In October 1999, 166 rootlets weighing approximately 3 pounds were planted on a wooded site in Rockport, Maine. The canopy at this site was dominated by a maturing stand of beech, red maple, striped maple, red oak, ash, white birch and yellow birch. The understory was primarily striped maple and beech with an herbaceous layer of Christmas fern. The rootlets were distributed between two small plots; one, a raised bed measuring 18ft by 6ft and another smaller plot measuring 9ft by 6ft. Both plots received a heavy application of gypsum- 2 tons per acre equivalent. The rootlets were planted approximately 8″ apart 3″ to 5″ deep; 100 rootlets in the larger bed, 66 rootlets in the smaller plot. After planting the plots were covered with dried leaves 2″ to 3″ thick.
The spring of 2000 was the first year of growth for the fall 1999 planted crop. Emergence in this first spring was excellent, nearly 100% although not all the plants were of equal quality. Some of the plants were robust while others were spindly by comparison. I judged this difference to be due to the variable quality of the rootlet stock some of which were large and blocky with many nodes others were diminutive by comparison. There were flowers and subsequent fruit formation on the healthiest of these young plants.
In October 2002 the three year old rootlets were harvested, washed and weighed. Observations of general root health showed that some of the rootlets remained quite small. Portions of some of the larger roots were rotten. The number of roots harvested was only 47, a lost of nearly 72%. The fresh weight of the harvested roots was .85 lb also a 72% reduction in the original planting weight.