From the Prairie Potter Extension Master Gardeners of Pierre and sent to us by Elke Baxter, MG from Philip)


  • Dig hole three times wider than container.

  • Dig hole half as deep as container the tree is in..

  • To remove tree, tap container on ground and gently slide the tree out.

  • If roots circle the root ball, shave down the sides with a sharp spade/shovel to remove all circling roots.

  • Scrape away the top of the containe root ball to find the tree's first pencil sized root. This may mean removing up to half of soil from top of root ball.


  • Place the tree in the hole with its first pencil-sized root at TOP of hole - the surface of the ground.


  • Return the SAME soil back into hole. Tamp soil lightly with the back of the shovel.

  • Soil can be mounded slightly from edges of hole to trunk of tree, grading from at the natural surface of the soil at the trunk to an inch or so higher at the edge of the planting hole.


  • Mulch with wood chips ON TOP of the soil from the trunk to just outside the planting hole.


  • If you are planning to stake the tree, use only two stakes perpendicular to prevailing wind. A wide (2”) strip of canvas or other heavy fabric works well. Tie one end to the stake. Loop fabric around the trunk before securing to the other stake. (For those directionally challenged, this means that if the prevailing wind is from the north, place one stake north of the tree and the other south.

  • Water: One gallon per inch of diameter of tree trunk daily for two weeks, at base of tree.


  • Don’t carry tree around by trunk or drop it out of a pickup.

  • Don’t pack soil back into planting hole. The roots need oxygen.

  • Don’t use fresh grass clippings as mulch around newly planted trees.

  • Don’t stake tree too tight, too high (no more than 2/3 of height), too long (no more than one year), or with rubber hose and wire.



Summer Food in Wintry February


16 Popular Foods You Didn’t Know You Could Freeze

1. Garlic – You can freeze whole garlic, garlic cloves or chopped fresh garlic. Frozen garlic does lose some of its texture, but the flavor remains intact.

2. Corn – You can freeze fresh-picked corn on the cob for up to one year. Pack it in freezer bags — husk and silk and all. For store-bought corn, husk and blanch it before freezing.

3. Avocados – The bad news is that frozen avocados lose their consistency. The good news is that they do not lose their taste, so you can use them for guacamole or dressing. Wash and halve them before peeling. Freeze as halves, or puree them with lime or lemon juice and then store for up to eight months.

4. Mushrooms — You can freeze raw button, creminis and portabellas mushrooms for later use. Chop and slice mushrooms and then spread them on a cookie sheet. Freeze. Then transfer the pieces to bags or containers.

5. Onion – You can save chopping time – and tears – by freezing onion for cooking later. Store peeled, chopped onion in plastic freezer bags. The best part is you can just toss them into your recipes without thawing them first.

6. Hummus – Scoop your fresh hummus into plastic containers. Then drizzle a thin layer of olive oil on the top to keep it from drying out. Thaw in the refrigerator for 24 hours before mixing and serving.

more such winter gardening from Off the Grid News