When is it better to plant seedlings of fruit crops?
This question is asked by many gardeners, especially beginners. Usually this is how it all happens: the family buys a house with a plot and immediately removes everything from there, and then it begins to think what, where, and most importantly - when to plant. First, the eye falls on the seedlings of fruit trees. There are a lot of them in the pictures: apple trees, pears, cherries, plums and so on, mouth-watering, large, juicy, tasty.
- Where to buy seedlings?
- The advantages of planting seedlings in the fall
- Dates for planting seed crops in autumn in different climatic zones
- Spring planting of fruit seedlings in various regions
Where to buy seedlings?
Suppose you have acquired a plot in the fall and want to plant a couple of apple trees, different ripening dates, a couple of pears, cherries, a couple of sweet cherries and plums on it.
To begin, let's divide this batch into pome and stone fruits. Apple and pear belong to pome seeds, everything else is stone fruits, that is, if you are not a resident of the south, but a happy inhabitant of the center of Russia or its more northern regions, then you must postpone stone fruit planting in the spring, but you can plant seed trees (apple and pear) already in the fall.
There is always BUT. But it sometimes spoils everything, and sometimes it helps. The gardener always deals with the choice: what if in the spring the choice of seedlings will be so small, in varietal terms or the quality of the planting will be so unimportant that it simply will not suit the gardener? Reasonably, it means you need to go to the nursery and take seedlings there.
Why a nursery? Because it was created in earnest and for a long time, it is not a seller, whom tomorrow you may not even see. Most often, sellers sell their goods with leaflets (usually very drooping, sluggish, which already begin to evaporate water from shoots and even from the central trunk, especially large-leaved stone fruits, such as sweet cherries).
In the market, they will sell you any variety, if only they would buy it, since its fruiting will begin years later. In fact, seedlings need to be bought exclusively without leaves (and it is desirable that the roots be in a talker, and not stand in dry sawdust).
Usually, leaf snapping (defoliation), which is carried out manually and does no harm to the seedlings, is carried out by specialized nursery officers closer to the end of September, when the leaves themselves are ready to fall off. Therefore, for seedlings it is not traumatic, but rather useful. They fall into the nursery already devoid of leaves, and if the roots are in the talker, then they can even slowly absorb moisture without evaporating it.
The advantages of planting seedlings in the fall
The advantages of planting in the fall can only be in pome crops, and stone fruits are in deep rest, they may not have time to acquire new roots that would absorb moisture in the winter. The shoots will not be able to get enough of it and freeze in the winter or their banal drying out occurs when the sun is able to evaporate all the modest amount of moisture from the shoot, reflecting off the infusion like a mirror (this is why it is advisable to break it in the garden).
The sensitive root neck of the plants (the place where the roots go into the trunk) can also suffer. Pome crops, however, acquire a suction root system (it is located at the tips of the roots, often light in color) very quickly. That's why when planting in the fall they need to be watered abundantly, even despite the help of the rain. Then you will fully enrich the soil with moisture, the seedlings' shoots will be nourished with water and they will not be afraid of winter drying.
Damp soil will freeze more slowly, and if frozen, it will not respond to provocative thaws, triggering swelling processes in generative (flower) buds in the middle of winter.
And we will also help them - we will wrap the trunks with white lutrasil (because whitewashing can still cause burns, and rain, even occasional and short-term, can reduce all whitewashing efforts to zero). We also put protection against rodents in the form of a net (until the first skeletal branching), cover the near-chest area with dry leaves, and sprinkle fir spruce branches on top (so that it retains snow).
Dates for planting seed crops in autumn in different climatic zones
As for the timing, in the center of Russia, seedlings can be planted from the end of September, in the south - from mid-October or a little earlier, in the north - at the very beginning of September (and again, it is about seed crops).
If you are planting a one-year-old in the fall, then do not book it (you will cut the crown off in the spring, in mid-April and be sure to cover it with garden varieties later).
The advantages of autumn planting of pome crops:
- a huge selection of seedlings and varieties in a private nursery with a good reputation, where you can choose any varieties zoned in your region (this is very important, bearing in mind zoning); if it is pome fruit, then it should be planted, and if stone fruit, then dig behind the house, where there is more snow, covering the aerial part, when the cold starts, completely lutrasil;
- a lot of moisture in the soil, well, and we will add, of course, although it happens that autumn is poor in rains, then you will have to pour more (5-6 buckets per plant);
- quite a lot of free time: the crop is harvested and laid for storage, and the planting itself does not take much time;
- on the site, as a rule, it is cleaner, the soil digs without problems, does not stick to the shovel, and the planting process takes place quickly;
- in autumn it is easier to make out the cardinal points relative to which the seedling has grown (it should be planted like that); this is easy to understand, since the bark is darker on the south side and lighter on the north side; however, if the seedling is too disproportionately developed, that is, the whole "went" to the south side, then it is better to deploy it than to correct it later by pruning;
- in autumn there is no need for support pegs and the soil settles less, although if the garden has even a slight slope, then a support peg is also needed in autumn.
