Seedling roots


5 year old buck +

I'm glad I found this site and discovered where many "left" to.

I'm planting various seedlings, and last year most had extremely long roots. Is it ok to snip them beofre planting to prevent the roots from curling in the hole? If so, is there a limit on much you should cut...1/3, 1/2 or ? Species are Norway spruce, plum, ninebark, white pine, etc.
I use a tile spade to dig my tree holes. I spend my energy digging down vs digging wide. I only make my holes wide enough that I can get the shovel down to stretch out that root. Hardly ever wider than 6" anymore. This is why I shoot for a 12" seedling, even though larger are available. As you get bigger, it's harder to get all them roots in the ground.
you are always better off to cut roots than J root the seedling.Also keep roots moist and I would always use a root dip that is a water mizer type and will stick to roots. And then tube with tree pro tubes
I cut mine all the time and never had problems. Don’t know that’s it’s the beat but when planting 1000 trees you can’t go to slow by digging. I got 7 year old trees that look fine that I’ve trimmed roots when planting. I just trim to where I can get them in dibble bar hole. If that 1/2 or whatever I don’t worry about it.

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As others have said, physically pruning roots is better than having them j-hook or circle. The trees my look fine for several years but eventually the roots can constrict themselves. The best solution is the SDS deep hole method. When you plant bare root trees, the saying is sleep the first year, creep the second year, and finally leap in the third year. This is primarily because of re-establishing the root system. When you manually prune roots (versus growing seedlings in a root pruning container system) you are removing what the plant spent energy to grow. Trees are often pruned before shipping to balance the top of the tree with the root system. It will just be a little more sleep and creep than if you preserve as much root as possible.