Quercus coccinea, scarlet oak, growth rate

toronado3800 Zone 6 StLouis(6)May 8, 2013

Just checking. Mine which I transplanted last fall has six or seven inches of new growth and it has only been leafed out a few weeks.

Medium or slow growth and a difficult transplant are what I was expecting. The instant gratification part of me is quite pleased.

Now that I see this season's growth pattern I think I see the same pattern a few feet down from the top. Is this what I should expect or does all the growth come at once then stop in May?

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toronado3800 Zone 6 StLouis(6)

Hmmm... Upright this time?

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 9:04PM
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toronado3800 Zone 6 StLouis(6)

Huh. Can't figure out the pattern on why the one went sideways

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 9:09PM
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jqpublic(7b/8a Wake County NC)

Mine puts out another flush of leaves later on in the summer. You can tell its starting when you see this pinkish-green fuzzball beginning to grow toward the tip of the branch.

I'll take a pic of mine to show you what it'll look like in a year or two. I'm already getting a good 1-2' of new growth and mines maybe 2 yrs older than yours.

The fall color is just great on this little volunteer!

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 3:08AM
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beng(z6 western MD)

In good conditions Scarlet oak is plenty fast & an example was a 100' tree just below my former house in VA w/a big trunk buttress. It was prb'ly a trunk-sprout from when the forest was cleared in the 1930s.

Like jqpublic says, as young trees they "second-flush" regularly unless it's dry.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 10:06AM
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arktrees(6b NW Arkansas)

toronado,
Not going to be much help to you, but our Scarlet Oak has grown about 1.5-2'/year. This is amazing when you consider it has had just it's two growing seasons (among the worst drought/heat years on record) since we had it planted at a 2" caliper 15' tall b&b tree. It has done amazingly well. It is just now beginning to leaf out. By that I mean 1" leaves on shoots 2-3" long AT MOST. Our tree is very late leafing, which leads me to believe it's from a more northern seed source. Tree will probable finish getting established this year, with next year telling the tale.

With that said, when planting it was possible to see that at the tree farm it was growing 3-4'+/year. I'm sure it was fertilized to an inch of it's life, but in good soil they obviously can grow quit fast.

Arktrees

This post was edited by arktrees on Thu, May 9, 13 at 22:58

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 11:11AM
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lukifell(zone5 NH)

Scarlet oak is known for having shiny green leaves. I used to walk under an old gnarled Scarlet Oak in Concord, NH. The acorns are prized by wildlife. Squirrels would harvest all of them in a few days, leaving none on the ground. Nearby, acorns from Northern Red Oaks would carpet the ground for weeks, untouched by any critter. Scarlet Oak acorns are only slightly bitter. Maybe this only holds true for New Hampshire. In my acorn taste test experiment Quercus coccinea ranked less bitter than Quercus alba.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 9:25PM
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toronado3800 Zone 6 StLouis(6)

Thanks guys. It might just satisfy my urge for instant gratification.

Although I might leave the tastings to them black walnuts my mower shoots around the yard lol.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 10:04PM
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poaky1

I have a Q. Cocc. in it's second year in my yard. I will try to take pics of it's growth this year. It has put out 1 flush already. I have been so wrapped up in my Live oak "Late drop" success I will make a note to take pics of the Scarlet oaks spurts of growth. There is a wild ground-cover that covered the seedling and made it grow upwards to reach the sun before I walked around and looked at all my babies, and saw it was being smothered.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 9:34PM
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treeguy_ny USDA z6a WNY

My scarlet oak has been a steady grower since planting it as a 1 foot seedling. I have seen 1.5 to 2 feet of growth per season. Mine also puts out a second flush of growth if we have a consistently moist summer (i.e. no flush last summer!)

