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Planting new fruit trees in very cold weather

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  • Planting new fruit trees in very cold weather

    I'm hoping to plant out 25 bare-root fruit trees this year. It took me a while to get the land ready for them and then, when I phoned the nursery, they said they had very low stocks but would be getting more in on 15 January. So here we are, approaching 15 January, but we have an anticyclone that is going to last for at least another two weeks by the look of it. This means very bright but cold days and perishing nights. Our stone-walled corral is minus 8 ºC at night, the new 'orchard' will be a few degrees lower than that.

    I don't want to put in 25 trees, just for them to die of cold. But on the other hand, I don't want to pay for 25 trees in pots (considerably more expensive here: bare-root trees will be around 6 euros, trees in pots 25 or so). How late do you reckon I could put bare-root trees in. We'll still have frosts as late as early April, but not as cold as this.

    Any and all advice welcome. But I'd be sorry to hear 'wait till next year', as the holes are already dug.
    Location: north-east Spain, where the sun is too hot, the rain too torrential, the hail too big, the wind too windy and the snow too deep. Last frost: usually mid-April, sometimes first week in May. First frost: mid-October.

  • #2
    You could plant some in pots next to the house where it’s sheltered if the weather is icy/windy. The trees are dormant,they won’t notice what’s happening (don’t let them get warm indoors,they’ll wake up wanting food ).
    Location : Essex

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    • #3
      Maybe speak with the suppliers?
      If you follow their advice and things go wrong then you’d have comeback on them maybe?

      My thoughts are that I know you have already dug the holes but if the surrounding ground is too cold to dig to a spade’s
      depth first thing in the morning then it’s too early to plant….but that doesn’t account for future planting if the temperature drops dramatically.

      Bare root plants need to be kept watered until planting. Frosted roots are fine with a dormant tree so long as you don’t move/ prune them as they can’t cope with that.
      Dont keep them indoors either as they are likely to break dormancy early.
      Your stockist should be providing the best possible storage facilities for young trees….I’d leave the problem with them - the experts, and get them to tell you when it’s safe to plant! ( and get them to assure you they will replac3 any failures )
      "Nicos, Queen of Gooooogle" and... GYO's own Miss Marple

      Location....Normandy France

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      • #4
        Thanks, guys. I will be talking to the nursery when buying. The only problem is that they're on the edge of a town where I think temperatures are likely to be warmer than here. That said, I'm not sure there's much come-back on a six-euro tree.

        I'll ponder the issue. I had a look at the land from a high-point this evening. In the south-side stretch of the valley just above us, which is shaded by trees, some of the land hasn't thawed all day. Ours looks to be frost free, but one thing I could certainly do is not put in the trees in that section of the orchard just yet.
        Location: north-east Spain, where the sun is too hot, the rain too torrential, the hail too big, the wind too windy and the snow too deep. Last frost: usually mid-April, sometimes first week in May. First frost: mid-October.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Snoop Puss View Post
          How late do you reckon I could put bare-root trees in. We'll still have frosts as late as early April, but not as cold as this..
          You can put them in pretty late. You'd probably still get away with April.
          That said, frosts aren't an issue. You don't need to wait until risk of frost has passed. What is an issue is temperatures low enough to freeze the soil. You shouldn't lift or plant bare root trees when the ground is frozen. As long as the ground is not frozen, there should be no problem planting them.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by ameno View Post

            You can put them in pretty late. You'd probably still get away with April.
            That said, frosts aren't an issue. You don't need to wait until risk of frost has passed. What is an issue is temperatures low enough to freeze the soil. You shouldn't lift or plant bare root trees when the ground is frozen. As long as the ground is not frozen, there should be no problem planting them.
            Thanks, Ameno.

            All great info, guys. I might give over the coldest area to currant bushes and see how they do. No choice of what type of blackcurrant (and no red or other currants available), but any blackcurrant is better than none.
            Location: north-east Spain, where the sun is too hot, the rain too torrential, the hail too big, the wind too windy and the snow too deep. Last frost: usually mid-April, sometimes first week in May. First frost: mid-October.

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            • #7
              Generally do not plant if the ground is deep-frozen, i.e. the top 7 or 8 cm is hard and icy.

              Assuming when you get them your bare root trees are well wrapped when you get them with sacking or plastic wrap around the roots, then they will store fine in the cool for up to a month provided :-

              1) temp stays between 0 and 7 Centigrade
              2) mice and or rats don't eat the roots

              somewhere like an unheated conservatory would do.

              I wrote a piece on here about 4 years ago on planting fruit trees, but I can't find it.

              Cheers Nick

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              • #8
                Thanks, nickdub. The problem is that our only place to keep them wrapped would be the garage. And a cauli I had in there froze overnight. The temperatures for early February don't look too bad, so long as it doesn't pour with rain... We've decided to wait till late January before rushing ahead. But thanks for the advice. We hit frost at around 6 pm and it isn't gone till 11 am or so the next day. So it's not just cold, it's cold for a long time and that is really getting to everything.

                I'll let you all know how we get on.
                Location: north-east Spain, where the sun is too hot, the rain too torrential, the hail too big, the wind too windy and the snow too deep. Last frost: usually mid-April, sometimes first week in May. First frost: mid-October.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by nickdub View Post
                  Generally do not plant if the ground is deep-frozen, i.e. the top 7 or 8 cm is hard and icy.

                  Assuming when you get them your bare root trees are well wrapped when you get them with sacking or plastic wrap around the roots, then they will store fine in the cool for up to a month provided :-

                  1) temp stays between 0 and 7 Centigrade
                  2) mice and or rats don't eat the roots

                  somewhere like an unheated conservatory would do.

                  I wrote a piece on here about 4 years ago on planting fruit trees, but I can't find it.

                  Cheers Nick
                  Nickdub here’s your thread about planting trees -
                  https://www.growfruitandveg.co.uk/gr...ticulaly-fruit
                  Found in a gooogle search,the search on here doesn’t seem to work very well
                  Last edited by Jungle Jane; 16-01-2022, 03:02 PM.
                  Location : Essex

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                  • #10
                    Thanks for finding that, Jungle Jane. And thanks for posting it in the first place, nickdub.
                    Location: north-east Spain, where the sun is too hot, the rain too torrential, the hail too big, the wind too windy and the snow too deep. Last frost: usually mid-April, sometimes first week in May. First frost: mid-October.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Jungle Jane View Post

                      Nickdub here’s your thread about planting trees -
                      https://www.growfruitandveg.co.uk/gr...ticulaly-fruit
                      Found in a gooogle search,the search on here doesn’t seem to work very well
                      Thanks, Jane - I thought someone clever would be along :-)

                      All the best, Nick
                      Last edited by nickdub; 17-01-2022, 08:54 PM.

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