Tomorrow is a big day, as with a bit of luck, I’ll be finishing off the bulk of this season’s tree planting, with a bit of help. I have 500 Italian Alder, 100 Hazel, and 50 Cornelian Cherry to plant.
Whilst it would have taken me about two weeks to get this amount of trees in, I asked for help, and it looks like I’ve got about a dozen people, some of whom I’ve never met, coming to give me a hand. This batch of trees will finish the framework of my firewood/bee forage planting, and I will be adding the overstorey trees next Autumn, once these have established, and prepared the way. There will still be some trees to plant, but these are all seed grown trees, that I’ve grown myself, and they can go out a bit later.
We’ll be pre soaking the whips in a solution of molasses, liquid humates, seaweed, and compost tea, dipping them into a gel mix, containing mycorrhizal fungi, and adding a tree planting compost to the planting hole before planting. The molasses is my attempt to start the build up of microbes before the plant comes into leaf. Normally the plant would exude sugars from the roots to do this, but I’m expecting the molasses to do the same job, as that’s what I use to do a smilar job when I’m making Compost Tea. The humates and seaweed provide essential foods.
We’ll be adding leaf mould, and wood trimmings as a surface mulch afterwards. This should get them off to the best possible start, and create the ideal conditions for planting the overstorey trees in October, by getting the fungal associations started quickly, and adding food for the fungi. This is my attempt to change the ratio of fungi to bacteria from 1/1 in the pasture, to a fungally dominated soil, which is what the trees prefer. There isn’t enough of this to suppress the grass, but it should help, and I’ll be adding to the mulch throughout the year, using wood shavings from the kennels, and the chicken hutches, and any woody prunings that I can get my hands on. These trees will help of course, shedding leaves in the Autumn, and by the annual loss of roots that accompanies this leaf drop.
What will be interesting for me, is to compare how these trees establish, compared to earlier tree plantings, that were carried out without quite such thorough preparation.
If time and weather allow, I’ll post some pictures of the work going on, and the end result, early next week.