Our trees Rock! or at least gravel…

The early spring has started my season early too. This Friday I will be traveling to the wholesale nursery and picking up close to 300 trees! Then the fun starts… Putting all of them into our gravel bed ‘micro-nursery’.

What is a gravel bed?

It’s actually pretty simple: bare-root trees are put (planted)┬áinto beds of pea rock and then they can stay there until I am ready to plant them. As long as the gravel stays wet, the trees can thrive in there very nicely. They can’t stay there forever, but a few years has seemed to be just fine.

There are many great benefits to using this process to transplant trees. This first is the ease of transplant. There is no dirt/soil so the trees weigh very little. The second is the flexibility of planting. Not only can I extend the spring planting season, I can also wait and plant throughout the long fall planting season. The third, is that this is very inexpensive for me to do, so the inexpensiveness of the trees can be passed on to you, the customer. Finally, what I think is the best reason of all, is that this is the least stressful way for trees to be transplanted.

Why is this important? Easy. Less time for you to wait for your tree to grow! Le me explain further.

There are 3 main ways in which trees are commonly transplanted. Bare-root, potted, and baled & burlapped (B&B). Typically, most nurseries or garden centers have either B&B or potted. When a B&B tree is dug, over 80% of its root system is cut. I don’t of many things that can survive (well) with an 80% loss of roots! Potted trees either come potted from the wholesale nursery or come bare-root, but then are put in pots. Regardless of which way is used, the tree can never develop a great root-system. Furthermore, the trees typically become root-bound in the pot and can cause major problems down the road for the tree after planting if not taken care of. So in other words, its not great for the tree. The other major issue and difference, is that with these two methods of transplanting, most trees have 1-3 years of ‘transplant shock’. During that period the tree really doesn’t grow, it uses that time to recuperate the root loss.

With the gravel bed method, from the time the trees hit the gravel they start to build a root system. So there is little to no transplant shock. A gravel bed or bare-root tree, that is planted properly, will outgrow and B&B or potted tree in a 5 year period!

All of our trees are specifically chosen to do well in the harsh Red River Valley of Northwest Minnesota and Eastern North Dakota. They are also at least an inch in caliper and anywhere from 6 to 14 feet tall. So you not only get a tree that will start growing right away, but its of substantial size too.