Grass and weeds should be removed from the planting site prior to planting either by physical stripping of each pit site. If the site is compacted, a pit wider than the spread of the tree roots and deep enough to break through the compacted pan should be dug immediately prior to planting. Pits dug in advance fill with water and thereby causes damage to the soil structure. If soil structure is good, disturbance during planting should be minimised and a system similar to forestry ‘notch' planting used with small trees. The only soil improvement should consist of relieving compaction and removing large stones. No organic material should be dug in. A slow release fertiliser may be useful in the backfill on poor soils.
PLANTING SMALL TO MEDIUM SIZED TREES
Field or container grown trees up to 6-7 feet (1.8-2.1 metres) tall can be successfully established without staking. The tree should be firmly planted about 1-2 inches (4-5 cm) below its previous level in soil or pot. If the top growth is dense and out of proportion with the roots, thin out the head to reduce wind resistance. It is generally inadvisable to cut the dominant central ‘leader'. On windy sites don't stake! Plant smaller trees.
PLANTING LARGE TREES
In certain situations it is necessary to plant large ‘standard' or ‘heavy standard' trees. They have to be staked to anchor the roots whilst they establish. These should be short stakes that protrude no more than 12 inches (30 cm) above ground. The stem must be allowed to sway in the wind to strengthen it and encourage the roots to spread. Tall staking stops this. The short stakes should be in place for one growing season and then removed.
Fruit trees should be planted with the union above ground to stop the scion variety making its own roots.
POST PLANTING TREATMENT
An area of at least 3 feet (1 m) diameter should be kept weed free for 2-3 years minimum. This can be achieved with a mulch or organic material or polythene or a mulch mat. An application of manure around the tree can be beneficial, particularly in the second season after planting.
GUARDING YOUNG TREES
In many situations, particularly domestic gardens, no form of guard is necessary. A plastic spiral guard should be used if rabbits are a threat. The presence of hare of deer will require a taller ‘tree tube', up to 6 feet (1.8 m) tall to ward off Red Deer . Remember that newly planted trees may prove attractive to domestic livestock. Therefore, check boundary fences. A couple of sheep or bullocks overnight can cause immense damage.
VARIETIES LESS PRONE TO PEST AND DISEASE ATTACK
Winter Gem - Blenheim Orange - Ellison's Orange - Jumbo - Scrumptious
STOCKISTS AND SUPPLIERS
Frank P Matthews Ltd
VARIETIES PLANTED AT UPPER WILTING FARM, FEBRUARY 2009
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