That There is a Fine Looking Root Ball!
It is tree day here at Peaceful Valley. Every year our friends down at Dave Wilson in Hickam, CA send us a semi-truck packed top to bottom, front to back with something in the neighborhood of 10,000 bare-root trees. To give you an idea what that looks like (I know I had no conception of what 10,000 trees looked like before I experienced my first tree day) below is a picture of us unloading the truck. At this point they’d been unloading for a little over an hour.
As the unloading progressed we became aware of a characteristic of this particular crop of fruit trees. We always receive trees of excellent quality from Dave Wilson, but this year, this crop had something special. Apparently these last couple of years (the trees are two-years old) have been particularly fine ones for the roots.
Translation: THE ROOTS ARE HUGE. Our warehouse staff, who have been diligently preparing for tree day for the last couple of weeks, found themselves needing more bins left and right to fit the feet of apricots, peaches, nectarines, plums and pluots. The Blenheim apricot and the 3N1 Sweet Cherry in particular outdid themselves. I bought a 3N1 last year ... and it is a little smaller than the two-year old 3N1s sitting the warehouse.
I am particularly pleased to see these fantastic root systems since, for months, I have been anticipating the purchase of an Indian Free Peach. Seems I picked a good year to make the purchase of a new stone fruit; now my only worry is trying to fit it into a 15-gallon root guard basket—that might take some finessing.
Here’s a picture I took this morning of some Late Santa Rosa Plums (on Citation) waiting for another bin since the number of bins we had planned was insufficient to accommodate their lovely root systems. Notice all those fibrous roots? Those are the roots you want to see on your new bare root tree; they are the feeder roots. Those thick roots (as I understand it, a hallmark of the Citation rootstock) are for anchoring the tree solidly. When it comes to fruit trees, the most important feature is the health and size of its root system. In fact, we recommend not letting your trees fruit the first year, just to ensure they put energy into building a strong root system.
So if you have been even slightly considering the purchase of a new stone fruit, I say this is the year to do it. The quince trees are giant too, and the pears are exceptional as well. This year’s crop of bare root trees has root systems out of the common way. I know I am looking forward to picking out my new peach tree this Saturday.
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