Did you realize you could plant trees without digging holes?
Sam Singleton at Scrubland Farmz shared this on his Facebook page:
“Wanted to share our go-to method of planting trees. This is just one method but has worked out extremely well for us. I started doing it this way when I was planting under oaks a few years ago and had the worst time digging through the oak root system. Then I thought to myself why am I working so hard at this? The roots were insane.
Why not just put it on top and the roots will find their way down?
And that’s exactly what happened. They are thriving under there now. Come to find out it works everywhere for me and no digging. I love this.
What I found out was, I was healing the ground underneath the cardboard so by the time the roots did break through the soil was starting to heal and the roots didn’t go into shock. The earthworms were there and had prepared the soil for roots. We rang the dinner bell and they came. This also helped with needing well drawing soil which all plants and trees need.
The only issue I can see doing this method was possible wind issues. Easy enough to fix with rebar or plant stake but honestly in 3 years I have not had the issue I thought I would but food for thought if you’re in a high wind area.
If you try this, my advice would be get a really good aged compost from a source you trust, if they have used any persistent herbicides avoid using.
Next use a lot of it, don’t be afraid to pile it up all around it.
Then cover heavily with mulch.
Just make sure to feed and water regularly according to the tree’s needs. Again, your area is probably different from mine and might require something different, but something to play around with. Also this can be a little more advanced depending on your compost. Make sure it’s not too compacted, if so you might need to amend with sand, perlite, char etc to allow for free flowing.
Good luck, I hope you have as much luck with it as I have.”
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Sam is making lasagna gardens for trees, basically. Sheet mulching them in, rather than digging.
I love the idea. The biggest issue is finding compost that hasn’t been contaminated with Grazon or an equivalent.
You might have to just make your own, or use some fill dirt to pile up before mulching.
We’ll have to try this in our yard. We’ve done similar things with perennials, herbs and small transplants – why not trees?