How long can I leave 4 new emerald cedars in temporary containers

(Question)

Please help!  I have some question regarding 4 emerald cedars, I am going away for 1 week and I am worried about my new trees in plastic containers

Will these trees be okay in the containers until May 2014?
The picture below shows the high water and saturated soil due to extreme winter thaw in Collingwood backyard.                                                                                                                                                               I had to take possession of the Emerald Cedars to replace 4 that died over winter (under warranty).
Either I take them or they will be sold out at 15.00 each for a 6 ft tree in very short order.
I read planting in 1st week of May is advisable – Your Thoughts?
Do I mix some plant food in water and pour it into the containers?
Please see the photos below.

Any advise you can share would be greatly appreciated.  These are 2 separate areas in my backyard.  Trees are wet along the back where there is a french drain easement and along the side.  See the water the hole…this is from a heavy winter thaw process.

(Answer)

6′ Emerald Cedars in good health for $15 is a a fantastic price, so I understand why you grabbed them before they dissapeared!

Nurseries grow their stock either in the field or directly in containers.  Either way, nurseries take good care of reducing plant shock by stabilizing plants before shipping to retail stores.  Plants can survive in these containers for many weeks if they have adequate moisture but they will eventually need more soil exposure for root growth.

I suggest you place your new evergreens in a shady location where they are not exposed to the elements (wind or sun scalding), but can still receive enough rain until you are ready to plant.  What can really damage container stock is lack of moisture (water), so it may be wise to arrange for a family member, friend, or neighbour to come over and water these four trees while you are away if there is little rainfall forcast.  There is no need to feed these trees until they have been planted.

In terms of planting, there is no magic date.  It very much depends on the soil conditions on your property.  Obviously, the ground needs to be workable and not saturated as in your photo.  You also do not want to step too much around the wet soil as it will cause compaction, and this lack of air affects the good structure of your soil.  However, the sooner you plant them, under the right soil conditions, the sooner they will start to grow.  When digging a hole, make it twice as wide as the container.

Best of luck with your planting and enjoy the spring!