Nursery Address: 678 S Chiques Rd Manheim, PA
Office Address: 2310 Chestnut View Drive Lancaster, PA 17603
|Dedicated to the understanding, preservation, and recovery of the Eastern American forest|
2) Use of Conventional Plant Containers. Because a hickory sapling grows a five to ten foot long taproot before reaching two feet in above-ground height, use of conventional shaped plant containers will eventually weaken and kill the plant. This happens because the taproot will invariably grow in circles around the base of the container, and it will literally tie itself in knots. As the plant grows, the taproot diameter increases until the plant strangles itself. Use of “Spinout” or similar container treatments does not seem to solve this problem. So, conventional containers do not work either.
3) Direct Seeding. Nature’s way of propagating hickory trees relies on squirrels and other animals to bury the nuts and forget about them. Unfortunately, hungry squirrels have a keen sense of smell, so they will dig up and eat nearly all of the nuts that you attempt to plant. Unless you have a dog that is willing to chase them off for the first year or two, direct seeding is not likely to solve the problem.
The Solution Is to Give Them What They Want
We have had nearly 100% transplant by using taproot-shaped containers to grow taproot-producing plants. These containers are available now to commerce. Two container sizes have yielded best results. Tall cells are being used for seedlings, and larger tall containers are used to grow sapling up to 1” caliper.
We start our hickories in racks of deep cells. The opening at the cell base provides some air pruning assistance, so the plants can be grown happily for several years in this compact, low cost manner. Seedlings can be transplanted from these tapered cells using a tapered shovel. However, it is necessary to use protection for the seedlings for the first few years to protect them from rabbits, voles, deer, etc. Larger plants of greater than two feet height are often desired by customers.
To produce larger saplings, we have developed methods to grow hickories in larger taproot-shaped containers. After several years of experimenting with cut PVC pipe and other homemade approaches, we have happily adopted the 30” tall X 4” square tapered Long Pots. With these containers, a three foot length straight taproot can be accommodated. It is reasonable to grow a sapling to about 1” caliper in these pots. The photo shows a five year old shagbark that was grown in a Long Pot. We can now offer all six North Eastern US hickory species in larger sizes that are grown like this.
The first question people ask is about how to transplant such a tall plant. The answer depends on how many you need to plant. You will need to dig the hole the same shape as the container, i.e. 3” to 4” diameter X 30” deep. For just a few plants, a tapered shovel or a digging bar will suffice. For larger projects, a motorized auger or a tractor-mounted auger can make hundreds of holes in one day.
We welcome questions, comments, and customer feedback. Our goal is provide availability of well grown hickory plants for your planting project.