Last week I was having SO much fun running around in jean shorts and tank tops–Hoping no one would notice my white legs. Hey, off the subject, but I’m SO fair that when I bust a zipper on tight jeans, it’s like popping open a can of refrigerator biscuits. Soft, white blobs!! Sorry that’s definitely TMI!! teehee
The last three or four days, I’ve gone out in sweats and a jacket to water my newly planted trees.
Numero Uno rule for newly planted trees- – -try to float them out of the ground the first year. Water, water, water. So every morning I change the water on the new trees. I let the hose run at a trickle and leave it on each tree for several hours, sometimes overnight. It not only soaks the tree, but the ground around it and that invites those baby roots to shoot out and explore into the distant universes, uh soil that is.
Since Joe and I are fortunate enough to have a “toy” to help dig our holes, it makes it a LOT faster. Before we got “Johnny” we did it the old fashioned way–with shovels. But when we moved into the middle of the alfalfa patch, we knew we’d need a lot of help, and Johnny is our man!
WARNING: with no rain for 4 months, we didn’t realize just how hard the soil was, so right at the beginning we BURIED the post hole digger. Just knowing we had done something terribly wrong, we told NO ONE and proceeded to DIG it out with shovels. That digger is 4 feet long, and we dug all of 3.5 feet down and around it. Talk about a honkin’ big hole!!! Anyway, we found out the next day that is a common problem and now have some hints to get it out without all of that digging or just unhooking it and leaving it there for a yard ornament. Contact me if you have this problem before I post about it.
After the three holes are dug, we clean out the hole. I use a shovel because that’s what works for me. Joe prefers post hole diggers. I think it’s a guy thing. Maybe post hole diggers are just more manly than shovels!
To determine how deep to make the hole, I measure with my shovel. Remember you want the base of the potted dirt even with or slightly above the soil line. Otherwise, dirt will cover the base of the tree and cause rot or insect damage.
Now, I put something across the hole to make sure the hole is deep enough. It’s hard to guess when all of that soil is everywhere so a somewhat level object helps see the soil line.
WAIT WAIT WAIT. Take that tree out of the hole and using a sharp knife, slice the side of the rootball in three different places, vertically, not deep. That cuts the roots running AROUND the rootball and allows them to seek new territory and not continue to run in a circle. If the tree is terribly root bound you might want to slice an “X” in the bottom of the rootball. Don’t worry, it won’t kill your tree, but will definite help it.
Now, I fill around the edges with soil, but am careful not to build soil up around the roots. It’s usually so dry here, I sometimes make a ridge around the outer edges of the hole so it can hold more water instead of running out into the grass or garden.
Happy tree planting.