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 10:11PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

GW told me... its the auto rotate feature on these new fangled phones.. and said coding.. that interferes with uploading ...

so perhaps.. quit trying to be phancy and either use a camera.. or hold your phone upright ...

anyway.. my 6 foot bare root in 2000 are going on 20 to 30 feet tall ... sand.. no water after 2 years.. you know the rest of the story ...

they really are .... so superior to everything else ... and the growth rate can be comparable to many of the faster growing types ...

ken

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 8:20AM
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toronado3800 Zone 6 StLouis(6)

Huh. I sure did post from the phone and who knows which way I had it turned.

Thanks

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 8:26AM
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jqpublic(7b/8a Wake County NC)

Here's mine! Over 6' tall! That's sedum - 'autumn joy' at the base.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2013 at 1:17AM
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thapranksta

This post gives me hope. lol. I bought 2 two year old seedlings through mail order, not sure what to expect really. I ended up with 2 twigs about 1 foot tall. This is to be the specimen tree in my backyard some day so I've been thinking lately of cutting my losses and picking up a 6-7 foot shumard or pin oak to replace it. If it grows at a fairly fast rate, I might just exercise patience with it.

Does anyone know when they start to leaf out?

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 11:28AM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

From what I see here, Scarlet is one of the fastest growing oaks in the "red" group, but Pin Oak can outpace it, as can Northern Red in some situations.

Definitely faster than Black Oak (Q velutina) and probably a good bit faster than Shumard. I don't have much up-close experience with some others like Nuttall.

They almost always flush twice here, even more mature trees - once in April when they leaf out, and again in early to mid June. The second flush is more weather dependent, if it's REALLY dry or hot, they might not flush again.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 12:22PM
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thapranksta

One of my Scarlet oaks was potted and died from what appeared to be general neglect. I put the other in the ground and though it does not appear black and dried up like the definite dead one, it is YET to leaf out. I did a scratch test on it and there was bright green behind the bark. If this thing is indeed still alive, is it possible it won't leaf out until the summer? I am trying to be patient instead of plucking it up, tossing it in the woods, and continuing my search for a nice backyard specimen.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 11:42PM
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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

Hang tight thapranksta. Give it until June/July. And just because you see green now, does not mean it will stay that way. That's the short version.

Dax

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 4:54AM
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j0nd03

I ordered a scarlet oak online that I planted this spring. When I planted it, there were new white roots growing everywhere, so I knew it was alive. However, it was very very slow to leaf out and was a good 3-4 weeks behind my other established scarlets. If I hadn't seen the vigorous root growth, I very easily might have tossed it because I would have thought it was dead. Dax is right, patience is in order.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 9:12AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

man o live ...

a plant that can grow for centuries...

and you are ready to give up after a year or two ..????

think in tree years.. not prankster..new age technology .. tweet today.. gone tomorrow time frame... and your experience with trees.. will grow greatly ...

might i suggest annuals.. if that is your patience level ... lol ...

crikey and blimey.. all rolled into one ..

ken

ps: recent oak transplants .. take at lest a year to 3.. to really get going ... they are growing roots... that you cant see ...

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 10:26AM
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thapranksta

Ken,

I'm not suggesting it take off like a rocket its first year or two in the ground. I just want to see it leaf out to give me some comfort in it actually being alive. Lol. I was just wondering if it is normal to take this long with such a young tree (3 years old) to show signs of life above the ground after being transplanted in the Fall.

Thanks, I will stay patient.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 11:10AM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

Hey Toronado - how is your Scarlet Oak doing this spring? How much growth has it put in since this last pic?

    Bookmark   June 6, 2014 at 1:47PM
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toronado3800 Zone 6 StLouis(6)

How things going hairmetal? My scarlet oak is an interesting fella. It held those leaves all winter and got bent to the ground a few times by snow load. Then sprung up on its own every time.

This year it leafed out a little late but so did everything else. I say I have only six inches or so of new growth out of the leader this year BUT I am in no way upset.

For one, it is a bit more thickly leafed this year. Even though its spot isn't really FULL sun it seems like more than the tree was exposed to in the nursery so it is filling out.

For two, this winter caused tons of problems to lots of trees. My Scarlett oak looks fine.

