Root work on in-ground trees

Jason

Shohin
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I have a fair number of primarily deciduous trees (Tridents, Japanese maples, elms, crabapples,etc.) planted outside in rows for development of trunk diameter. I live in Oregon in the Willamette Valley which I think is about zone 8b. The majority of them have been in place for 3-5 years and allowed to grow. I've only stepped in when I'm concerned about reverse taper, to change trunk direction, or I want to spur some lower trunk branching. Many of them are planted on tiles or bricks. They are starting to develop some nice trunks and over the next few years I will be digging them up and working on their roots (removing ugly roots, encouraging feeders, etc.) and then replanting them for more development. I'm trying to decide if spring or fall would be the best season for this work. Spring seemed obvious at first but we have a dry season in the summer and many of these trees aren't irrigated. Fall could work (plenty of rain) but they might be vulnerable to colder weather. When would you work on them? I realize the question is inherently flawed because there are lots of different species here but does anyone have opinions, guidelines, past experience. I've been waiting on these a while and don't want to muck them up if I can help it.
 

darrellw

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Hi Jason,

Generally spring would be ideal, in this area that could be as early as now (especially since we've been having such a mild winter). I understand your concerns about potential dry summer, but I know we've got a few months of wet left!

If you did it early enough in the fall so that the roots still had a couple of months of growth (and around here, the roots in the ground probably grow into November) that would probably be OK, but I would be more concerned about the chances of a dry fall, given that you don't have irrigation.

-Darrell
 

Jason

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Hey Darrell,

Thanks for the response. Spring was my first impulse too. I suppose I could always just hand water the ones I did anything drastic on if it got too dry in the summer. It might be a bit more exercise than I'm really looking for though. Also it seems like someone on this forum cautioned about root pruning tridents before the spring rains (can't remember who or on what post). It sorta confused me. If I find the post, Ill let you know.
 

Jason

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Here it is. It was posted by JasonG last year on a thread discussing field growing.

"When growing in the ground you will get some that just die, you will have some that critters will kill and you will have some that won't respond to heavy prunning and they will die. Want to kill tridents in the ground? Prune heavily in spring when rain is forcasted...kills them everytime. Prune them in summer and all is good.

At the farm we do have 20k+ trees in the ground, all on tiles for flat root systems (we produce killer root systems) and we do burn quite a few trees per year that just don't have what it takes to be good bonsai."

Of course context is everything and the thread was last April. Maybe I should be directly emailing JasonG to get clarification on what he meant. Anyway....thus the confusion. I guess root pruning is always a bit of a gamble since you don't have control of the weather and, in my case, theres not irrigation.
 

Jason

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Looking at this quote again I guess he's talking about pruning top growth....duh. Do the roots just get waterlogged because theres no top growth to slurp it up? (I'm sure "slurp" is the scientific term)
 

darrellw

Mame
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Hi Jason,

I agree, I think he is talking about top growth. I'm sure he will clarify. I do know that tridents can be a little touchy to early freezes - they come out of dormancy at soon as it warms up a bit, then it if gets cold again the roots die. It could be that heavy pruning early might stimulate them more.

But another reason not to top prune any maples early in the spring is that they push a lot of sap, and you can seriously weaken then if they bleed it all out.

-Darrell
 

JasonG

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Hi Jason,

My comments were based above ground pruning in our climate here in NW Oregon. Slight pruning and minor chops seem to be ok, but major pruning in the spring while in the ground proved to increase the death rate considerably.
Later summer is what was found to be the best time to carry out major pruning on tridents. They don't bleed near as much and still have plenty of time to produce new shoots and harden off.

Hope this helps??

Edit) You might want to get ahold of Chris Kirk at Telperion, he is east of Salem and closer to you. He field grows tridents, and a great resource as well.

Thanks,

Jason
 

Jason

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"How many Jason's do we have here?"

Lot's of them. I think its a generational thing, unfortunately. (I wish my parents would have consulted with me first.)

Thanks for the clarification Jason. That all makes a bit more sense now. Just thought I'd talk to some people who had done this prior to making the mistakes all over again. If I have further questions maybe I'll contact Chris Kirk. I'm always amazed by how many resources there are right in our back yard here. Oregon isn't a bad place to be practicing this hobby.

Thanks everyone,
Jason Gross (they didn't consult me on the last name either)
 

JasonG

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"How many Jason's do we have here?"

Lot's of them. I think its a generational thing, unfortunately. (I wish my parents would have consulted with me first.)

Thanks for the clarification Jason. That all makes a bit more sense now. Just thought I'd talk to some people who had done this prior to making the mistakes all over again. If I have further questions maybe I'll contact Chris Kirk. I'm always amazed by how many resources there are right in our back yard here. Oregon isn't a bad place to be practicing this hobby.

Thanks everyone,
Jason Gross (they didn't consult me on the last name either)
You can always feel free to bounce questions my way too, I was just letting you know that you do have someone closer to you that you can also hit up as a resource. Chris is good people....


Forget the message I posted on your CP, adding the first letter of your last name will only confuse matters more:confused::eek::confused::eek::confused:
Yeah, lets keep it simple! haha I will bet that Jason is about mid 30's in age....in high school my 2 best friends names were Jason, so the 3 of us would go out and pick up girls....we would have to so show id so they believed us we were all named the same. Jason was a very popular name for that time.
 

Klytus

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Jason and the Oregonauts,lol

I too wonder if using a rock,lump of concrete,roofing slate or tile under the root mass is the way to go with these open ground plantings.

Maybe a fine mesh of some sort would work just as well?
 
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