Thursday, November 29, 2012

Tree Planting Studies

Led by Graham Herbst, Community Forester based in Omaha, the Nebraska Forest Service recently implemented two tree planting studies to evaluate and help determine best growing and planting methods for better tree health in the landscape. The first study involved the planting of Swamp White Oak trees at Dodge Park in Omaha. Dodge Park is situated along the Missouri River and was heavily impacted by flooding in 2011. Swamp white oak was chosen to better tolerate any potential future flooding. The study includes trees grown by four different nursery methods: traditional plastic containers, Rootmaker(TM) grow bags (root trapper), balled and burlapped (B&B), and small seedlings started in square containers (Anderson pots). Trees were planted at proper depth and to try and simulate typical homeowner planting methods, so no extra care was given to root handling.  All trees will be monitored over time for growth rate and their root systems will be excavated by air spade in 5 and 10 years to evaluate root growth/health.

Planting locations at Dodge Park in Omaha

Tree grown in root trapper grow bag.

Tree grown in traditional container.

A second study was installed on UNL's East Campus in Lincoln. Part of the study includes evaluation of three nursery growing methods for Autumn Blaze Maple: B&B, traditional container and grow-bags. A second part of the study is designed to evaluate planting depth on tree health. Ornamental plum trees grown in grow bags were planted at varying depths ranging from 4" above grade to 12" below grade. All trees will be monitored for growth rate and their root systems will be excavated by air-spade in future years to evaluate root impacts.
Karma Larsen instructs Kendall Weyers to "dig over there."
Autumn Blaze Maple - B&B planting evaluation.
Finished planting of plum trees for depth study.

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