Fall planting of Christmas tree plugs for better survival rate. Get winter root growth.

Good morning rob here from the flanigan Homestead and east fork christmas tree Farms i’m out at the Tree farm today it is november 12th i believe 12th or 13th something like that I am going to do winter planting which Is not traditional not that people don’t Do it but it’s not traditional here in The pacific northwest usually we are all The majority of christmas trees out here Are bare root and planted in the spring But Uh through 20 years of trial and error Uh you know we’re always changing and we May change off this but right now we’re Thinking that planting plugs based on Our experience last year in this extreme Heat none of our bare root made it zero But a record-breaking heat this last Year But some of our plugs made it not a high Percentage but some of our plugs made it But also The fact that Everything was planted in the spring Uh i think put us at a slight Disadvantage now normally though the Springs and summers are wet enough here In the pacific northwest but they seem To be getting drier that they can handle It the first year so uh as it gets Harder and harder uh we are looking at Ways to make it our uh

Spr our planting our seedlings take off And so one of the things that we’ve Decided to do is plugs seem to be doing A little bit better i know they’re a Little bit smaller so we’re gonna have To wait another year for them to go but Also we want to plant them in the winter Or in the fall And so that uh i’ll show you the chart But we have charts from oregon state University that show that you know we Think the trees are dormant in the Winter but actually october and november There’s no growth above ground but below Ground there’s a significant root growth In october and november Then the whole tree tends to go a little Bit more dormant although there is still A little bit of root growth and then the Roots start growing a couple months Before the trees butt out and start Growing so if we plant here in november Actually i want to be honest Ideally we should have done this i was Planning to do this in mid-october when We know the ground is going to be wet And it’s going to be raining a lot here I i got busy and i’m a little upset with Myself uh planting this in early or Mid-october would have been much better I think the Water would be in the ground and like i Said root growth happens a lot in October and that would have been going

In the ground Sinking those further in the ground and Be ready to handle next year’s heat Better but Also by putting them in the ground now Uh you know sometimes you wonder did we Pack the dirt in it’s tight enough is or Is it really tight around the soil but We’re going to be getting rain rain rain For months and so instead of putting Them in some people do it as late as April i’ve even seen people do it as Late as may which i think is crazy But You know we typically had planted ours Uh late uh February early march But if we put them in now there’s gonna Be another 20 30 inches of rain on the Ground and really pack them in before They try to grow so Winter planting or late fall planting This is actually yeah technically Considered late fall but our early Winter planting i would have ideally Have done this in october but we’re Doing it in early or mid-november we’re Going to get in the ground and We think we’re going to have better Plantings even though i haven’t done a Whole lot commercially planting i have Transplanted many christmas type trees On my personal property around and when I’m transplanting those in the fall they

I seem to have a higher percentage of Survival rate and they really thrive When they’ve been in the ground all Winter and then they take off So Here we go So today we’re going to be planting 1500 Trees uh we want to do more this year But that’s as many uh plugs as we could Get we’re going to try to get some more Bare root In the spring and we’ll do that although That won’t be as ideal it still works But so our plugs Basically are planted in small cells and Then they keep the dirt around them These are smaller plugs than we’ve done In the past Well in years past we did some Larger plugs And then we have a planting dibble that We’ve used in the past where this has a Leg to stand on right here you stand and Stomp that in the ground and then it Creates a hole then you just drop this In and work the soil around We weren’t as thrilled with the success Of that The when we Got some augers out here and just a six Inch auger and then drilled the holes it Kind of tilled up the soil and you can See Behind me here

We had a lot of grass still growing this Is an old hay field that we’re taking Over with christmas trees And it really grew back so what we i did Is we waited till we started getting Rain and then i sprayed the fields when The grass was actively growing again and To kill it off but there’s still some Roots in there and a little bit of grass Growing in there and so when we get the Auger in there it’s basically a tiller Of a six inch cone and it really breaks Up the soil and it’s loose and then we Could drop the plug in and then pack it Back down takes a little bit longer than The dibble but uh It’s worth it when a higher percentage Of trees survive So i’m not Saying that this is always the best i’ve Had a friend that lived up with a Different type of soil up in the hills And used the dibble and uh he’s done Really well with it but we choose to go The auger break up the soil and the sod That It still is there and then Plant it with the auger All right here’s my Six boxes that contain 1500 Uh plugs yes there’s five boxes in there I already dropped one out in the field So [Music]

[Music] Ah [Music] All right so we’re going to put one of Our plugs in the ground in the awkward Hole we we are leaving the dead trees Right here because we have basically Insurance on this they got to come and Count the dead trees but uh we’re going To come in here stick this in the ground Start pushing this back in It’s nice and easy we are going to Make sure it’s packed in there and we Are intentionally going to have the tree Maybe an inch Below The native soil So that It will have cooler wetter soil Later in the season There we go Okay noble noble fur plug obviously There are smaller than our bare root So we like the size of the bare root but These survive better so we’re putting Them in but i’m just going to put this In the hole that i augered i’m going to Start pushing the soil back in You can see that the dead tree is still Here that’s there for the count on the Insurance on the dead trees But i’m going to keep pushing the soil In make sure it’s packed really well You’re going to see that this is lower

The native soil is right here the tree Is going to be about an inch lower than The native soil that’s just The ability to catch water And Make sure that it’s a Cooler moisture soil that it gets into During the hot part of the summer And There you have it [Music] [Music] I know it doesn’t look that dark because The phone does a good job of Changing it but it’s a 4 24 it took us Longer than we planned but we just Planted our last tree so 1500 trees in The ground Interspersed throughout the trees that Have been harvested in the past uh Start at eight Had one auger down for a couple hours Got two going and barry and i jumped on Them this afternoon And 1500 trees are in the ground And hopefully we’ll get a few more Uh in the spring Okay i’m sitting here at the computer Editing and i realized i didn’t make Something really clear You know I expressed how we want to plant in Early october we did it more Mid-november we couldn’t do that because

We hadn’t killed the field the previous Spring and so we were waiting for the Rains to come in the fall and they came Late this year we want the rains to come So the grass started growing up again so That we could spray it and get a good Kill with herbicide well the rains came Late so we wanted to let the grass die Out and it was you could see it wasn’t Completely gone but it was dying and so Then we started to run the auger through It but with the Grass that’s dying there and the roots Still in the ground The auger would come in and clog up it Would catch uh the foliage on there and It would clog up the auger and it didn’t Dig really well So What we need to do so that the auger Should go in a nice soil just dig the Hole in two seconds and be done with it So We’re gonna do better i’m planning ahead Next year we’re gonna get our uh order In early we’re gonna know how many we Have and we’re gonna spray In the spring the herbicide when the all The grass and weeds are trying to come Up we’re going to get that bear we’re Going to spray it throughout the summer However long we need to to keep it bare And then when we come in the fall We don’t have to worry about the fall

Rains coming We’ll have those for our bare root trees It’ll already be bare dirt auger will Hit the ground two seconds the holes Will be dug really quick in the midst of The planet we took a break In the ground A month earlier and we’re going to get All that uh october november root growth Time Will Give us even more success Well thanks for joining us today on the Flanigan homestead and east fork Christmas trees where we did some fall Planting of plugs instead of bare root In the spring Because we want to take advantage of That october november root growth time Yes the trees are a little bit smaller Than uh the two ones or even the two o’s That we get In the spring but we think we get that Root growth in the fall we get a little Bit more in the spring before they butt Out and we’re going to have hopefully a Lot better survival rate when the hot Summers come around

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