For three, deer seem to have come by and nibbled on it. A few branches have way up were torn off by something or other. I haven't found hoof prints but these were three feet up!

Four, for some time in late May the tree was bent over a bit by its own weight. Long enough it even seemed the foliage was orientated for the lean and I thought it would pick a new leader! (This cherry tree in the woodline has done that) Then the tree uprighted itself and the leaves have flattened out.

I'll be interested in how long it keeps growing this year.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 12:28AM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

It would seem odd, initially, that your tree would grow more slowly this year than last year, but if you transplanted last year, it was growing out of preformed buds from the previous season, whereas this year's growth was formed in buds last year, which would have been stressed from transplant.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 10:33AM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

I have 5 Scarlet Oaks that sprouted from acorns this spring. I noticed an odd phenomenon on them as well.

They are all in their second growth flush this season - the first was when they sprouted out of the acorn. It seems after this second flush, they're now all about the same size, despite being quite different at first. One tree had 6 initial leaves and was 3" taller than the rest, but it's second flush was smaller (3 leaves) and shorter, although still very healthy looking, while the other trees had larger and more leaves on their second flush, but were smaller (4-5 leaves and shorter) initially - as if they are "catching up" with the originally largest seeding. Not sure if this is normal, but it's kinda neat.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 10:36AM
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toronado3800 Zone 6 StLouis(6)

This slowing down after a year in the ground happens on my locally bought potted transplants. I have a Serviceberry and Crabapple which have done it as well.

I bet a couple things are at play.

Forest Keeling takes good care of em before seeling them to me.

The soil they are in has fertilizer. Mine does not.

The first year in the ground I water. The second year they get less care.

Those are my theories anyway.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 10:27PM
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poaky1

I will try to remember to take a pic of my scarlet oak.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 2:23AM
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poaky1

I still need to remember to take a pic of my Scarlet oak. None of my oak trees grows much the same year as planted, or if fall planted, they don't grow the following growing season. In my experience, my Scarlet oak is the slowest growing of all my oaks. I read that it is fast growing for some, but unless it starts growing like a beanstalk this year for me, it isn't a fast grower here.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 3:51AM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

Poaky, I think like anything, it varies a lot depending on conditions and even seed source - some provenances are faster-growing than others. However, most of the time Scarlet Oak grows pretty fast. My little seedlings (grown from acorns this spring) are from a PA seed source so should do OK for me in MD. However the jury is still out on how fast they'll grow.

How old is your Scarlet Oak?

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 8:45AM
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poaky1

I will say 2 yrs in my yard. I know that trees as individuals can vary, I have 3 English oaks all 3 are different in a big way. One is like a beanstalk skinny and tall, one is squat and wide and the 3rd is in between, but has leaves like a Chestnut oak, all 3 from England acorns, same tree. I have pictures, but have posted them so many times all have seen them I'm sure. I will try to remember the pic of the Scarlet. Maybe I'll be shocked and it will be a couple ft taller than I remember, when I get the pic. It's raining and getting darker out, so maybe tommorrow I'll get a pic. I put it on the property line in an area that it gets overlooked alot. here is from last fall, I believe. I searched my photobucket and found this, so I guess I did get a pic last year. If it is much bigger, I will update with another pic, it SHOULD be bigger now.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 8:25PM
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alabamatreehugger(8)

Here's a Scarlet Oak I planted fall 2012 as 12" seedling. Last winter was really wet and soggy but it seemed to pull through just fine despite their preference for drier sites. It just went through a growth spurt and now stands around 30" tall. I'm right at the FL state line south of it's native range. Growth isn't as fast as some other native oaks like Q.nigra or Q.pagoda. I'd say it has been about equal to Q.alba for me.

(Ignore those annoying chamberbitter weeds under it, they're now gone)

    Bookmark   June 22, 2014 at 9:56PM
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alabamatreehugger(8)

Here are some that I planted from acorns last fall. Seed collected around Huntsville. 100% germination rate.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2014 at 9:59PM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

Yours are bigger than mine, for the most part, but mine also probably sprouted a bit later-mine didn't break surface until ~April 1, and didn't really take off until May.

