Should Burlap And Wire Cage Be Removed From Nellie Stevens Holly Trees When Planting

Question From: B. Hester - Roberta, Georgia, United States
Q: Nancy: We just planted ten 7 ft. Nellie Stevens holly. A tree farm owner instructed us to dig the hole 40 inch wide and 18 inches deep, leaving two inches above ground. He said to leave the burlap, 'heavy' wire cage around root ball, which we did. After planting, I read that the burlap should be removed or loosed from a holly tree trunk before planting. I haven't read one thing about the heavy wire cage they put around burlap root ball. As we have put much money into this project, I want to plant correctly. Should we remove soil from around the already planted trees, remove wire and loosen burlap? Thank you !!

A: I would go in and cut away as much of the burlap as you can. Removing the wire cage may do too much damage to the root ball, so carefully pull back the top and replace the soil. Also make sure there are no ropes or wires around the trunks of the tree. Be sure to keep these trees well watered and check for settling to be sure the rootball is not exposed on the edges. After a few weeks I would mulch them with pine needles or pine bark. Best And Happy Yardening, Nancy

Q: Nancy: Thank you very much for your response. When is the best time to fertilize newly planted holly? Bobbie Hester

A: Bobbie, Late winter or early spring with Espoma Holly Tone. Best And Happy Yardening, Nancy

Q: Why oh why are the green berries drying up? Worried!! Thanks, Bobbie Hester

A: I can't answer that question. I suggest you contact the nursery where you bought the Hollies. Best Nancy