hottest days, it is better to spray.
Coniferous dressings in the first year after planting can be omitted, with the exception of plants for which you received other recommendations when buying. Fertilizers are introduced only from the spring of next year and make them regular, annual. If the soil is nutritious and high quality, you can do without fertilizing before the start of the third year. For large-sized plants and after planting, top dressing is carried out with growth accelerators and rooting agents.
For species of coniferous, sensitive to burns, when planting, it is better to immediately provide protection from sunlight and prepare materials that can be used to cover the crown for protection from the winter and spring sun. When planting in summer, shading and shelter are mandatory measures in the first year, but they must also be supplemented with daily spraying of the crown.
Protection for the first winter is a mandatory measure not only for the middle lane, but also for a more moderate climate. Trunk circles necessarily protect with a high layer of mulch: from sawdust, pine needles, it is desirable to create a warming layer up to 15-20 cm high. You can cover the trunk circle with spruce branches. In conifers with a spreading crown and fragile shoots, it is better to connect the branches, protecting them from breaking off. The crown is wrapped with spanbond or other covering material, fixing it securely.