How to Plant a LOT of Trees
When you visit Prairie View Properties, it will come as no surprise that trees are near and dear to our heart. In fact, when the landscape is properly planned, trees are a must – they can protect your yard from the elements and add beauty at the same time. Part of creating the Prairie View Properties neighbourhood has been planting trees – a LOT of them! In total there are over 4000 new trees we have added to the landscape, to provide wind breaks, privacy and beauty, which total over 5 kilometers of tree rows. Thankfully we had some great advice from people and resources with experience to assist with the task, which we would like to share with you.
Steps to Successfully Establish a New Row of Trees:
1) Soil Preparation – It is important to begin preparation the fall before you want to plant the new trees. This means deciding exactly where you wish to plant the row and eliminating any grass or weeds already growing there. In some cases, this meant just tilling the soil to mulch the plants. In other cases, we were planting into a perennial grass and so needed to apply a non-selective herbicide to fully eliminate the plants and prepare the soil. We had one situation when we weren’t able to prepare the soil the fall before and it made for a lot of extra backbreaking work, as we had to do a lot of work by hand, rather than using tree planting equipment. So, do not underestimate the value of fall soil tilling.
2) Ordering Trees – Do not assume that you can simply pick up your preferred variety or species of tree in the spring. Even when we planned ahead and pre-ordered the trees, we were not always able to get what we wanted due to tree nursery production issues. Order ahead!
3) Book Equipment – While it is possible to plant and care for trees by hand, using a tree planter and plastic mulch applicator (explained below) saves a lot of hard work. Many Rural Municipalities have tree planters, which are pulled behind a tractor and are available for free or a small fee. Book ahead!
4) Have a Plan for Watering and Weeding Your Trees – The first year is the most critical for successful tree establishment. Make sure the trees are getting 1″ of water per week for every foot of height. If you are lucky, it will rain enough – as it did in 2012 for our trees. You will need to weed around the trees by hand, unless they are well spaced and you have a garden tiller. Both weeding and watering are made more simple if you apply a layer of plastic mulch over the trees after planting. The plastic is rolled on and tucked into the soil by the applicator, then you just cut small holes and pull the trees through. Using plastic mulch traps moisture and prevents weed growth – a great investment!
The best advice we got was by talking to Agroforestry Canada and a local farmer who has planted thousands of trees over his 80 year life. So, to learn from experience and others’ mistakes, don’t be afraid to ask someone who has planted lots of trees – Contact Us!