Sunday, November 20, 2016

Fall Tree Planting Part 2

We added six fruit trees to the eastern walkway this fall.  First we designed the layout.  In this picture, the proposed locations of the trees and benches are marked with yellow stakes.
Marking the locations like this made it easier to check the overhead clearance (both now and when that mesquite is fully grown) and to check the sun exposure (for all four seasons).  The mulberry, curry leaf, and plum will get the full sun they like for three seasons, and the plum (a Burgundy, which may grow up to 30 ft tall) has plenty of headroom.  The avocado and guava will get partial shade in summer, and we located the apple where cold air will sink in winter.  By the time the picture above was taken, we had cleared away the rock and grass.  The plan included a berm around the trees on north side of the sidewalk (in the foreground of the picture).  The berm isn't for irrigation (all six trees will be drip-watered), but just to keep the mulch from scattering.  The whole section of yard on the south side is already mulched, so no need for a berm on that side.
After clearing the rock and grass, the next step was to run irrigation tubing on the north side.  Once that was in place, we dug the six holes. 
Half of the dirt from the holes was used to build the berm (and this is why we ran the tubing on the north side first, so it would lie under the berm).  The other half of the dirt was mixed with some compost that has been aging since this spring.
Look at the beautiful black compost in that shovel.  Kitchen scraps, fallen leaves, and shredded junk mail.  This mixture is for backfilling around the trees once they're in place.
We dug the holes twice as wide as the pots and placed all six trees (pot and all) in their holes for a final visual check and some minor adjustments.

After running the irrigation tubing on the other side of the sidewalk, we popped the trees out of their pots and filled the holes with the dirt / compost mix.
Then we spread mulch and set up each of the trees with a set of drippers "tuned" for the size of its root zone.  The tallest ones (the apple and the plum) have 3 drippers @ 4 gal/hr; the medium ones (the mulberry and avocado) have 3 drippers @ 2 gal/hr; and the small shrubby ones (the curry leaf and the guava) have 4 drippers @ 1/2 gal/hr.We left crucial parts of the drip system unburied until we were ready to test it out.
And that's all for today.  Now these trees are ready to spread some roots and rest up for the spring.

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