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South Dakota Home Garden Bareroot Shade Trees

Erik Helland of Landscape Garden Centers talks about bareroot shade trees.

Home or land owners sometimes find a need to plant many shrubs, bushes or trees.  When replacing many trees lost in a storm or establishing a hedge or new windbreak, bare root is the way to go.  When you need to place a row of shrubs to fill a space of 100ft…  you’re going to need a good number of plants to fill the space.

Each spring conservation offices around the state publish bareroot plant order forms.  Or landowners can visit a nursery with a bareroot cellar. Both are excellent options.  Erik Helland of Landscape Garden Centers says that it is easier to lay out numerous plants when they’re not in pots.  It is best if you plan ahead, “You might have to plan this now for next year, because it's all a timing thing. You have basically one month (to purchase the plants).   You're going to want to figure out exactly where you're going to want to put plant the hedge, dig the holes and all of that stuff ahead of time. And then come in and pick up the plants.”

Shade trees in a bareroot cellar at Landscape and Garden Centers, Sioux Falls.

Planning takes time. If you’re putting in a windbreak, you’ll want to consider multiple species of shade trees. 

“Maybe you want some larger trees in the background. Cottonwoods grow up fast, place them in the back to keep things established.  You know you're going to be cutting them down in maybe in 10, 15 years, but they allow the other nicer shade trees to develop and be able to grow straight up,” explains Helland.

Drawing a diagram of your planned windbreak would make it easy to lay out plants once you receive them. Helland says making use of multiple tree types is called layering, “We always say, alternate, your rows.  At some point you might have a tree that doesn't make it, or it needs to be removed.  You're going to have a hole there, but it just doesn't look like you have a hole because you've alternated the rows and they're not in perfectly.”

Going bareroot is more environmentally efficient too, says Helland, “You get a lot more roots with your trees because they have not been cut or pruned and they're not coming out of a bucket or a container. You're not purchasing a plastic bucket that you can't do anything with a bunch of excess soil.”

Erik Helland shows a Linden tree plant.  The root ball is wider, though shallow.  Dig the hole about five foot across, and not as deep.  The roots will work down to anchor the tree.

Helland says that by Mid May bareroot cellars are typically closed as the plants are waking up and need to be placed in soil.  That may be in a new landscape or in a potted container and put out in a retail center.

Staking young trees will help support them as they get established.

Once you have your plants in the ground, straight and mulched, it is also important to stake the tree.  Helland says to place a stake on the north side and the south then loop a strap around to stabilize.  You don't want the tree to be rigid.  Allow the opportunity for some movement, that will encourage better growth in the roots.  And don't forget to wrap the trunk ahead of winter to protect against nibbling predators.

Soon you will be able to enjoy the shade that the new tree offers.

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