While it may seem evident on how to plant a tree, it can make a huge difference long term subject to the way you plant it in the first place – The difference between a tree that lives for 15 years, to a tree that lives to potentially over 200 years (depending on the tree).
First, we need to dig a hole. The size of the whole should roughly be double the size of the pot thee tree comes in. There are lots of discussions on the shape of the hole, but I prefer using a square (click here to discover why).
When we have finished the hole, we need to scarify the edges. When the shovel slides into the soil, it can create a compact layer which can inhibit the roots from spreading beyond that layer, so scarifying will break open that compaction.
We then fill the hole with water and allow it to drain. We do this for several purposes. First is to saturate the surrounding soil so that the roots will not come into contact with dry dirt. The second is to measure how long it takes for the water to drain showing us how often we may need to water the new tree – free-draining potentially more, clay-heavy potentially less.
Once the hole is ready, it is time to see to the needs of the plant. We fill up a 20L bucket with water and add a ‘blob’ of molasses and liquid fish and liquid kelp. We place the tree, pot and all into this mixture for approx. 20 minutes. The combination will help reduce the shock the tree will go through during transplanting, and the molasses and liquid fish/kelp are bacteria & fungal food, which will aid in its long term resilience.
Now it is time to plant! Well, not quite. One step I always do is I add a small amount of microbial powder to the bottom of the hole before planting. This powder has eight difference fungal strands and four different bacteria and will create an instant microbial relationship with the tree. By something as simple as adding the powder it can increase the root growth relationship by up to 700% in the first three months. This growth will aid in the trees long term resilience and prosperity.
You do not have to add the powder. It is quite expensive but for me with the number of plantings I do makes it well worth the expense.
Now we do put the tree in the hole. A simple process of taking it out of the pot, then gently spreading the tree roots and then back-filling into the hole, without going over to collar of the tree.
Once in the ground, we now use the remaining water/molasses/liquid fish/kelp mix to water the tree.
Using the patterns of a forest, we fertilise from the top down. Applying rock minerals, compost and then finally mulch. Two-year-old aged wood-chip is best, though sugar cane mulch will work well too.
It usually takes me 20 minutes or so to plant a tree. Not a long time in the scheme of things but as I said, in the beginning, can make a difference between a tree living 15 years to much much longer, living a happy and healthy life.
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