Big Trees understands that construction schedules and moving times do not always coincide with the best time to transplant trees. Ideally trees are transplanted when they are dormant. This is the period after the leaves drop in fall and before the spring growth begins. However, not to worry if you missed the ideal transplant time because with 25 years of transplanting experience we have developed a method that allows for successful summer transplants.
We are able to transplant trees in the summer with additional steps and treatments. The aim of antitranspirant and antidesiccant treatment applications are to reduce the water loss, and stress associated with water loss, of trees during the transplant process.
Just what are antidesiccants and antitranspirants? The dictionary gives two different meanings for ‘desiccant’ and ‘transpire’. Desiccation means to ‘dry or dehydrate’, where transpiration means to ‘pass through pores or membranes.’ In the horticultural world an antidesiccant would be a substance used to stop dehydration in plants and an antitranspirant would be a substance that stops the loss of water from leaves. In the horticultural world both terms can be interchanged. For simplicity let’s just use antitranspirant from here on out.
Here is a brief introduction on tree biology which may help you understand how antitranspirants work. The evaporation of water from plants is called transpiration, and almost all transpiration occurs through leaf openings called stomata. Water is literally pulled to the tops of the trees by transpiration. Transpiration aids plants in mineral and water absorption, and it is necessary for the plant process of photosynthesis, which is critical for tree growth and ultimately the well being of the plant.
Plants control the size of the leaf openings (stomata) based on external environmental conditions and internal chemical triggers. Transpiration is at its highest when light is available, the temperature is high, the humidity is low, there is a slight breeze and adequate water is available. If water is unavailable during high periods of transpiration the leaves of the tree wilt because water is lost through leaf openings faster than it is being absorbed.
Big Trees applies antitranspirants as a root soak and as a foliar spray. The foliar spray is a clear liquid coating that forms a shield over the leaf surface. This shield works as a physical barrier that aids in the prevention of water loss from the stomata. The foliar spray can significantly reduce plant stress associated with water loss during the transplant period. The foliar spray also provides protection against insect damage, UV degradation and windburn.
The root soak is applied as a soil drench which can then be absorbed into the tree’s root system. It is best absorbed into the root system when the soil is already partially moist. Through transpiration the root soak is moved from the roots through the canopy of the tree. The root soak contains Abscisic acid (know as ABA). ABA works as a natural chemical trigger. As ABA is moved through the tissue of the tree it deactivates transpiration by triggering the leaf stomata to close. The plant reduces its transpiration naturally.
Both the root soak and the foliar spray work together to make summer transplant possible. They should be applied at least 24 hours prior to the dig. The effects of both applications can last up to three weeks. The root soak and the foliar spray come as concentrates which are diluted with water before they are used. They are easy to apply, they are environmentally friendly and completely safe, and best yet they produce excellent results.