Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Grafted Fruit Tree Planting Part 3: Top Dress and Mulch!

Follow our three part photo essay on grafted fruit tree planting.
Part 3: Top Dress and Mulch!
A newly planted tree should be watered approximately once every 3-4 days during the first growing season. This is best done by soaking the tree canopy drip zone using a sprinkler or due to area or budget constraints by filling a temporary water basin. Build the walls of your watering basin above the surrounding soil level about 5"-6" (photo).
Watering basin walls should rise above the surrounding soil level. The soil level within the basin walls should be level with the surrounding ground (photo).

This will protect the trees trunk from becoming buried over time if the basin should fill in.  After backfilling hole with native soil and making the water basin apply Earth Magic to the soil surface within the basin (photo).
Earth Magic (TerraPro)  is a concentrated humus product that contains a broad spectrum of beneficial soil microorganisms, including mycorrhizae fungi, and a high percentage of Humic Acids. Humic Acids help soils retain water and mineral nutrients and also helps to build soil structure.
Next apply Protein Crumblies  (photo).
Protein Crumblies is a source of nutritional calories for feeding the soil microorganisms found in Earth Magic as well as your soil. Protein Crumblies also provides a source of slow release nitrogen for both soil microorganisms as well as plants.
To learn more about Earth Magic and Protein Crumblies (photo) as well as Humic Acids and Mycorrhizae Fungi please visit the Soil Secrets Website.

After Earth Magic and Protein Crumblies application, cover with organic mulch like wood chips, pine needles, or pecan shells. Mulch acts as an insulator keeping the ground cooler, retaining moisture, and suppressing weeds. Optimum Tree Growth will occur if you mulch the tree canopy drip zone or basin with organics or wood chips to a depth of 4 to 6 inches. After mulching, fill the basin with water (photo).
At planting give your tree a good soaking (photo).

Depending upon planting season watering requirements will differ. Generally in summer water about every 2-4 days and in winter about once every 3-4 weeks. Winter watering is limited to keeping the soil moist enough to prevent roots from drying out. Print a copy of our complete tree and shrub care guide which includes how to water, feed, prune, and stake at the following link: Tree and Shrub Care Guide
Written by:
Stephen Sain
Staff Plant Physiologist

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