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Cold Weather Planting and Storage

  • Cold and wet weather advice - planting

    Autumn to spring is the ideal planting time for most trees and shrubs as they are not actively growing and there is likely to be less stress to the plant. However, it is best to avoid planting in waterlogged or frozen ground.

     

    Wet conditions?

    If the soil is waterlogged do wait until surface water has drained away before you plant. If the soil consistently remains very wet consider improving the drainage before planting or the plants could suffer in the long term. Walking on or digging soil when waterlogged can also damage the structure - compacting it and reducing the aeration which is necessary for plant roots to thrive.

    Cold conditions?

    Generally, if there is snow on the ground or the ground is frozen for several days it is advisable not to plant. Do not remove pots or containers from the root ball during freezing conditions as the small roots can be damaged.

    Storage

    Bundles of bare-root plants can be kept in the bags they are supplied in, in a shed or garage for about a week prior to planting, if the delay is longer they are best ‘heeled’ in the soil in their bundles or in a free draining container with compost around the roots. Rootballed plants are best left out of drying, cold winds with straw or hessian over the rootballs. Container grown trees and shrubs are fine in the containers they come in until planting conditions are suitable – just secure them safely where they won’t blow over.

    see our blog on Bare root plants for hedges for more information on care for bare root plants during and after planting.

  • Cold weather planting and storage

    Autumn to spring is the ideal planting time for most trees and shrubs as they are not actively growing and there is likely to be less stress to the plant. However, it is best to avoid planting in waterlogged or frozen ground.

    Cold conditions

    Generally, if there is snow on the ground or the ground is frozen for several days it is advisable not to plant. Do not remove pots or containers from the root ball during freezing conditions as the small roots can be damaged.

    Storage

    Bundles of bare-root plants can be kept in the bags they are supplied in, in a shed or garage for about a week prior to planting, if the delay is longer they are best ‘heeled’ in the soil in their bundles or in a free draining container with compost around the roots. Rootballed plants are best left out of drying, cold winds with straw or hessian over the rootballs. Container grown trees and shrubs are fine in the containers they come in until planting conditions are suitable – just secure them safely where they won’t blow over.

    see our blog on Bare root plants for hedges for more information on care for bare root plants during and after planting.

  • Cold and wet weather planting advice

    Autumn to spring is the ideal planting time for most trees and shrubs as they are not actively growing and there is likely to be less stress to the plant. However, it is best to avoid planting in waterlogged or frozen ground. It's been wet and it's getting colder so do delay planting if necessary.

    Wet conditions

    If the ground is waterlogged wait until surface water has drained away before planting, this is likely to be quicker on light soils based on chalk or sand but can be very slow on heavy soils such as clay. Plant roots need aerated soils - total waterlogging can cause fine roots to die off making it less likely for plants to establish well. In addition digging soils in very wet conditions can ruin the structure of the soil making it compacted and harder for roots to penetrate in the future.

    Cold conditions

    Generally if there is snow on the ground or the ground is frozen for several days it is advisable not to plant. Do not remove pots or containers from the root ball during freezing conditions as the small roots can be damaged.

    Storage

    Bundles of bare-root plants can be kept in the bags they are supplied in, in a shed or garage for about a week prior to planting, if the delay is longer they are best ‘heeled’ in the soil in their bundles or in a free draining container with compost around the roots. Rootballed plants are best left out of drying, cold winds with straw or hessian over the rootballs. Container grown trees and shrubs are fine in the containers they come in until planting conditions are suitable – just secure them safely where they won’t blow over.

    For further details see our previous blogs in the category Cold Weather Planting and Storage

  • Cold Weather Planting and Storage – Shrubs and Trees in Containers

    Trees in containers have many benefits, but we are often asked for advice about planting during cold weather. Winter is an excellent time for planting, though not during a freeze. In this post we’ll outline the best way to keep your contained plants safe until they can be moved into the ground.

    Firstly, remember to keep them inside their containers until conditions are suitable for planting, especially if they’re subject to freezing conditions. Removing the pot or container from the root ball during a freeze can easily damage or snap small roots, an inadvisable start for the plant.

    Trees in containers can be kept outdoors, though standard trees will need to be leaned against surfaces which won’t damage the bark. The practice keeps them from blowing over, though feel free to place them almost entirely horizontal, so long as there’s no risk from pests like rabbits and deer. Regular container conditions apply, so keep all plants on a free draining surface such as gravel. At the absolute least make sure they’re not kept in a location where water pools.

    Trees and shrubs can also be kept in a cool shed or garage for up to a week of plant storage. Be sure not to keep them in a warm location, since the environmental shock of moving back outside could damage the plant.

    When the ground thaws to become moderately moist it’s time to plant. Feel free to refer to our guide on Successful Tree Planting to help with the process. By following these guidelines correctly you’ll give your new purchase an excellent start.

    Cold Weather Planting and Storage:

    Bare Root Plants

    Rootballed Trees and Hedge Plants

  • Cold Weather Planting and Storage – Bare Root Plants

    Bare root plants are supplied when they are dormant, so although it is ideal to plant them soon after purchase, planting can be delayed if conditions are not ideal. In this space we’re going to outline the best way to handle bare root plants until permanent planting is possible.

    They’ll arrive bundled in white bags. The roots will be moist when they leave the nursery and plants can be kept in the bags provided on arrival. Keep them in a sheltered, shady and cool location such as an unheated shed or garage.

    Bare root plants can only be stored in this manner for around a week, after which they’ll need to be temporarily planted. Dig a trench in the ground to accommodate their roots, refill the hole without packing the soil in and water well. They can be kept “heeled in” in this way for weeks, but should be planted as soon as conditions are suitable. Alternative, they can be left in the bundles in a free draining compost around the roots. If the ground is frozen they can instead be left, still bundled, in a free draining container with compost around the roots.

    Don’t remove your heeled in plants if they seem to be frozen, since they’ll damage easily. After the ground is thawed consider soaking the roots in a bucket of water for no more than five minutes to hydrate them, after which they’re ready for moving into a permanent planting location. Feel free to refer to our guide on Successful Tree Planting for more information.

    Cold Weather Planting and Storage:

    Shrubs and Trees in Containers

    Rootballed Trees and Hedge Plants

  • Cold Weather Planting and Storage – Rootballed Trees and Hedge Plants

    As part of our advice series on planting and storage in cold weather, here we’ll briefly outline the correct way to protect your rootballed trees and hedge plants while planting this winter.

    Your tree will arrive with hessian and/or wire around the roots, which are lifted from the field with soil around them. Planting during cold weather is fine as long as the soil can be dug and it isn’t frozen or waterlogged. Don’t plant when there’s snow on the ground, and make sure the ground isn’t frozen even after the snow thaws.

    Until it’s time to plant keep the rootball under cover, away from the drying winds and frost. Covering them with straw will insulate them from the cold, and the hessian keeps the rootball from drying out.

    Once the ground has thawed it’s time to plant. Make sure you’ve chosen an appropriate site, and consider mixing in some planting compost to improve the soil. Feel free to refer to our post on Successful Tree Planting for more information. Be sure not to remove the hessian or wire surround when you plant, since this still serves to retain moisture in the rootball during early months, and will safely rot away eventually.

    Remember, frost can make water unavailable to evergreen plants and they may wilt, so check the soil moisture after the thaw and water if necessary. Lagging the pot may prevent soil freezing in the container at all. Follow these instructions and your rootballed trees and hedge plants should be off to an excellent and healthy start in your garden.

    Cold Weather Planting and Storage:

    Shrubs and Trees in Containers

    Bare Root Plants

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