You desire to grow some late tomatoes, but you didn’t start more seed. What do you do?
Take an old shallow container, drill holes in the bottom and root tomato cuttings in vermiculite and water. It’s actually pretty simple. Tomato plants are actually very tough.
Find a container that will hold coarse vermiculite and water ( a plastic dishpan works great!!). Drill several 3/8 inch holes in the bottom of the container. By the way, you may use a large shallow nursery pot as well. Now place about 3 to 4 inches of coarse vermiculite in the container. Water the vermiculite to supply moisture to the cuttings. Allow excess water to drain prior to taking cuttings.
Carefully take cuttings from desired tomato plants using garden pruners. I have found, the larger the cutting, the easier to root! Place the cuttings in the moistened vermiculite about 3 inches apart. I place my rooting container in the shade to maintain proper hydration of the new cuttings. Usually it takes 10 to 14 days for proper rooting.
You may notice raised bumps or even small roots starting on the stem. These cuttings are the easiest to root.
Look at the results after just 10 days.
Now it is time to pot up your rooted cuttings in large containers to use for transplant in 10 days.
Water the newly potted cuttings and place in a lightly shaded area. Gradually move the pots into more sun light. Plant the potted plants as you would any transplant.
This an easy, effective way to start large, quick growing tomato plants.
Now that you have selected a flowering, shade or fruit tree let it give you years of pleasure by following these steps.
1- Location is essential for flowering, fruit bearing and shade trees.
- Full sun.
- Preferably well drained soil.
- Irrigation source.
- Right tree for the planting site. Where do you desire shade for cooling properties and where do you want full sun during the fall and winter months?
2 – Spacing of the tree in relation to buildings and other trees and plantings.
- Flowering trees: refer to the tag or your local county extension/Master Gardener.
- Shade trees need a very wide spacing due to shading capacity of the tree and its shape.
- Fruit trees are planted depending on their characteristic. Does the tree selected require a pollinator tree? Early, mid-season and late-season fruit bearing trees may each require a season specific pollinator. Your local county extension/Master Gardener will be helpful in your selections.
- Standard should be planted 25 feet apart.
- Semi-dwarf should be planted 12 to 15 feet apart.
- Dwarf should be planted 8 to 10 feet apart.
3 – Make sure the planting site is free of overhead/underground utilities, structures and easements.
4 – Now you are ready to plant.
5 – Dig a hole that is as deep as the root ball and doubled the width of the root ball. Notice the tarp? This is the best way to save the soil you have dug plus it makes for an easier clean-up.
- This is the time to add soil amendments such as compost, peat moss, kelp meal, bone meal , sand, etc. These amendments should fill the hole 1/3 to 1/2, mixed with the existing soil. The amounts will vary depending on the size of the root ball.
- This establishes a good root system and enhances the transplanting thus reducing stress to the tree.
6 – When placing the root ball in the ground make sure it is 1/2 inch to one  inch above the ground level. Planting above the ground level allows for the settling of the root ball.
- Where the trunk of the tree meets the root system is called the root flare. This juncture needs to be 1/2 to one  inch above the ground level.
- This step is crucial for a successful tree planting and continued growth and development of a healthy tree.
7 – Back fill and make a moat around the perimeter of the hole with the dirt dug from the tree planting. This moat will act as a reservoir and capture water thus reducing run-off and enhance the growth of the tree roots. This insures the tree receives proper moisture.
8 – The use of mulch is up to you.
- If mulch is used, do not place the mulch against the base of the tree.
- The base of the tree may respond to this mulch as soil and may stimulate root growth above the tree flare.
- See the possible results from “volcano” mulching. Notice the rotted tree flare. Besides it looks dumb!!!!!
It is important to stick to these steps for a tree you will enjoy for years to come.
Yes, Spring is in the air and the garden centers and box store outside garden areas are filling with trees, shrubs and annuals. You have decided to plant flowering trees, fruit trees and shade trees on your property this year. Is there something you need to know prior to purchasing?
1 – Examine the potted tree and see if there are exposed roots or roots circling the tree trunk.
2 – Pull the root ball out of the pot and inspect the root ball.
3 – Examine the root ball and see if there are roots growing on top of the soil. This is very easy to see.
4 – Are the roots circling around the edge of the root ball?
5 -If the trunk of the tree is loose or wobbly in the pot, it means it was grown from a smaller container where the roots had earlier in development started the circling pattern.
6 -If any or all of the above are observed/found, do not purchase the tree.
The tree will never pull out of this growth habit of circling its roots. The roots should be like the spokes of a wheel growing outwards in every direction.
Consequences of planting a tree with this rooting growth:
1 – A tree never capable of developing strong lateral, supporting roots.
2 – The tree will have to be permanently staked.
3 – In many instances these roots will surface and girdle other roots and the trunk of the tree thus cutting off its life support.
Be wise and be an active observer as you purchase that flowering, shade or fruit tree you desire for you property.
Which tree would you choose?