How trees are handled and packaged before collection

The trees are dormant when excavated from nursery blocks and sold bare-root. Varieties are marked by color codes on the stem. We mark this on the north side of the tree in the nursery, and advise the farmer to have this variety color mark facing north again in his orchard planting. A white mark indicates the natural ground level and it is strongly advised that the tree is planted at this very same level.

Trees are trimmed back to 1 m above ground, and the root are pruned between 700 – 800 mm in length. The trees are then classed according to SAPPA standards and sized according to the diameter of the new growth, approximately 20mm above the graft.

Trees are grouped in bundles for easy handling and counting. The bundles receive a fungicide treatment and are dipped into drums of moisture retaining gel. The bundles are packed into large poly-prop bags to avoid the roots from drying out. Under cool conditions (no humidity, warm weather) these piked trees should be able to keep up to three weeks.

It is recommended to check the gel on the roots if trees need to wait for planting.If planting is delayed the bundles can be laid in a furrow, ensuring that the roots are covered with mud sludge to prevent any drying out of the roots.

The day before planting, dunk the roots of the bundles in water and leave overnight to rehydrate the trees. Plant rehydrated trees from water and never allow the trees to lay open in the wind and sun with roots exposed.