Cons landing in the fall:
- a sharp arrival of cold weather is possible, which can kill seedlings, especially in the northern regions and those gardeners who plant a garden on the hills, due to the presence of close standing groundwater;
- “Dishonest” nurseries sometimes put in the foreground second-rate planting material, leaving the best in the spring, so you need to be careful about the proper quality of the seedlings;
- Autumn is long and very dry, it is necessary to carry out a large number of irrigation, literally casting seedlings;
- usually in the fall, seedlings are much more expensive, because in the spring, residues are sold, which are usually simply thrown away if they are not sold, and in the fall there are queues for the seedlings;
- it is necessary to look for a place for digging seedlings, if you come across quality ones;
- necessarily planted seedlings need to protect the trunks from hares and mice by wrapping them with a plastic net until the first branching.
But spring has come, which can be completely different. It will suddenly begin almost in February, or it will be dragged by cold and frozen soil until May, so that you won’t get anything out of the digging, everything is frozen. But in the spring usually there is a lot of moisture, first of all, it is moisture from the melted snow. Therefore, you do not need to carry buckets and watering cans, you do not need to throw hoses into the trunk strips to save the plants from drying out.
Spring planting of fruit seedlings in various regions
In the southern regions, landing is sometimes carried out already at the end of March, in the center it is April or the very beginning of May, in the north - mid-May, sometimes closer to the beginning of May.
In the spring, you can just plant stone fruits, those that you and I dug in a secluded corner, where there is a lot of snow and few rodents.
So, as soon as the soil begins to crumble well in the hand, you can begin to plant the plants. During this period, the soil is full of moisture, but if you have dug a landing hole and the soil does not look well moistened, you can pour a bucket of water into it. The main thing is, when planting stone fruits, in no case do not deepen the root neck.
Even after the subsidence of the soil, it should be a couple of centimeters above the soil level, otherwise the plant will rot and die. In pome crops, the root neck can also not be deepened, but here its deepening will affect the timing of entry into fruiting - you will wait for five years longer.
Pros of spring planting
- dishonest nurseries will please with first-class planting stock, which they saved in the spring, because they know that in spring trade is not so intense and you can’t sell any nonsense; but you need to carefully examine the seedlings: whether they were frozen, dried up, because who knows where and how they were stored;
- in the soil, as a rule, there is a lot of moisture (this is moisture from melting snow), but you can always add it, the main thing is to have time to place seedlings before budding, so that the root system begins to work faster in the soil and activates the growth of the aerial mass of plants;
- spring is a great time for planting stone fruits; they take root 100% if the seedlings are not damaged and not sick;
- it’s warm and pleasant to work in the garden in spring, the icy wind doesn’t penetrate, therefore all planting works are carried out, as a rule, more efficiently, and not “quickly plant somehow and ... in heat”, as in autumn.
Cons of spring planting
- “Honest” nurseries sold all the quality material and the best varieties in the fall, and now they have leftovers, the second grade and not the standard, albeit cheaper, but possibly with defects, so you need to be careful when choosing;
- everything else, in the nursery, if stored improperly, seedlings can already be sold with open buds; such should not be taken even with a big discount, the probability that they will not take root is high;
- spring is insanely fleeting time, it is necessary to have time to plant a seedling before buds open, otherwise it may not take root;
- the springs are different, sometimes rich in moisture, and sometimes the soil is like sand in the desert; then, after planting, watering is necessary, the plant should literally be cast until it starts growing, until young shoots appear, but with special care you need to treat stone fruits: if the root neck has stagnant water, the neck can begin the rumble and the tree may well perish;
- often in spring the soil is not as dense as in autumn, so it is imperative to provide for the installation of support pegs, otherwise a gust of wind or careless handling of a seedling may incline it; and if this is not noticed in time, then it will grow crookedly;
- in the spring, immediately after planting, it is desirable to set pheromone traps and preventive treatments with 3% Bordeaux liquid can be carried out.
Here, in principle, all the advantages and disadvantages of the spring planting of seedlings of pome seeds and stone fruits. Based on this, make a decision: either now (when autumn) to run to nurseries for seedlings or wait until spring.