They look pretty good.

What I can't reconcile in my mind...young scarlet oaks have such an irregular pattern (such as yours, alabamatreehugger), yet larger scarlet oaks are almost always near-pyramidal with a nice, straight trunk, then spreading at maturity, but still with the tall, straight trunk a good ways up the tree.

Obviously, they do end up growing straight, I just can't get my head around how.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2014 at 10:13PM
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poaky1

This is an older post, but, here is an updated pic of my Scarlet oak The older pic I think these are a year apart, so not too bad.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 9:11PM
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thapranksta

Just to update, my scarlet oak did not live. I am now technically 0-3 with oak trees. I lost a willow oak and 2 scarlet oaks. I think the willow oak was dead when I received...though I can't confirm. One of Scarlets died in the pot. Funny thing is oaks seem to be the only trees I'vehad trouble like this with and I have a gaping hole in my backyard just begging for a majestic oak to fill the space. Call me crazy but I am considering rolling the dice again with either Scarlet or Willow in a 3 gallon size.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2014 at 9:18PM
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arktrees(6b NW Arkansas)

thapranksta,
Don't know how you are starting out, and what you are using but I might be able to help you a bit. If you are using bare root trees, then Scarlet is known to be problematic being bare root. There are some bare root suppliers that know how to handle them, but IMHO you are better of not starting with bare root trees. See link below for small trees that are pot grown. Shipping is very reasonable for the supplier linked below. Also if you are going to pot them, then DO NOT use the standard potting mixes. You will need a much better draining mix. Scarlet Oak originates from dry ridge tops and if the potting soil etc retains too much water, then they will not make it. Next keep potted plants on the dry side for the reasons stated above. I learned this from "experience". DON"T over water. USE root pruning pots with these. They will be prone to getting rootbound in a hurry, so get some root pruning pots (this helps the over watering aspect too). When planting out, make sure it's not a soggy location, and it would not hurt to make a mound in which to plant for the same reasons as stated for the potted plants. Also planting depth is critical. They won't tolerate being planted too deep. The above are just from my experience with this species, having tried bare root (100% successful, but I had learned from an earlier potted tree much of the above), grown from acorn, and one large B&B tree for my own. Not a "hard" tree, but you have to be aware of their sensitivities.

toronado,
Our B&B tree continued to put on a single flush of growth, but this years was the best yet. Shoots were at least to as much as 32", and that is just from lower branches I could reach. Our trees appears to be fully "established" now, judging from the rate of caliper increase last season, and is occurring this season. Therefore 2'-2.5' annual growth rate in descent soil and conditions would seem about average. Though another poster may have something interesting to post on this subject. :-)

Arktrees

Here is a link that might be useful: Pine Ridge Gardens

    Bookmark   September 22, 2014 at 8:35AM
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thapranksta

The first tree, Willow Oak, was bare root. Both Scarlet Oaks were in a small pot. I ended up really neglecting the one I left in a pot so I know why it died. The one I chose to plant "teased" me for a while with a green hue to its trunk but never put out a single bud. The location I put it in didn't appear to be a soggy location but I will move it a few foot out to rule out the location and I will try to plant it a little higher as well. I typically tease out as many roots as I can get out without breaking away the vast majority of the potting soil when planting in the ground from pots but I'm not sure I even want to bother the root system at all. Curious...do any of you guys add any amendments like peat moss to the soil when planting oaks?

    Bookmark   September 22, 2014 at 9:10AM
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thapranksta

Larger Scarlet Oak (3 gallon pot) on the way...wish me luck. :-)

    Bookmark   September 25, 2014 at 12:08PM
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j0nd03

I got over 50 inches of growth out of one of my three-year-old scarlet oaks this year. The other 3 only grew 1-2 feet, but I really enjoyed watching the big one grow :)

Good luck pranksta!

Edit: I just realized if you click on the sideways pics, they are in the correct orientation in the new window. Cool.

