Archive for Sunday, September 28, 1997


September 28, 1997


— Early to mid October often is the latest Kansans can successfully plant trees or shrubs.

"Ornamental plants need time to establish the new root growth that holds them in the soil through winter's repeated freeze-thaw cycles," said Gus van der Hoeven, K-State Research and Extension horticulturist. "They also need some time to recover from transplant shock, so they're sturdy and healthy when they enter the bitterly cold months."

All ornamentals -- but especially newly planted trees and shrubs -- need regular watering until the ground freezes. They need additional water during winter warm spells.

"Lack of moisture is a major cause of winter injury for Kansas landscape plants," van der Hoeven explained.

Watering deeply a few times is better than sprinkling many times. Deep watering encourages deeper, stronger root systems that make the most of the moisture they get, he said.

"But don't just water at the base of the trunk," van der Hoeven advised. "You want to encourage roots to extend out on all sides -- at least as wide as the plant is tall. That distance is called the 'drip line.'"

Trees planted near sidewalks or streets probably will need watering more often than those living in "green" zones, he said.

"Evergreens will need more water than deciduous trees and shrubs, because evergreens retain their 'leaves' or needles through the winter months," the horticulturist said.

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