We’ve all been there. In fact, many of us are there now. You know what I mean. That winter realization that while it may be frigid now, soon it will be time to wear shorts and bathing suits. Oh, no. Oh, uh… hmmmm. Suddenly like a near death experience where your whole life flashes before your eyes your holiday diet (or lack thereof) appears like a horrible nightmare you can’t forget! Eggnog, cake, cookies, candy, cheese, cocktails. It all tasted so good at the time. But now… reality.
So, we muster the energy and the courage to squeeze ourselves into our gym clothes and back we go. The first day is hard. The second day is harder still; knowing how awful it is trying to fit in where you feel you don’t belong. They say that it takes 3 weeks to develop a new habit. That once you have reached the 3 week mark it becomes a part of your routine. So, onward we march; crossing the days off the calendar one at a time. How satisfying it is to mark off another day of clean eating and exercise. Progress is slow but before long, a few pounds are gone, and then a few more and then one day someone asks you, “Have you lost weight?” You blush. This is just the motivation you need to keep going.
Yes, losing weight is hard but so worth it in the end. Think of all the things you can do with your new svelte you!
In the nursery we are always looking for ways to put our trees on a diet as well. Not a diet in the traditional sense mind you. A hot topic of late is how to dig bigger trees with smaller root balls. In a recent trip to Germany and the Netherlands, our general manager, Kelly and our grower, Nick visited several large European nurseries. These enormous tree producing nurseries grow everything under the sun and eschew our rootball standards. I am told that the common practice in Europe is to dig and transplant each and every tree every 4 years; sold or unsold. This practice has a two-fold benefit. One, it keeps the nursery organized by transplanting partially dug blocks into complete rows. And two, it root prunes the trees when they are moved.
If you can recall from an earlier blog posting, we can all agree that root pruning is a good thing, right? Of course it is! But what does root pruning have to do with smaller root balls? I’ll tell you. Each and every time a tree is root pruned, the tree shifts its energy and focus on growing more new roots. Just like when we prune the branches of a tree to encourage new tip growth, the same happens below the ground. You may have heard me say before that trees are not multi-taskers. They can either grow roots, or shoots but not both. So root pruning creates a dense rootball with a higher concentration of roots as opposed to one where the roots are spread out or far reaching. The tighter and more compact the ball, the less need for excessively large rootballs. Makes sense, no? Remember my comment earlier about all the things your new svelte body can do? Same thing. A 5.0” tree by American standards would have a 54” rootball. Now, imagine if that same 5.0” tree could have a 48” rootball. Oh… the possibilities for where this tree could now go.
But what about those extreme diets. You know the ones I’m talking about. The juice diets where all you drink is juice. The super limited calorie diets where you eat practically nothing at all. The all fat diet that allows you no carbs but promises magic swift fat burning results. Bare rooting a large tree forces it to lose more than two thirds of its total weight is akin to one of these super dramatic extreme diets. Bare rooting is the “Adkins” of the horticultural industry!
We’ve have a lot of success of late stripping most of the soil off the roots of trees and transplanting them into new homes. Last winter, Adam Tankersley and Joe Proskine bare rooted a 3.0” Yoshino cherry and placed it in a warm greenhouse where it was misted regularly with warm water. After a week or so, the tree started blooming. It was then taken (still bare root) into an office building in DC where it was planted as an interior feature for a Cherry Blossom Party. After the party was over the trees were replanted on the roof top and are now a permanent fixture there. Ta dah! And that’s just the beginning! Newly svelte, our bare root trees can go places other trees only dream of!
For all of our bare rooting successes, it wasn’t always so easy. The first time was a struggle and we weren’t always so successful. Not to mention, the progress was slow while we figured it out. Much like your diet (and mine) Success does not happen overnight. We are getting ready to plant a bare root arborvitae in a zero access yard in DC. Four men will be able to carry this plant in by hand and this client will have instant screening where previously there was none. So svelte and slight post weight loss. I’ll bet it will look almost as good as you will in your shorts!
Written By Ronda Roemmelt