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My new tree planting method

 
pollinator
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A 4x4ft area cleared about 6 inches deep. Stomping on the shovel with both feet gets you this deep. I weigh 205#
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Todd Parr
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Coffee grounds, and then a layer of Azomite.
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Todd Parr
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I was hot and tired of taking pictures by then. I broadforked the area, and then put some worm casting compost mix, some top soil, and planted the tree. I plant pretty high here because I'm all too aware of the fact that this soil can make a clay swimming pool if you aren't careful. Then I covered the area with pretty well composted wood chips. I planted 9 comfrey plants around the perimeter, mixed up some pea inoculant and planted peas around every comfrey plant, and beans around the tree and all the support posts. After that I put a light layer of wood chips, and put n my rubber roofing DMZ. I'm going to broadcast feverfew and a few other things just to see what happens. After my rubber DMZ kills off all the weeds around the area, I'll put in jostaberry, gooseberry, autumn olive, maybe some others. This fall will be a heavy ring of daffodils. The finished product:

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You don't have a surplus of heavy clay, Todd, you have a deficiency of buildings that need to be built from cob! Just like I don't have a gravel surplus, I have a deficiency of buildings that need to be built from rammed earth.

I would definitely recommend planting some daikon (aka "oriental") radish around your apple trees in order to punch some holes into that clay and fill it with the rotting remains of the radishes.
 
Todd Parr
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Jason Silberschneider wrote:You don't have a surplus of heavy clay, Todd, you have a deficiency of buildings that need to be built from cob! Just like I don't have a gravel surplus, I have a deficiency of buildings that need to be built from rammed earth.

I would definitely recommend planting some daikon (aka "oriental") radish around your apple trees in order to punch some holes into that clay and fill it with the rotting remains of the radishes.



I forgot those Jason. I buy the seeds 20lbs at a time and plant them in all my new gardens in the first fall they are in. I generally leave sheets of rubber down for months, and as soon as I remove it, I put in the tillage radish. I love what they do for the soil. The only drawback is the smell when they thaw in the spring. Ugh I haven't planted them directly around my trees up to this point, but that is a great idea. I'll definitely put those in this fall, both around the trees and in the DMZ when I remove the rubber.

You're right about the cob. I have the kind of clay that, if the slightest bit damp, makes your shoes gain roughly a pound per step thru it If I cut my sod out in squares when I plant, I could build a wall directly from them.
 
Todd Parr
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Follow up 19 days later. All the comfrey is growing well, peas are pretty big, and the first beans have come up. This is the first real warm weather we have had, I expect more beans will be up in the next couple of days.

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Hi Todd.
I don't know if you have any experience with growing Comfrey or not...It grows unbelievably fast. I planted 10 2" pieces of Comfrey root 3 feet apart. Within about 6 months, they had grown to waist height. This is the second year for the Comfrey and it is now chest high and forming a nice border. So, I guess my suggestion would be to scale-back a bit on the amount of Comfrey you plant in each hole. It might out-compete whatever you're trying to grow. You can always plant more later if you need to
 
Jason Silberschneider
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Not to be outdone, I hobbled out (broken ankle) to my mandarin tree with my camera to do a coincidently 1-month update.

Now is currently southern fall, going into winter. The picture shows good healthy growth from my seedmix, particularly the beans and lupins. Now sign of comfrey yet, they may like the warmer weather.

Just a caveat here: Southern winter in my area means most days will be a maximum of 10-16 degrees centigrade! Nothing extreme about our winters. A frost may occur once or twice a year, and people talk about it! Winters of '14 and '15 actually didn't have a frost day.
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Todd Parr
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John Duffy wrote:Hi Todd.
I don't know if you have any experience with growing Comfrey or not...It grows unbelievably fast. I planted 10 2" pieces of Comfrey root 3 feet apart. Within about 6 months, they had grown to waist height. This is the second year for the Comfrey and it is now chest high and forming a nice border. So, I guess my suggestion would be to scale-back a bit on the amount of Comfrey you plant in each hole. It might out-compete whatever you're trying to grow. You can always plant more later if you need to



Hi John. I have comfrey growing many places on my property. It's my favorite plant. You're right about it's crazy fast growth rate, and that is part of the reason I plant so much of it. I don't worry about it out-competing my trees and other plants, I just cut it back a lot and drop it around the newer ones. I have other areas where my trees are more established and in those areas, I let the comfrey flower. The bumblebees love it. Truth be told, I would like to have an acre or so of it

Jason, thanks for the picture. It looks like everything is growing well. I envy you your winters
 
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Hello folks!  I planted a little comfrey plant that I got at a plant sale.  Then the missus said "I weed out something like that all the time".  So she's been letting the "weeds" grow and I'm wondering if it's really comfrey.  
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It could also be Foxglove, the two look VERY similar at that stage.
 
