Pit planting involves digging out a pit, large enough to take the roots, and piling up the soil temporarily at the edge of the pit. After, the tree is planted and the hole is backfilled. Pit planting avoids damage to the roots and it breaks up the soil which allows the roots to spread.
T-notch planting is generally the best method of planting young bare-rooted trees. Bare-rooted trees are the best size of plant for rapid establishment. Notch planting reduces the effects of windblow which reduces the need for staking. For clay soils, Glorious Woodlands will ensure the soil has been prepared beforehand. For recently cultivated ground, tree notches will be planted so the root collar is about 2-3cm below ground level. Plants on newly made mounds will be planted a bit deeper than normal, this aims to avoid plant roots becoming exposed through soil settlement or erosion.
Stakes may be needed for taller transplants (90-120cm) in exposed positions or where stakes might prevent accidental damage or vandalism. Glorious Woodlands will place the stake on the south-west side of the tree, this allows prevailing wind to blow the tree away from the stake. Larger pit planted trees and young pit planted trees over 1.5 (or 1.4 in exposed positions) will normally require staking. Staking holds the base of the stem firmly and allows the roots to establish, but not to prevent wind sway.
Glorious Woodlands will create a weed-free 1 metre diameter circle around each planted tree. This will reduce competition for light, nutrients and water from other plants and increase the trees chance of surviving. Alternatively a strip 1 metre wide along the tree line is useful for large-planting schemes, however; this creates a less natural design. The smaller the planting site, the easier it is to keep the whole area weed free which aids rapid growth of trees and shrubs.
The first three years are vital, Glorious Woodlands will maintain the plantation by preventing and killing weeds. One of the most effective methods of preventing weeds is loose mulch, this retains soil moisture and warmth while increasing the organic matter in the soil. After the first three years, maintenance is less required as the trees can shade out other growth and produce their own mulch from leaves. However, tall weeds will still need to be maintained as they can shelter young trees which encourages the tree’s height but decreases stem diameter and root growth.
How do weeds interfere with tree growth?
Weeds use moisture from the soil through transportation, and intercept rainfall before it reaches the soil. This reduces the amount of water available to the tree. The tree responds by growing fewer and smaller leaves, which reduces photosynthesis and in turn reduces root growth. As a result, nutrient uptake is also reduced and weak growth is subject to disease. Ultimately the tree is starved of food and water, and either fails to put on growth or dies back.
Grass is the most damaging weed which affects young trees, Glorious Woodlands will manage grass to allow your woodland to flourish. Mown grass is even worse than long grass because mowing stimulates the grass to regrow, using up more soil and nutrients while producing a thick mat of turf which reduces the amount of water percolating through. Mown grass also interferes with the growth and health of mature trees. Established trees which are not flourishing can be helped into growth by killing off the grass surrounding it. When newly established trees are thinned, the increased light on the woodland floor allows grass to grow.
Physical damage can be caused from climbing or scrambling weeds such as goose grass, wild hop, bindweed, honeysuckle and bramble. Glorious Woodlands will control these weeds until the trees are physically large and strong enough to support themselves, or until shade prevents the weeds growth. Tall weeds also give shelter to voles, slugs and snails which cause damage to young trees.
Mulches are materials put on the ground to suppress weeds and retain soil moisture by lessening evaporation. Mulches can be loose materials such as bark, chipped wood or gravel. Mulches can also be sheet material which increases soil temperature which encourages early root growth in spring. Mulches are not recommended for damp ground, by preventing evaporation they increase the tendency for the ground to become waterlogged and in turn killing tree roots.
Planting should be done a few weeks after the pond is constructed, this should be sufficient time for the water to stabilise. The best time to plant is between May and June, as plants will establish quickly. Alternatively, in September and October, as pond clearance may provide a source of plants.