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HORT THERAPY
Dear Readers:
HORT THERAPY is a weekly column where our team of professionals will answer your gardening questions.

Email us your garden questions at AskDIGIT@dig-itmag.com. We love a challenge.

Dear DIG IT!
We are searching for a maple tree for our front yard, and there is a nursery in our area that has a different process of growing trees. They call it no-dig. The tree roots are in a 5-6 inch circle of black material (looks like just the tops of those black pots they would normally be in) pretty large in size (3-4 foot dia.) and sit ON TOP of the soil. They say you only have to dig down about 3 inches and plop it in, (removing the plastic circle of course) add some top soil and mulch, water, stake, etc. Have you ever heard of this process? They say they have the patent on it. I would hate to spend the $275.00 on this tree only to have it die. What do you know?
Thanks so much,
Rhonda

Dear Rhonda,
While I've seen demonstrations on growing trees in fabric containers I
have no experience in using them in the landscape. The reasoning behind
using this method is that you will get a plant with a more extensive
root system, which will establish quicker than hand dug plants. If you
have concerns ask the nursery about the differences between using the
traditional B&B method and their system and if they could direct you to
landscapes which have used their trees over the years. Just make sure
all your questions are answered before you buy and if it seems to work
why not give it a try.
Jeff Van Pelt, horticultural supervisor, Somerset County Park Commission


Dear DIG IT!
We have to relocate rhododendren bushes now. Will we be able to save them, or will the weather now be a problem with moving them? Also, can they be trimmed without causing damage?

Thank you.
Jim & Ruth


Dear Ruth and Jim,
Since you have to move your bushes I'd say go for it, just make sure you
get a good root ball when you move them and be sure to give them plenty
of water for as long as possible until the cold weather sets in. Pruning
them will help with transplant shock with the down side being that you
might lose most of next years flowers. Another thing I would do is to
spray them with Wilt-Pruf right after you transplant them and again in
mid-December at the winter rate to help control water loss. Good luck
with your planting.

Jeff Van Pelt, horticulture supervisor for the Somerset Park Commission, NJ


Dear DIG IT!
We have a small front yard where we would like to plant a nice shade tree. Can you tell us what type we should plant? We would like one that would have roots that grow down, not along the surface of the yard. We have in the past had trees that raised our concrete sidewalks & driveway.

Thank you,
Jim & Ruth Gindhart

Dear Ruth and Jim,
The following trees are good candidates for your situation:
Honey locust, Gleditsia triacanthos inermis cultivars, which will grow about 50 to 60 feet in height with a broad-oval branching habit, and
Zelkova, Zelkova serrata, which grows to the same height but has a vase-shaped habit.

Jeff Van Pelt

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