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Planting A Tree: Part One ~ by WoodlandsTV

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In the first part of this two part tutorial Richard Scholfield shows us how to plant a tree properly.


Richard Scholfield: I'm Richard Scholfield. At www.woodlands.co.uk we've planted trees in bulk for the last 20 years or so. We're just going to plant a few more today.

Richard: Today we're going to talk a little bit about tree planting. We talk about tree planting on a woodland scale or forestry scale as opposed to amenity planting. We're just going to plant this corner up. So we're going to plant one or two trees today just to look at how we might do it and some of the factors. First, you need to order your trees quite early in the season. The season's from October to early March. That's when the trees are dormant. So the plants we're using are about two or three years old. They've been grown in the nursery from seed. They're undercut in the nursery. They've taken great care to produce best quality plants. So, we need to look after them. Good root structure. Bare earth. Don't use container-grown pots. Don't want them too big because the bigger they are, the bigger the shock.

If we talk generally about some of the problems of planting, there are lots of mammals for whom this is really nice food. Voles will eat the bottom. Rabbits will eat the stem. Hares will come and pinch out the tops. And the various different sizes of deer, from the monk jack up to red deer will try and eat it as well. A newly planted tree is a point of interest for them. So, we have to think about protecting them.

When you get them from the nursery, they would come in a black and white bag. It's black inside, so light doesn't go through it and it's white outside, so it reflects the light, because you must keep the plants cool. You never want them to heat up in the sunlight. You don't want the plants to dry out because, as I said, the nurseries have spent a lot of time growing a nice tree. It's quite a stressful situation, transplanting. So, you must keep them covered. When you get them from the nursery, you get a big bundle. You can heel them in under something like bark or you can dig a nice trench in the ground and heel them into soil, temporarily. Then they're safe for several weeks, while you're doing your planting.

Right. It's a perfect day for planting. It's still, it's overcast, it's quite moist. So, what we do first of all in this sort of situation is just take off a bit of the turf. We plant in a slot and we make the slot with the spade, quite a nice strong spade. Pull it out. Push it back and drop the plant in behind the spade, being careful not to damage the bark. Plant it at the right height, that's the same height it was growing in the nursery, and then, just with your heel, consolidate it. Now it needs to be tight, because this is clay soil and clay in the summer, if there's any fault in the soil there, it will open up and the air will get in and the plant will dry out.

How many to plant? Well, the minimum for broad leaf trees is three meter centers. So, you'd have the next tree three meters out there and the next tree three meters out there and one three meters out here. But actually I prefer to do a slightly denser planting than that, say two meters within the row and then rows three meters apart. That just gives you more trees later on to select from when you're doing a bit of thinning.

Richard: Right. Next we need to add the tree protection. This is what's commonly known as a tree spat. The mulch will increase the survival rate so you get more trees surviving.

Posted in: Skills, Trees ~ On: 15 August, 2009

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