The Key to Tree Transplant Shock: Why Small Outdoes Tall When Planting Nursery Stock

If you are planning on adding some young trees to your yard for their shade-giving properties in the hot summers to come, you may be set on investing in some larger trees. After all, the more mature the tree, the sooner you'll be able to enjoy the shade it provides, right? Not necessarily. When young trees are moved from a nursery to a yard they suffer from transplant shock.

Although a well established tree with a strong root system will always outgrow a newly planted younger tree, the opposite is seldom true.

The Larger the Tree, the Longer the Recovery

When you move a larger tree from a nursery's field to your yard, its rate of growth will decrease significantly. The larger the tree, the more expansive its root system. When it is removed from its former home then to be transplanted into your yard, a portion of that root system is damaged. Though the tree's canopy remains the same, it's root system is now reduced.

What happens then is that the tree is unable to grow until it has replaced those lost roots. There simply isn't enough of a root system to provide the tree with the water and nutrients it needs to grow. Therefore, it may be a few years before you see substantial growth.

Purchase Younger Trees for Faster Growth

If your goal is to provide shade for your new pool or to grow a natural privacy barrier, then several younger trees may be more suitable. Younger trees have much smaller root systems and have less structure to maintain; therefore, they recover much faster when transplanted.

For instance, if you planted one large tree and one smaller tree in your yard, within a few years, the smaller tree may well have overtaken the other one in terms of size and height. If your goal is to provide your yard with fast shade, three smaller trees with trunks of 1 inch in diameter will outdo one larger tree in terms of growth in the years to come.

How to Get the Best Out of Your New Trees

No matter what size tree you choose to purchase, you can help them to recover from transplant shock by keeping them well-watered. Also, try to keep their leaves moist as this helps to keep them cool and prevent water loss from the foliage.

Under no circumstances should you prune a newly transplanted tree in order to reduce the stress on its root system. Remember, growing trees also relies on photosynthesis for nutrients and so the more leaves they have, the better.

If you are planning on investing in some young trees for your garden, remember that bigger is not always better. Ultimately, it depends on what you expect from your tree. If instant beauty is your goal, a larger tree might be more suitable, but if fast shade around your pool is your goal, several younger trees might be a better investment. For more information, contact a local wholesale nursery.