Christie-Elite are one of the UK’s leading producers of bare-root forest trees including native broadleaves, hedging species, commercial conifers.
Bare-root trees from at Christie-Elite begin with seed which is collected each year from various locations, or provenance zones, throughout the UK. Prepared seed is sown by machine into sterilised field beds and allowed to germinate and grow for up to 3 years to produce a finished plant.
Each year during development rising seedlings are undercut, or wrenched, trimming the roots beneath the soil to encourage development of a healthy, fibrous, root system. Finished plants produced in this way are known asseedling undercuts (1uO or 1u1).
Another way to encourage root fibre in bare-root plants is to transplant rising seedlings by lifting plants out of the ground and re-planting them into fresh beds. This process is more labour intensive and typically takes an additional year. Finished plants produced in this way are known as transplants (1+1or 1+2).
Many foresters prefer bare-root plants over cell-grown stock as they are much cheaper to buy as well as being easier to transport and plant. Bare-rooted trees will establish just as successfully as cell grown plants however they are only available during the dormant (winter) season between November and April.
Caring for your tree
Planting and care tips to help give trees the best start
Preparation of your site can be the difference between a successful planting operation and failure. Ensure it is fully weeded, either by hand or by using an appropriate herbicide.
Choose your planting spot carefully, avoid planting in dense shade or if the soil is waterlogged. Your tree will need an appropriate amount of room to grow, which will vary according to the species.
Make a slit in the ground with a spade, about two thirds the depth of the blade and move the spade handle back and forth to widen your slit. At this point, you can add fertiliser. Insert the tree so that the top of the compost is about an inch below the soil level. Finally, press down the soil with your foot around the tree, you can also water the tree if conditions are dry.
Your tree will require some care once planted.
The area around the base of the tree needs to be kept free of weeds until the tree is around a metre tall and above the competition of weeds. You also need to be aware of pests and disease so make sure your area is protected against deer, rabbits and hares.
Christie-Elite produces over 10 million trees, with an annual turnover of 5millions trees per year. from seed each year including a wide range of native broadleaves, hedging species and commercial conifers.
- Native seed is collected every year from a variety of locations (or provenance zones), throughout the UK.
- To produce a bare-root plant, seed is sown into prepared outdoor beds. To encourage development of a healthy, fibrous, root system the seedlings are undercut (trimming roots with a blade beneath the soil), wrenched, or transplanted during their development, which can take up to three years.
- Once the plants are ready for sale they are lifted and shaken by specialised machine. The trees then undergo rigorous grading for quality and size, before being transferred to our cold store for dispatch to our customers.
- Bare-root stock can only be lifted and planted whilst it is in a state of dormancy (during the winter) so these plants are only available during the winter season from November to April each year.
Christie-Elite produces around five million cells with an annual turnover of two million cell grown plants for sale each year.
- Cell-grown trees differ from bare-root in that they are growing in a compost plug or cell.
- Cell-grown stock can be planted throughout the year.
- The production process begins with a seed, which is either mechanically or hand sown into trays of compost cells or seed trays in the polytunnel.
- Cell-grown trees typically take between one and two years to develop.
- Due to the fact that trees can be produced in a controlled environment, a wider range of species is available in cells than can be offered in bare-root.