In the spring of 2010, a collecting trip to South Dakota produced some trees with potential. While its important to collect the root system as completely as possible (intact is ideal), aftercare is the key to nursing a collected tree back to health. Seven of the trees collected were planted in the ground to recover, and 2 made it. 10 were planted in pots, and 9 survived.
Of the 10 trees planted in containers, most were planted in Anderson flats, and the voids were largely filled with chunks of styrofoam, so the volume of new soil added was minimal. Several trees were planted in wooden boxes as well. Those in wooden boxes seemed to be more vigorous and in the second season became pretty thirsty trees.
While the weather has been mild here, it is still too early to do root work and repotting. However, the wooden box finally gave up the ghost yesterday, and I needed to shift it to a more stable pot. The original box was the right length and width, but it was about 15″ deep, so we made a false bottom with blocks of styrofoam, and only the top half of the box actually contained soil. After 2 years in the sunshine, the wood was warping and soil was leaking out of all four corners.
Here are some photos of the repotting.
This will be its third growing season after repotting, and it will be allowed to grow freely at least this year and likely next year as well before any work is done on the top.