In the fall of 2008 Carl Cathcart persuaded Cavicchio’s Greenhouses to wash the roots on a stressed B&B Quercus rubra (Red Oak), and to plant it in a spot where it might be able to settle in. Carl sent me photos of the root-washing process, which I posted on Taking Place last summer. He and I then drove to Sudbury to see the tree, and to check out the three Red Oaks in similar condition that Cavicchio’s had planted conventionally, to see how they would progress in relation to the root-washed oak.
Photos of all the planted-out trees are on Taking Place, and because there are so many of them I’m simply posting the links to those posts here. To see the photos and read about the root-washing experiment, click here first, and then click here.
The summary: in mid-July, the bare-rooted tree looked best of all four trees. It had some dead wood, but nothing that hadn’t been on the tree the previous autumn, and it had good foliage color and density, if the foliage itself was a bit small. By comparison, the other three trees looked as if they were struggling: each tree had sprouted out new shoots along its trunk, often a sign of a tree in decline; foliage was small, and there was lots of deadwood in each tree. It’s not a scientifically rigorous experiment, but one worth following over the next few years, to see how the trees progress.