“Every vegetable has its timeline” and every plant has its best planting time. Anyone who has experience in growing is well aware that spring and fall are hot growing seasons.
This is due to a number of factors: in spring, the plants are not yet in full growth, there is no heat, and rainfall is frequent. However, no matter how hard we try, circumstances often mean that planting activities must be carried out in the height of summer.
The success of such work depends largely on the type of planting material and the use of special cultivation methods that make it easier for the plants to take root in their new location.
How to ensure that the growing seedlings are carried out with minimal risk? You will about to see from this article.
SUMMER PLANTING OF SEEDLINGS WITH OPEN ROOT SYSTEMS (ACS)
This type of planting material has the shortest realization period. Decent nursery owners stop selling dug-up seedlings of fruit trees and ornamental crops as soon as they begin to leaf out and bury unsold planting material.
This is due to the fact that the roots no longer work adequately when they lose their soil. In this case, the plant has spent the last of its strength on budding, the young leaves need increased nutrients and water, but the dug-up seedlings are not able to provide everything they need for their above-ground parts. This situation is very stressful and can lead to the death of the plant.
However, it is not uncommon to see many bare-root seedlings with green leaves in the trade rows. Sometimes such images can be observed even at the end of May or the beginning of June, while the deadline for selling seedlings with ACS is the end of April (or the beginning of May – in the cold late spring).
Sellers sell their wares at bargain prices and some gardeners may be tempted to buy new seedlings (almost for nothing). But is it worth it?
The theory is that there is always a chance of salvaging even the most tortured plants, but forgo such purchases. If you do buy a bare-root seedling out of season, it will take a lot of time and effort to try and help it adapt to its new environment.
Such a seedling will grow small, incomplete leaves in its first year. If the acclimatization procedure is successful, the next season’s crown will acquire a healthy appearance.
However, be prepared that the seedling will spend the whole summer with undeveloped foliage (neither alive nor dead) and will not come out of winter at all the following spring.
Basic measures for summer planting of seedlings with open root systems.
- Regular watering, preferably with the addition of preparations that promote the formation of young roots. However, do not overdo it on this issue, as too much water can lead to fungal diseases and even rotten roots.
- The root zone should be covered with mulching material to reduce water evaporation (straw, compost, fallen needles, etc.).
- Install shade netting to prevent direct sunlight. It can be built with cardboard or you can buy special shade nets.
- Spray the crown with an anti-stress agent.
PLANTING CLOSED ROOT SYSTEM (ZKS) IN SUMMER
Theoretically, seedlings with closed root systems have no restrictions on the planting period and can be planted throughout the warm season. Landscape architects, using such planting materials, can successfully implement projects throughout the summer.
However, this rule applies only to seedlings that were originally grown in containers and were not placed there immediately before the sale.
Plants with ZKS are available at nurseries from spring to autumn, and you can always buy a new plant to plant in your garden. But is it so easy to root seedlings in the middle of summer?
Of course, container seedlings are the least traumatic for the root system. By the way, when planting container plants, it is often recommended to break up the root ball and straighten out the tangled roots.
However, when planting in summer, it is better to refuse these activities to avoid traumatizing the roots. Do not worry, the plant can allow it to gain more space and start spreading.
However, in any case, plants find themselves in a new environment to which they must adapt and need help.
Look at a hot summer flower bed, where often even the hardiest plants drop their leaves and look frustrated, and new settlers have to struggle to adapt to the changed living conditions.
In nurseries, all planting materials are usually protected from direct sunlight with special trellises so that containers do not dry out too quickly. Seedlings can be badly burned or completely “burned out” if they enter a flower bed or an open sunny bed in the summer heat.
Therefore for planting ZKS seedlings in summer:
Rule 1: Always provide a certain amount of shade. For this purpose, shade can be provided for small plants in a special tent with shade netting or the best white fleece.
With this construction there must necessarily be good ventilation and air permeability, otherwise, in the heat of summer, the seedlings will simply “boil” in this “greenhouse”.
Shade can be removed only after the young leaves begin to grow actively and the old leaves have fully recovered their toughness. Shade-tolerant plants, if planted in a semi-shady corner, may not be shaded.
Often we also receive closed-root seedlings by mail, then even in early summer you may be surprised to find that the package contains seedlings with unflowered buds because they have been stored in cold conditions.
If the buds on the shrub have not yet opened, place the plant in the shade after planting to prepare the young leaves for the level of light they will face. Otherwise, leaves that bloom in the shade will later be burnt.
Rule 2: Choose the right weather for planting. Summer might be a different result and sometimes June is colder than May. In this case, you should not have any problems in rooting plants with plants in ZKS. Sometimes summer rains are replaced by sunshine, which only briefly rehydrates the ground.
