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Old 07-24-2019, 07:23 AM   #1
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This past weekend we drove to visit friends at a half-way point in the middle of the state. On our way, despite the car being loaded with luggage, coolers, and Jeff's knee-scooter (his broken foot is still healing), we stopped at a yard sale. No place to put anything big, but that didn't stop us.

They were getting ready to close up, covering tables in the back...but, right at the front, there was a bucket full of rather tall trees--for a dollar each! They were mostly white oak (which I recognized) the others (the man told me) were chestnut oak. They were grown in 2-liter pop bottles (with the bottoms cut off). The size of the trees compared to the size of the roots was impressive. Concerning, but impressive.

He had grown them himself from local acorns--this was about an hour and a half from.our home--not too bad.

For a dollar each, I could not pass them up.

We only had $6 in cash on us, so we bought six trees. One of the white oaks shared its cramped container with a silver maple that must have blown in. Jeff picked that one, so we ended up with 7 trees for 6 bucks!

They are, obviously rootbound. I decided to pot them up into larger containers, instead of planting them out in the ground--especially in the heat of the summer. I am hoping pampering them and giving them a chance to grow a more substantial rootball before planting them out in the fall will give them their best chance at survival.

Any suggestions?

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Old 07-24-2019, 07:27 AM   #2
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The amount of feeder roots varied greatly. Unfortunately, the tallest trees (the chestnut oaks) haddd the fewest roots.

Some more pictures...

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Old 07-24-2019, 07:33 AM   #3
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Potted up.
Yard Sale Find-20190723_214013.jpg

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Old 07-24-2019, 11:01 AM   #4
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Myself, I would have just planted, staked and kept them watered inground once untwining the roots so they wouldn't girdle themselves in the future. A bit of their own strength against the upcoming wind.

I can't see how cramming 3 to a pot gave them much more room to spread out than what each were already in then there's the stress of untangling them again come fall unless you are intending upon planting them 3 to a group.
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Old 07-24-2019, 06:17 PM   #5
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Myself, I would have just planted, staked and kept them watered inground once untwining the roots so they wouldn't girdle themselves in the future. A bit of their own strength against the upcoming wind.

I can't see how cramming 3 to a pot gave them much more room to spread out than what each were already in then there's the stress of untangling them again come fall unless you are intending upon planting them 3 to a group.
I would have a difficult time getting water out to them in the 2nd acre where I plan to plant them.

They have at least three times more room than they did before. I would feel much better seeing a health root system before putting them in the ground--I may even try overwintering them and planting them next spring...not sure yet.

I don't like to stake trees--but, clearly these would be top heavy...again, I would like to see them grow a healthy root system before planting them out in the heat of summer.

My main concern is that they will strangle/girdle themselves eventually regardless of what I do now.

Part of me thinks they will grow a new leader and the old root system won't really matter--I have often seen trees that I plant grow a new leader--stronger and more vigorous than the original trunk/stem...and that stem/trunk seems to become insignificant. Is it possible/likely that this could happen with the root system?
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Old 07-25-2019, 07:49 AM   #6
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Why would someone grow trees for that long in that fashion? Wow. Glad you rescued them. Haha. I don't think there's a wrong answer here - I would probably plant out too and just keep them well watered, but it's also reasonable to give them some relief in a pot now and plant out when the weather's cooler. (Although here the weather has been quite cool for four days straight.)
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Old 07-26-2019, 06:18 AM   #7
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Why would someone grow trees for that long in that fashion? Wow. Glad you rescued them. Haha. I don't think there's a wrong answer here - I would probably plant out too and just keep them well watered, but it's also reasonable to give them some relief in a pot now and plant out when the weather's cooler. (Although here the weather has been quite cool for four days straight.)
From our brief conversation, it sounded like he planted a lot like that, then only put a limited amount in the yard, because his wife didn't want that many planted out.

Still, she told me that I might have to take the cap off and use a hammer to loosen the root root at the bottom...so, I am guessing they kept them (or some of them) that way for too long.

Yes, I wanted to give the roots immediate relief...and have the option of examining the root system again before planting them out; that way I could attempt to remedy any problems that would lead to strangulation later on.

Some (on another site) seem to think they are destined to die in the long run, strangling themselves on the messed up root system. I am not sure this is a certainty. Others seem to think they will be fine.

Thoughts?
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Old 07-26-2019, 10:44 AM   #8
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I guess I would have either given each its own large pot to recover in or just gone ahead and unraveled the roots and planted them wherever they're destined to go. But, as Amelanchier said, there's really no wrong answer here.

I do know that through the years I have had better results when I get plants, especially tree seedlings, into the ground ASAP then when I try to pamper them first in pots, but that's only been my own experience.

Good luck with them and great rescue job!!!
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Old 07-26-2019, 07:35 PM   #9
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I guess I would have either given each its own large pot to recover in or just gone ahead and unraveled the roots and planted them wherever they're destined to go. But, as Amelanchier said, there's really no wrong answer here.

I do know that through the years I have had better results when I get plants, especially tree seedlings, into the ground ASAP then when I try to pamper them first in pots, but that's only been my own experience.

Good luck with them and great rescue job!!!
Thanks for the feedback.

I hope I don't find that "pampering" them ends up with them less healthy than I found them.

Time will tell.

Honestly, I really want to see what happens to the root system. I feel they needed their roots disturbed...and part of me feels they need it more than once!
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Old 07-28-2019, 09:19 AM   #10
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I too find it best to plant asap direct to get them established as everytime you toy with a root system it adds to their stress when new tender roots break. Just untwist and keep them separated as you fill the hole. If they seem pretty set in their way pound a couple of sticks in to keep them from snapping back into a twist. That should do it. The stick will disintegrate and the roots should shoot forth away from the trunk as they should be. The weight of the soil will also help keep them in place.

As far as staking... It's recommended just as an aid in their beginning. They are removed once some establishment of their root system occurs encouraging it to gain its own....strength
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