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Thread: Baby trees

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Surrey, BC, Canada
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    Baby trees

    I wish I had acres of land to grow trees, they really fascinate me. But then I'd be even more hopelessly overworked than now (by my own choice).

    Wonder if anybody has any words of wisdom on getting baby trees off to the right start.

    I have many deodar cedar seedlings in 1 gal. and wonder if they should be staked...I think I've seen them somewhere else with little bamboo stakes. They do tend to just bow down rather than grow straight upward, tho they're only like 4-6 inches tall so far. Don't want them to get a permanent hunchback!

    Also just rooted a dozen or so himalayan birch cuttings, (these rooted really quick and easy under mist). Kinda wondering the same thing about whether these trees should be staked a bit to get them off to a good start, or whether the stake might actually make them dependent on support and create a weaker tree down the line???

    Just don't have any experience in tree growing, but a few years from now I'll answer some questions after learning the hard way...unless someone else can save me some trouble!

    Glen in BC

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    northeast Tennessee
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    1,703
    GLEN,
    We stake our trees in pots of they need it. Loosely stake not too tight. The natural movement makes them stronger. We stake weepers til they are the height we want before we let them weep. Some trees don't need stking. Staking is better than a badly misshapen tree. We use bamboo sticks.
    We are in the process of potting all our trees in gallons to 3 gallon pots. They outgrow a gallon pretty quickly.
    tennessee sue

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
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    Surrey, BC, Canada
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    Staking loosely

    Sue-sounds like good advice from someone who's experienced.

    I had heard that the swaying of the little trunk was important to build strength, but also don't want a useless, crooked tree that would have to get tossed...

    The loose tying is probably good for almost anything, the clematis get tied constantly but sure don't want to constrict the stems at the same time.

    Like you say, some trees obviously don't need the stake, but the little bamboo deals seem useful at this earliest stage.

    I just bought a roll of the velcro plant tie stuff, but wouldn't get it again...too slow to tear off a piece and try to mate up the sticky sides around the stem and stake. Speed isn't so important for a home gardener with just a few plants to do, but hundreds of stakes to look at every time around and we need something quick as possible.

    The big clematis grower in our valley still just uses the pre-cut paper based twist ties (not a tapener machine) even with his 100 employees in 300,000 sq. ft. of greenhouses. I'm buying those next time, just have to avoid cutting the stems with that little wire as it grows...

    Thanks for the input, Sue!

    Glen

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
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    northeast Tennessee
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    Glen, It does take a lot of time to do properly. We also use the long twist ties. Just be sure to loosen or replace tham as the tree grows.
    tennessee sue

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    NW Oregon
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    Glen, we only stake babies that need to be encouraged to grow upright. Deodar cedars definitely fall in that catagory, but you say that yours are seedlings -- ours are grafted. Since grafts are sometimes necessarily made from lateral branch terminals, it takes time for the scion to realize it's now expected to perfom as the apical shoot. Almost all of our grafted cedars will lie down and keep growing lying down for several seasons unless staked. I would think that a seedling wouldn't have that problem, but staking when young, as Sue described, probably would encourage it a little. I've been watching our infamous neighbors, the JF Schmidt folks, and notice that they stake all of their budded shade trees at least to the 5' level.
    Susan

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Surrey, BC, Canada
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    Baby deodars

    Susan-it's my first time trying to grow deodars, or any other cedrus, so it's all a learning experience as we go along.

    These seedlings are now in their second growing season, and moving along durn slowly in their 1 gal. containers. They do seem to grow in a weeping fashion, almost touching the ground unless I give them some staking...maybe they would correct themselves, maybe not.

    The seedlings are mostly or all to be grafted onto, since the gorgeous Atlas cedars all need to be done onto deodar understocks, as I understand it. Also have a couple or three other varieties (Gold Strike, Comte de Dijon, Divinely Blue and verticillata Glauca) growing as scion donors around the property.

    I had suspected what you said about scions made from lateral growths, my himalayan birch cuttings are acting similarly since they were taken off the lower laterals from some seedlings...the seedlings themselves growing great without any assistance, strong and vertical. The cuttings appear to be drooping over at the moment, unless they just need to start growing to get "treelike" now.

    Schmidt seems to have a great reputation everywhere, I would tend to watch what they are doing and learn.

    I'm also looking forward to the Canwest nursery show here in Sept., some of the best growers in the valley will be on the tour this year. I'll never be big like them but love to learn all I can!

    Glen in BC

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    NW Oregon
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    Ah yes, the snail's pace at which Cedrus deodora understock grows! You know, we actually don't stake the understock where I work, but we grow it in 2-5/8" Anderson tree bands, so it's tight enough that there's nowhere to go but up. We buy seedling plugs from a producer near Eugene, OR, and he insists that if you know what you're doing, you should be able to graft on a seedling started in a styro-4 plug by the time it's 18 months old. Guess I don't ever plan to be quite that intense! The plugs we buy are started in Styro-2 flats (the plug is about 3" long and 1" wide), potted into the Anderson bands, and grown on for 18 more months. I'm finding with just about all understock that the most important time to push growth is the first season following germination, so that there is a good, straight, strong grafting space in or just above the hypocotyl, and calipered enough to cut before it gets old enough to be woody.

    I know Compte de Dijon and Devinely Blue (we've been producing that one since it was originally introduced as 'Pygmaea National Arboretum Selection'. Later named for Bill Devine. What, please, is verticillata Glauca? It sounds interesting.

    I know what you mean about the Trade Show season. I do the Far West Show in Portland, and actually hire my daughter to sit in the booth for one of the days so I can get out and see it all. It's all such an education! Can you buy display material from the booths at the end of the show at Can West? Far West has a strict no-removal policy during the show, but most exhibitors try to sell their display plants at the end rather than have to haul it all home. I've gotten some real goodies!

    Susan

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Surrey, BC, Canada
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    221

    Grafting

    Susan-you mention excellent points...I'd noticed the grafted liner producer here does his in bands, and thought it was just to save space. Forcing the understock to rapidly grow upward is certainly gonna help, too!

    From what you said, the understock shouldn't get too old and woody for best results, hadn't really thought of that since we don't want to be cutting into and old tree trunk and trying to match it up to a little scion. Still, if a graft didn't make it, would you try again next season? With side grafts I imagine you have that option.

    The verticillata Glauca seems to be a full sized deodar with nice blue foliage, pyramidal growth, they say to 18 feet. It and Gold Strike would be more vigorous, standard sized trees.

    I'm even more interested in the dwarf stuff, partly coz I've got so little room for growing in the backyard. Always figured dwarf trees would just slowly grow and appreciate in value year after year without squeezing me totally out of room...the larger ones will have to go at a small size or we look for acreage to grow them on!

    I'd never thought about what happens to all the nursery displays at the end, never stuck around till then...but then our show is right downtown Vancouver so I go in by public transport. Really restricts what I want to haul home.

    As it is I always come away with all the brochures, bus. cards and samples of thisnthat I can lug out of there.

    The nursery tours are always the highlight for me, tho, happening on the last day. This year we'll be visiting the largest perennial and largest clematis growers, amongst others. Esp. hoping to see a retractable (Cravo) greenhouse up close, think I'd try to set up one of those if I ever got more "serious" about this (full time on more acreage).

    You mentioned intensive growing, I know, some guys seem to get amazing growth compared to what my plants are doing. Hellebores are another example, esp. in Oregon I'm hearing...folks are getting from seed to flowering in just one year. Just not happening here, would take a more precise setup than mine. I'm pretty sure a capillary watering system would help a lot, just to throw out one more topic :-)

    Glen in BC

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