Cherry Trees in the Ground

Our workday last Saturday was exciting! Thanks to a donation from Botanical Concepts Garden Center we were able to get started on our permaculture food forest berm!

We put in two Bing cherry trees, a grape vine, 2 raspberries, a service berry, and 2 butterfly bushes. These plants will start to get established this fall.

The members did a great job planting the trees. It took hard work and lots of care.

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Planting Container-Grown Trees

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Step 1: Determine Depth of Planting Hole

Planting trees too deep is a common mistake that leads to the slow decline of the tree.

The top of the root ball should sit 1-2 inches above soil grade. The root ball should sit on undug soil in the hole to prevent it from sinking and tilting as it settles.

Our trees had root balls 10" tall so we dug holes 9" deep.

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Root ball is 1" above soil gradient (indicated by the level shovel handle)

Additionally, we were planting into a slope so extra steps were taken.

From CSU Extension "The Science of Planting Trees"
From CSU Extension "The Science of Planting Trees"

Step 2: Dig Saucer Shaped Planting Hole

Planting hole should be three times the diameter of root ball.

This supports rapid root regeneration by directing roots upward toward the oxygen rich soil if they are having trouble penetrating the compacted site soil.

Root ball is 10" in diameter so we dug the planting hole 30" in diameter with a saucer shape (side sloping upward and outward).
Root ball is 10" in diameter so we dug the planting hole 30" in diameter with a saucer shape (side sloping upward and outward).

Step 3: Set Tree in Place

We gently laid the tree on its side and wiggled off the container. We then cut the outer 1-1.5" to help prevent circling roots. We set the tree in place and rechecked the hole depth.

Step 4: Backfill

We filled in the hole with a mix of soil and compost (no more than 5%). No backfill goes on top of the root ball (this helps deal with soil texture interface, water tends to move around different soil textures instead of going through them). Back should reach the top of the root ball and then slope down to the soil gradient.

Figure 2.  Depth of root ball in planting hole – The top of root ball rises 1-2 inches above soil grade.  No soil is placed over top of the root ball.  Backfill soil covers the “knees” tapering downward to the original soil grade.  Root ball sits on un-dug/firmed soil to prevent sinking. (From CSU Extension "The Science of Planting Trees").
Figure 2. Depth of root ball in planting hole – The top of root ball rises 1-2 inches above soil grade. No soil is placed over top of the root ball. Backfill soil covers the “knees” tapering downward to the original soil grade. Root ball sits on un-dug/firmed soil to prevent sinking. (From CSU Extension "The Science of Planting Trees").

Step 5: Water to Settle Soil

To avoid compaction we did not tamp down the back fill. Instead we watered and allowed the soil to settle.

and...VOILA!

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Summary:

Figure 11.  Planting hole criteria to promote rapid root establishment, reducing post-planting stress. (From CSU Extension "The Science of Planting Trees")

 
Figure 11. Planting hole criteria to promote rapid root establishment, reducing post-planting stress. (From CSU Extension "The Science of Planting Trees")

The steps were taken from CSU Extension's "The Science of Planting Trees". For a more information and further detail click the link above. "The science of planting trees is aimed at promoting rapid root growth   to quickly reduce the water stress imposed by the harvest and planting  process.  Post-planting stress (transplant shock) consists of  the  stress factors induced by the reduced root system."

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Figure 11. Planting hole criteria to promote rapid root establishment, reducing post-planting stress. (From CSU Extension "The Science of Planting Trees")

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