I have a lot of bare root trees leftover from Fall 2019 seed propagation. These are seedlings which first emerged in Spring 2020 and now are entering their second year of growth. They are mostly small (<12 inch) red oaks and hazels. Most I grew are already in permanent homes, but I still have many leftovers. These will be planted now in Spring 2021.
These seedlings have been uplifted from their air prune beds in Fall 2020 and have been stored in pots of sawdust kept wet and in shade, as they are now. At this point, most of these seedlings have started to leaf out, some even started a week or two ago and now have small leaves!
The place I have to plant these trees is in zone 5 and is a long drive from me, and I won't be able to plant them there until another 2 weeks from now. Once they are planted, I will only be around for a few days before leaving the area. I have friends who can help keep them watered to some extent but it is not their project and I don't know how much I can lean on them for that.
What can I do to minimize harm to these leafed-out trees being transplanted? Thankfully they all have good root systems from the air prune bed and being stored bare root, so they are not being planted with major root loss. Still, I realize they will be extra vulnerable to wilting because they have leaves already and their roots will just be getting settled into new soil and regrowing fine feeder roots.
Where they are being planted will be in small hand-dug mounds that are a few inches higher than the surrounding ground, in silty clay soil in a meadow. It is a challenging site for new trees as-is. There is surface water nearby they can be watered with via buckets, but again I won't be there and am not sure how much help I can get with others doing bucket-based watering. I have lots of mulch so I will give them each a very thick donut of mulch to insulate them.