Planting the food forest – part 1

The first 33 fruit and nut trees are in – apples, pears, plums, green gages, mirabelles, quince, cherries and sweet chestnut. They arrived mostly as bare rooted trees and we started planting the next day. It took two days in total between two people.

Firstly we prepared everything we needed:

33 tree stakes
1m x 1m cardboard squares
1 tonne of wood chip for mulch
33 tree ties
Pickaxe and spade

Referring to our earlier plan, we laid out the trees across the site where they were to be planted. Then we used the pickaxe to break the turf and lift a section away for each tree and used the spade to dig a hole big enough to take the root ball. We placed a tree into each hole taking into account where south was and the prevailing wind. Any damage branches were removed with a sharp knife.

We hammered in a tree stake near to the trunk and the holes were then filled back in and the soil firmed down. Next we added a tie between the tree and the stake to prevent the tree from breaking in stone winds.

The area underneath each tree was covered in the 1m x 1m cardboard and then spread with wood chip to suppress the grass. Lastly we added a protective cover to the lower 2m of trunk to deter rabbits.

These fruit and nut trees will need pruning into our preferred shape over the next couple of years, and we should be able to begin harvesting within 3-5 years.

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