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Re: [nafex] Re: hole digging

Del, my first tree planter was nothing more than a middle buster shovel
which opened a furrow 8" wide at the bottom and 4 -- 5 inches deep, followed
by cover discs that pulled the soil back into the furrow.  With it I have
planted 6 foot apple trees.  I like the wide bottom for it places the roots
on a solid base that may wick moisture up from below.  We have planted
several thousand trees with this machine with near 100% survival.  On a
smaller basis I think one could use a middle buster by itself to open  a
furrow.  Have one person place the trees  and a second one fill in the
furrow using a hoe. It helps if the soil was worked up the previous fall but
I have also rototilled  the seedbed a week before planting just to get some

You are right, working wet clay soil is the best way to make bricks, not to

Planting in a slot doesn't seem to affect tree survival or growth as long as
the roots are not twisted around the trunk at planting. When that happens
the tree is slowly strangled as the roots grow. We usually have commercial
crops within 4--5 years using tree planters. Most of the commercial growers
I know use tree planters, but then they are also planting medium to high
density orchards.  When properly set up one can plant trees at the rate of
one every ten seconds using a tree planter.  Digging holes is much less

One hundred and twenty years ago the commercial growers in southern Illinois
seriously discussed placing trees on top of the ground and piling soil on
their roots as a measure to prevent collar rot.  I don't know how many
actually did it. We have planted many of our orchards on ridges for the same
reason.  Ridges provide good drainage from around the base of the tree. and
we have not had much collar rot. Ridges, if not kept clean, also are
excellent habitat  for mice and voles. We have lots of those. I could send
you some.....Good luck with your project.   Jerry Mills
-----Original Message-----
From: del stubbs <pinewoodel@hotmail.com>
To: nafex@egroups.com <nafex@egroups.com>
Date: Sunday, January 21, 2001 10:03 AM
Subject: Re: [nafex] Re: hole digging

> Thanks much for the imput. I have considered mounding.  I have a 50 yard
>pile of very black dirt from the wetland excavation I had done last fall,
>but I'm concerned that, since these are to be full size trees (malus
>prunifolia however big they are) that they need to adapt to reality - which
>is clay for 300 feet down.  And there is the compaction problem of getting
>the black dirt transported there in the soggy soil stage prior to planting
>   If I wait till the soil is friable the 2 year old grafted trees will be
>well leafed out already in their nursery bed.  The problem with using
>'gorilla tactics' is that this clay is so dense that it just makes solid
>bricks the size of the shovel, so the roots, rather than being spread out
>are crammd into a few cracks between lumps  of clay.   Isn't this worse
>the clay pot syndrome, and can it not be solved by using machine pulverized
>clay well tamped?
> I really would like to know what tools and techniques commercial growers
>use to excavate holes whether gas or potato powered.
> The christmas tree planter referred to I presume is the 'tow behind the
>tractor furrow cutting' type of planter used here in forestry. Since these
>trees are 2-4 foot high I think the ' all roots in one slot' would be an
>issue, and the glacial boulders really make em jump! But I really
>the thoughtful 'plus and minus' type of reply.    Mn. Del
>>From: edforest55@hotmail.com
>>Reply-To: nafex@egroups.com
>>To: nafex@egroups.com
>>Subject: [nafex] Re: hole digging
>>Date: Sat, 20 Jan 2001 23:18:10 -0000
>>Have you considered mounding soil or soil/compost over the roots
>>instead of burying the roots, or burying part of the roots and
>>mounding over the rest of the root? Then, the clay pot syndrome may
>>not cause much of a problem if any and this assures that the crown is
>>prevented from rotting in case of an extended wet period.
>>Just wondering if you'd considered it, I know it is often recommended
>>for home growers but don't know if there are any glitches for
>>commercial growers, such as mid summer drought and the task of
>>watering 200 newly transplanted trees in mid July whose roots are
>>somewhat above the surrounding soil line.
>>Kevin B
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