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Planting trees question

 
Richard Gorny
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Location: Poland, zone 5
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I'm planning to plant n-fixers trees as a start to establish small food forest on a sandy hill, that faces south. I have read about several ways to do that and I'm confused:

- some people recommend to fill the hole with good soil, some warn against that, claiming that in such cases roots will not be "motivated" to penetrate native soil
- some bury wood hugelkultur style around future drip line, some put wood straight under the tree

What would be the best way to prepare a tree hole, to give species like Elaeagnus angustifolia, Robinia pseudoacacia, Sophora japonica and Caragana arborescens best chance to survive? I will be able to water these trees once a week at the most.

I have a lot of wood chips for a mulch, however, shall I keep mulch away from a tree trunk to avoid diseases?
 
Paul Cereghino
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Location: South Puget Sound, Salish Sea, Cascadia, North America
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Best arborist practice says ammend the site, and then plant the tree in native soil. With mulch once a week will be MORE than enough. I tend to allow for some real dry down toward the end of the summer to encourage downward growth of roots. The tea-cup effect (where roots circle the hole rather then venturing into native soil) will be reduced because sandy soil doesn't provide teh impediment to root extension that clay soil does.

Putting to much organic matter in or under the tree is risky, because the organic matter will subside as it decays, lowering the crown of the tree.

I just avoid burying the crown in wood chips (although many species don't mind, and just form adventitious roots). Unless I have a vole problem, that is all I worry about.

Some of the trees you suggest are so robust that I wouldn't worry to much.

Finally - smaller stock will typically establish faster with less watering and transplant stock (if you can control competition), so buying big trees doesn't necessarily help.

Good luck.
 
Debra Snook
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Location: Southwest Kansas zone 6b
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Great list of trees.. .. I have an already planted apricot row..
how far away would you suggest to plant near them.. ( or near existing garden plot)

Thanks.. D Snook
 
Richard Gorny
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Paul Cereghino wrote:Best arborist practice says ammend the site.


Many thanks Paul, this is very helpful. Can you please elaborate on amending the site? What it takes, removing grass cover, what else?

As to tree size, they will be all around 2 feet tall (give or take few inches), so hopefully good size to plant.

For these species, how far these should be planted from each other? I hope to be able to plant some fruit trees between them in a near future.
 
Dave Jacke
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I agree with Paul's response, Richard.

dave j.
 
dj niels
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Location: CO; semi-arid: 10-12"; 6000 ft
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How do I deal with a vole problem in tree plantings? last year they hollowed out or otherwise damaged a lot of the potatoes and carrots I grew. I would not like for them to destroy all my baby trees too.
 
Paul Cereghino
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In my mind amending the site might revolve around two questions... 1) are you missing specific nutrients due to parent material or climate? 2) Are you concerned about overall site fertility. Since you are planting pioneers, I suspect you might be trying to build carbon and nitrogen reserves (organic matter based fertility) biologically rather than by importing organic materials. Consider other soil builders like clover and lupine from seed and tap rooted species to round out your soil building hosts. Sandy soil can be leached and very low in cations, nutrients and acidic in a humid climate. If you are working toward food production I would consider a rock powder application... a mix of agricultural lime and dolomite lime 3:2 to balance calcium and magnesium at minimum. Greensand or kelp meal or granite dust for micronutrients and potassium. Maybe some phosphate source, either manure or rock. Otherwise it will take time to build up these nutrient reserves.

If you want them all to coexist over time, I'd consider mature width in spacing. If you are planning on harvesting the n-fixers, then space the fruit trees based on mature size, and interplant the nurse trees. Or some combination of the two. Keep the nurse trees to the north as they will grow faster and might shade out fruit trees. Some people around here plant them in the same hole, and keep hacking back the n-fixer until it dies. Processing wood takes work.

https://www.permies.com/t/15706/permaculture/Managing-flow-wood-brainstorm#190330
 
Scott Turner
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Interested in the vole problem answer as well, bone salve perhaps?
 
Richard Gorny
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I do have clover, lupine and buckwheat seeds ready to use. I do have rockdust as well. I'm raising mullein seedlings too. I hope these will help a bit, if only they will grow in my sand. So far, only some grass thrives there, few pine seedlins, and nice patch of heather.
 
Paul Cereghino
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Common practice is plastic tree protection tubes, which may violate 'obtain a yield', 'produce no waste' and 'integrate rather than segregate' principles. Many suggest predation (owls, cats, snakes) combined with reducing cover--but I'd suspect that population flux among voles is part of the game. Certainly grazing would compete with the vole food source, while obtaining yield, integrating, and reducing cover, but there is risk of damage to plants. I wish I could test the bone salve (but I don't have any spare cauldrens lying around).
 
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