Cut down, destroy dead pines!
Got dead pine trees? If you are in the eastern half of Kansas, they probably died of pine wilt, a disease that is widespread in that part of the state. If you are in central or western Kansas, pine wilt is less common, but it can still occur in pockets.
Cut down pine wilt infected trees ASAP (by April 1 or May 1 at absolute latest) and burn or chip the wood (by May 1 at the latest) to break the infection cycle. Do not keep the logs piled up – the beetle and nematode can survive in firewood. In addition, be sure to cut the stump down to the ground, and destroy it, too. By destroying the wood you’ll destroy the nematode that causes it, and the beetle that spreads it.
Planting Fruit Trees
Fruit trees and many small fruit plants are usually sold bareroot, and it is vital that roots never dry out before planting. When plants arrive from the nursery, open the bundles immediately and check for moisture. If the roots are not moist, they should be soaked in water for six to 12 hours before planting. Packages with moist roots can be repacked and placed in a cool, sheltered area if the trees will be planted in a day or two.
If wet soils will prevent planting for several days, plants should be heeled in. To do this, dig a trench in a sheltered, well-drained area out of the sun. The north side of a building often works well. Lay the plants so the roots are in the trench, and then place soil over the roots. Firm the soil and add water if the soil isn’t already quite moist. You should not leave plants heeled in for more than two to three weeks.
Plants can be placed in a bucket of water, as planting holes are prepared. Make the planting hole wide enough to accommodate roots without twirling them inside the hole. If there is an especially long root, cut it to fit. Twirling long roots inside the hole may eventually girdle the tree. Add organic matter to the area around the planting hole. The treated area should be about 8 feet across. In heavy soil, adding amendments to just the planting hole creates a “pot” effect that can fill with water and drown your new tree. Covering an 8-foot area avoids this problem.
Planting depth is important. Make sure the graft union is between two and three inches above the soil surface after the tree is fully in place. If the graft union is below the surface, the tree may develop scion roots and any dwarfing effect is lost. Water plants in immediately to eliminate air pockets and ensure there is plenty of water for root uptake. Do not fertilize.