La Saladou

Educational Ecological Site… in the making

November 17, 2013
by Jasper Willemse
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Hi there! This is the first of a new series of Hilary’s “How to…” hands on garden tips & tricks. We’re kicking off with: planting an apple tree!

Take it away Hil!

Hello folks, I’ve planted a starking apple tree this week, I

mulched it with material from the oak forest floor…..

planting tree 1

Plus a little manure….

Planting tree 2

Plus some soaked cardboard….

Planting tree 3

Ad on top, more forest floor litter.

Planting tree 4

I banked up the soil on the downward slope side in order to retain rainwater for longer….

planting tree 5

Time to stop for lunch!

planting tree 6

The trees are planted on contour but I’m checking here in order to dig a small swale behind the tree. This will allow rainwater to soak in above the tree and so there will be less or no need to water it.

planting tree 7

Digging the little swale on contour means the water won’t slosh out one end – permaculture is all about keeping water on your land as long as possible. Sinking it and spreading it is the key, making it work for you. Unfortunately we don’t have any big machinery (yet) otherwise a long swale running behind a whole row of trees would be good. But these small ones will do the trick for now.

planting tree 8

This picture shows the position of the swale above the tree. You keep the slope nearest the tree very gentle and the soil loose and soft

planting tree 9

I like to fill Swales with absorbent materials which will soak up the rain and release it to the tree more slowly. The rotting wood and cardboard mix, plus a small sprinkling of manure will also feed nutrients slowly to the tree. The rotting wood increases the fungal action near the tree which is the soil condition trees love best.

planting tree 10

Finally I cover the ground around the tree and the swale with hay cut in the orchard. This was another piece of advice from our permaculture design course – wherever possible, use materials close to hand. Good luck little tree.

planting tree 11