The tree had just finished a 17" growth spurt it started in late August. It was a beast this year! Also I had just finished pruning some small branches off of the bottom foot or so of the tree. I am hoping it branches out next year.

This post was edited by j0nd03 on Thu, Sep 25, 14 at 14:21

    Bookmark   September 25, 2014 at 2:18PM
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arktrees(6b NW Arkansas)

pranksta,
Take some pics of the roots before planting. Probable want to bare root it as well. It's probable going to have some root issues that need to be addressed for the long term.

In my previous post, I mentioned a mound to plant it in. The mounds I use are composed of topsoil (NO amendments). Typically I make them approximately 3.5'-4' and 6"-8" tall in the middle above the existing soil grade. the ideal is to get much of the new planting root zone above any possible water pooling in the existing soil. The roots will then grow out and into the surrounding soil at the correct level for your soil conditions. You will want to pack this soil somewhat, so that it does not settle so much as to expose the rootball, then 2"-3" layer of mulch on the mound and surrounding soil. Are you going to plant this fall? That is when our Scarlet Oak was planted, though research I found on the web indicated that root growth will begin early the following spring. At least the tree will be in its new home when that happens. Be sure to check rootball moisture through out the winter, as you may need to water occasionally even in winter.

Arktrees

    Bookmark   September 25, 2014 at 2:32PM
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thapranksta

Yes, I plan to plant this fall. Thanks for the well wish. And yes, I am afraid I may see a huge tangle at the root ball which has been the case with just about every potted plant I've purchased no matter the source.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2014 at 12:04AM
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toronado3800 Zone 6 StLouis(6)

I thought some fall pics were in order. Should have put my kid next to it for scale.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2014 at 11:19AM
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toronado3800 Zone 6 StLouis(6)

I am pleased with its fall color this year. It has been a good year for most things. Future generations will get a great chance to look up through its leaves as this tree is uphill from my house.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2014 at 11:24AM
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toronado3800 Zone 6 StLouis(6)

Normal lighting.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2014 at 11:26AM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

John - your 50" of growth seems to confirm what I and others have seen with oak seedlings...they crawl for a few years, then take off like a rocket. I think it has to do with the root system and stem caliper having to reach a certain point first, and there will be some variability among seedlings.

I'd bet those other seedlings take off NEXT summer.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2014 at 12:20PM
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poaky1

Nice color peeps, I need to check on mine. It is (as mentioned before) in a isolated spot. It is likely turning red already.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2014 at 10:10PM
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thapranksta

Just a small update. I did plant my scarlet oak. The specimen I got was a good size - about 4'. A few of the leaves began to look like the ones you have above shortly after planting and then I lost all of my leaves in the span of about a week. I figure the transplant shock sent it to full dormancy a little bit earlier - at least that's what I am hoping for. I did plant it on a mound. It was a smaller mound than suggested because I didn't feel comfortable planting the entire root system above the existing soil line - that would be the only way I would have gotten 6''-8'' above the soil line. Mine is closer to 4''-5''.

Thanks arktrees and for the other general advice. Unless I forget I will post an update in the Spring and i hope it is a very positive one.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2014 at 9:13AM
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arktrees(6b NW Arkansas)

Sound to me like you did it right. Don't worry, though I know that can be hard until the spring flush. Planting in fall is IMHO the way to go for most species in the south, but can also be the hardest as they sit dormant all winter with no signs of life. The payoff comes the following summer when fall planted trees handle the demands of summer much better than spring planted trees. I not sure our BnB Scarlet would have survived the hell summer of 2011 had it not be fall planted. By the time the second hell summer in a row came around, it was in much much better shape.

You and your tree will be fine.

Arktrees

    Bookmark   November 3, 2014 at 2:28PM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

How did the root system look, thepranksta?

    Bookmark   November 3, 2014 at 3:26PM
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thapranksta

The root system looked really good from what I can see. I'm not sure if the nursery did any prep work before shipping. I would have taken pictures but it got dark outside really quickly and ruine any decent camera shots.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2014 at 9:45PM
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