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I'm a beginning gardener working on making the yard of my first house my own! I live in Rockville, MD - and just fell in love with all the weeping cherries around here. My sister-in-law recommended I try to find some I could grown from native stock - everything I found in local nurseries was grafted.
I ordered three bareroot weeping cherries from Honey Creek and duly planted them. I carefully soaked the roots in Superthrive, and planted them in large pots of well drained soil. Weeks and weeks have gone by and I'm starting to feel silly watering what look like dead twigs in pots.
What is a reasonable amount of time before a dormant, bareroot tree should show some life?
I don't have an answer for your question as to "time"; but when you begin to think you are dealing with something dead, scratch just a bit of the bark. If the cambium layer is green, you are still in business. If it is brown and dry, it is time for a burial. Best wishes.
Is this the Honeycreek you ordered from? http://davesgarden.com/products/gwd/c/3005/ Watchdog ratings don't look promising, and they're affiliated with another company that has questionable ratings, so it wouldn't surprise me if you got bad plants. When did you order them? If it was fairly recently, late spring/early summer is definitely not the best time of year to be getting bare-root plants via mail order. I would contact the place you bought them from and see if they will replace them or refund your money. They should be showing signs of life by now, so while I hate to give up on plants I think the odds are not in your favor at this point.
I also wouldn't worry about buying grafted weeping cherries--I suspect the reason why you usually see them grafted is because the rootstock they're grafted onto is better/stronger than the weeping cherry's own roots. The thing you have to watch out for on grafted plants is if you get sprouts from below the graft you need to trim them off, but as long as you keep your eye out for that you shouldn't have much trouble with them.
Weeping cherries are normally always grafted onto a stronger root stock as cherries are naturally up-right growing plants, to get the weeping type the grafts are normally at the top of the trunk, this has to be grown over several years to make sure the grafts are good, strong and growing hense the expensive cost, the growers have to care for several years each season making sure the grafts are Ok, the tree grafts are weeping and fruiting / flowering, so the grower has the cost of all this and repotting.
You say you planted the trees and weeks later still no sign of growth, have you watered the trees, have you added any humas, well rotted manure or compost to the soil, new trees, especially bare rooted ones need a good amount of watering, more so if in pots as the pots dry out faster than the trees that are in the ground, all new planted trees I have get a clear plastic drinks bottle with the base cut of, place top down into the soil at the root area, fill the upturned bottle with water several times to make sure the roots are getting water, well drained soil will not hold onto water as well as soil that has has humaus added or compost added. All tree's require a good load of compost etc added to the planting soil to help retain some moisture till the reach a mature age and can fend for themselves.
Like wannadanc, I would scratch a little but of bark away to see of green, if not then that part will be dead, if all branches are brown then I would ask for money back and use a better company, dont always go by the cost as cheap plants sometimes are good but as a rule, look for customers views too.
Good luck. WeeNel.