Sunday, April 30, 2006

Yellow Cherry Plums and White Willow

Today I started the root pruning process around 11 of my yellow cherry-plum seedlings (Prunus nigra) and a few white willows. My plan is to make one cut a week for 4 weeks, then the next week get them out of the ground and into pots. I will tend them in a shady spot until they get over transplant shock, and then get them slowly used to the sun. They should be ready to trade as bare roots next winter.

Root pruning causes the plant to grow new root hairs inside the cut closer to the plants crown. (The spot where the stem emerges from the ground.) By pruning just one side of the plant at a time, you only cut off a portion of the root hairs. This way the plant is still able to take up water and nutrients while it grows more root hairs. Transplanting and dividing is much more successful if careful root pruning is done in advance.

If anyone is interested in either the cherry plums or white willow for possible trades next winter - let me know. This white willow is the one used medicinally. It can be trained into a nice small multi-trunked shade tree delivering dappled shade. The long leaves curl in fall making a nice mulch. However, it does spread by rhizomes - however you spell that. If you don't want to deal with it spreading it is best to grow it as a shrub in a large pot placed on a porch or patio - so it doesn’t spread from its drainage hole . . .

I am looking around my yard, and what I really need is some color - as in colored foliage. If you have any sort of plant with interesting colored leaves that can be divided or started easily from cuttings and are interested in making a trade let me know . . .

Meanwhile, my son is still working on his final, and then I have my newspaper column to finish. So I hope to get back to my blog by Wednesday, but we shall not hold our breath.

(Of course I might sneak back in sooner . . . LOL )

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