Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Moving in a new orchard

     I drove by V.O. Morgan's pecan farm today and noticed that he had 2, truck-mounted tree spades moving seedling trees out into rows. Like every native pecan grower, V.O. has a ready supply of sapling trees growing in fence rows and field margins (you can see the native trees behind the truck). The trucks are moving trees that average 1 to 2 inches in diameter. The open fields of this farm are filling up fast with young trees and it will be interesting watch this new orchard grow.
     From past experience, we know that using a tree spade to move trees requires a large commitment to post transplanting aftercare. The area around each tree needs to be tilled all summer long to make certain the seam between transplanted root ball and the surrounding soil doesn't open up during dry periods. In addition, the trees will need water during the heat of the summer. Both watering and tillage are necessary to keep the transplanted root ball from drying up and killing the young tree.
    Eventually these trees will need to be grafted. Grafting should not be attempted until the transplanted tree overcomes transplant shock and begins to make at least 2 feet of new growth in a year's time. Only when the tree is ready to accept a graft will you find success in propagating pecan cultivars onto transplanted trees.