But sometimes it happens that you get a real rainy season in the summertime, with daily rainfall for a week or two. If you are planning to plant or transplant in summer, it is best to check the weather forecast and wait for such a rainy period to arrive, because rainy, wet, cool weather is very conducive to good seedling survival.
Rule 3: Water regularly and regularly. Plants with good root systems can withstand short periods of drought. Even if the leaves partially wilt due to lack of water, the plant will most likely recover.
Newcomers, on the other hand, have a hard time. Even if you grow plants that are known for their drought tolerance, they will need plenty of water at first. This will allow the roots to better absorb the new soil and the root coma to blend in with the local soil.
Watering should be done daily for at least a week for successful rooting. Watering with preparations that improve root formation and anti-stress agents is also encouraged.
However, you should not fertilize transplanted plants. In any case, the roots will be micro-traumatized, the fertilizer may cause burns, and the plant will not fully absorb the fertilizer because all efforts are made to adapt.
PLANTING LARGE TREES WITH SOIL BLOCKS IN SUMMER
In addition to the ZKS plants available in summer, fruit seedlings and ornamental seedlings are always available for sale in comb nurseries. Generally, these are mature specimens reaching several meters in height and are often used in the work of landscape architects.
Such plants can be preserved using special techniques and planted in new locations. In early spring, before the leaves open, the seedlings are dug up using a special technique that preserves the root ball with minimal damage to the roots.
To prevent the root ball from disintegrating during long-term storage, the root system is wrapped tightly in burlap. For very large trees, in addition to bagging, the metal mesh can be used to protect the root ball from disintegrating during transport.
Before sale, plants with root balls are watered by drip irrigation or placed in wet sawdust. In summer, the seedlings prepared in this way will grow and develop well. Thanks to this, the condition of the plants can be assessed and the ornamental status of the culture can be evaluated.
Planting such large trees in summer is successful in most cases and almost painless because most of the roots remain inside the packed clumps.
Planting the seedling clump in a new location eliminates the need to unpack the root ball. Burlap is a natural material that decomposes quickly in the ground, while metal mesh does not inhibit root growth and will decay in the soil after a few years.
ADVANTAGES OF GROWING SEEDLINGS IN SUMMER
So let’s summarize what kind of plants can be planted in the summer in new places:
- Large plants can be planted in summer with specially prepared root balls.
- seedlings of fruits and ornamental crops with closed root systems.
Also, if you transplant small plants inside your own garden or from a neighbor, transplanting them with large root balls will be successful. It is best to choose plants that are not currently in bloom, but have bloomed in the spring months or will bloom in the fall.
POSITIVE ASPECTS OF GROWING SEEDLINGS IN SUMMER
In summer you can see the “cargo face” and fully appreciate the decorative nature of the plant. It is often the case that a flower is very showy in pictures, but in reality, it gives a completely different impression.
Conversely, the plant you can’t stop looking at in a catalog will appear gloriously in a good environment, and you will of course want to plant it in your garden.
Often florists make mistakes in planting density, planting young rosettes close together or, on the contrary, too far apart. By purchasing in the summer, you get a well-developed plant to determine the best distance between the new specimen and adjacent plants.
In early spring, it is not easy to determine if the planting material is viable and sprouting. In the summertime, you can always choose a plant that is guaranteed to be viable and has good foliage for maximum ornamental value.
Without the rush of garden work in the spring, summer allows you to plan your garden in peace and quiet, choose the best planting location, and go to the nursery to purchase planting material.
At garden stores, nurseries, and retail stores, there are no crowds and you can get a good view of the entire plant collection. And you don’t have to wait in line to buy.
Compared to fall planting, seedlings have more time to take root and sprout for the next season. More often than not, plants planted in the summer will overwinter better and develop faster the following summer than those planted in the fall.
THE OPTIMAL TIME FOR PLANTING
Finally, a word about what is the best time to plant seedlings.
The best time to plant seedlings of fruit trees and ornamental trees and shrubs with open root systems: 2 to 3 weeks before the first frost in autumn. These dates vary from region to region and can be late September or mid to late October. In spring, mid-April to early May is the best time to plant ACS seedlings.
Perennial crops (flowers, garden strawberries) are planted and replanted according to the flowering time. Plants that bloom in spring and the first half of summer will root better if transplanted in the fall. Those plants that bloom in mid-summer or fall are best planted in the spring.
The best time to plant conifers and shrubs is from August and no later than three weeks before the first frost in the fall. In spring, conifers are best planted and transplanted in late April to mid-May.