Mike Jay Haasl
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Thanks Kyrt, how big does it have to be before the difference becomes more obvious?  And how would I tell them apart?  I do have larger ones in the orchard that I could inspect more closely.
 
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Mike,

It looks like comfrey to me.  
 
Marco Banks
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Just found this video: apple trees and comfrey.

Interesting.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_5YnkOw_aQ
 
Todd Parr
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I haven't taken pictures yet, but I wanted to post an update.  The apple tree that I planted with the comfrey and peas around it is doing the worst of the three I planted by far.  I planted two in my heavy clay soil without amendments and both are doing well.  One of them was bitten off by a rabbit at about 5 inches above the ground, had no leaves at all, and has recovered well and is fully leafed out.  The other was spared by the rabbits and has also leafed out and is growing well.  The tree I planted with the other plants has no new leaves and the existing leaves are yellow and look dead.  I expected that; that old leaves nearly always die and fall off when I transplant a tree.  The only sign of life on the tree at all is the beginning of a couple leaves at the very top of the tree about 1/8 inch long.  They came on about couple of weeks ago and since have shown no growth at all.  I'm going to wait it out and see what happens, but to say I haven't seen a positive impact is an understatement.
 
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i put a couple comfrey around my trees with a 3in. mulch of coarse hardwood sawdust. i mix in some wine cap mushroom mycelium from my mushroom beds into the sawdust. the mycelium breaks down the sawdust into nice compost and by summers end you have nice big edible mushrooms to eat! to keep them coming every year just top dress with more fresh sawdust with a little composted manure. works great and the trees grow like mad!
 
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Interesting the difference in the trees.  I wonder if it is competition from the other plants or something else?

Mike - your "comfrey" plant looks suspiciously like burdock to me.
 
steve bossie
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they do look like burdock when they're small but as they grow bigger the leaves get darker and longer than burdock.
 
steve bossie
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Mike Jay wrote:Hello folks!  I planted a little comfrey plant that I got at a plant sale.  Then the missus said "I weed out something like that all the time".  So she's been letting the "weeds" grow and I'm wondering if it's really comfrey.  

a re there little hairs under the leaf? burdock doesn't have that.
 
steve bossie
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Todd Parr wrote:I haven't taken pictures yet, but I wanted to post an update.  The apple tree that I planted with the comfrey and peas around it is doing the worst of the three I planted by far.  I planted two in my heavy clay soil without amendments and both are doing well.  One of them was bitten off by a rabbit at about 5 inches above the ground, had no leaves at all, and has recovered well and is fully leafed out.  The other was spared by the rabbits and has also leafed out and is growing well.  The tree I planted with the other plants has no new leaves and the existing leaves are yellow and look dead.  I expected that; that old leaves nearly always die and fall off when I transplant a tree.  The only sign of life on the tree at all is the beginning of a couple leaves at the very top of the tree about 1/8 inch long.  They came on about couple of weeks ago and since have shown no growth at all.  I'm going to wait it out and see what happens, but to say I haven't seen a positive impact is an understatement.

tod , make sure you amend with a lot of good compost as the comfrey and apple tree are heavy feeders. if there isn't enough slow release nitrogen the comfrey and apple will yellow and die or at best, they will stunt. made this mistake myself. place i got my comfrey told me they love lots of nitrogen but use a slow release variety like compost.
 
Mike Jay Haasl
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steve bossie wrote:

Mike Jay wrote:Hello folks!  I planted a little comfrey plant that I got at a plant sale.  Then the missus said "I weed out something like that all the time".  So she's been letting the "weeds" grow and I'm wondering if it's really comfrey.  

a re there little hairs under the leaf? burdock doesn't have that.



I just checked and there are extremely little white fuzzy hairs under the leaves.  Kinda like peach fuzz.  The stem is fuzzy like a peach and on the biggest "comfrey/burdock" there are tiny hairs on the top of the leaves as well.  Do those little hairs sound like what you're talking about?  My biggest mystery plant has 14" long leaves to give you an idea of its size.  Thanks Steve!
 
steve bossie
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yep thats comfrey! you'll notice as the leaves get bigger they are longer and slimmer with a darker color than burdock. with a shorter stem also. once established they grow like the most vigorous weed ever! need lots of nitrogen to get those results but after the 1st year the leaves you harvest are more than enough to fertilize them and a doz. more!
 
steve bossie
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also my biggest plant is over 5ft. wide and its only its second year!
 
Mike Jay Haasl
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Woo Hoo!  Thanks Steve!  Then I have 50 free comfrey plants growing in my garden/orchard.  Yay Mother Nature
 
steve bossie
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congradulations mike ! its a baby comfrey!
 
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