PROPERTY NEWS - While some of us can’t even keep plastic plants alive, there are those who have green fingers, and can grow anything from vegetables to giant redwoods…
One of those people is Karen Heron, founder Earth Probiotic which supplies bokashi bins to South African gardeners. The composters can be used indoors, and are a great way to recycle kitchen scraps and cut down on waste as well as add vital nutrients to your soil to feed your plants.
Heron offers some advice on how to plant trees to help them grow strong and tall. "Trees are easy to plant, and once you have decided which tree to plant, choosing the ideal place to plant does need thoughtful consideration in order for the tree to thrive."
We need to consider correct planting practices to ensure the healthy survival of our trees.
Most trees love full sunlight, while others enjoy dappled shade
The roots of most trees are quite shallow at around 2m deep, but depending on the variety, can spread very wide when the tree is fully grown, and some spread much wider than their canopy.
Usually the best time to plant a tree is spring or early autumn, but some types require a different time of year. Once you have determined the type of tree, learnt its size and the depth and width of its root system, it's time to plant.
• Dig a hole as deep as the root ball and at least twice as wide. The wider the better, as this allows the roots to easily spread in their search for food and water.
• Remove any grass growing around the hole by about half a metre in diameter. While growing, it's best for the tree not to have to compete with weeds and grass.
• Fill the hole with water the day before you intend planting. If the hole is still full on planting day the spot is not suitable, as lack of drainage will kill the tree.
• Having kept the root ball well watered, remove the tree from its container.
• Set on the soil in the hole and spread out the roots around the trunk, removing any damaged ones and setting the roots onto the soil.
• Add the soil back making sure the root crown is at soil level or just above and the tree is straight.
• Firm the soil well and create a depression so water will pool there. You can push down the soil with your foot, but don't stomp on the root ball.
• Water as soon as you are finished planting. If the soil settles, you can add more soil, but don't use your feet to firm down while the soil is wet.
• Once you are happy the tree is straight, has soil just below its crown and is well watered, add some compost on top of the soil and slightly beyond the hole you dug, and cover with mulch.
• Brush back any compost and mulch from the trunk.
• Only stake if absolutely necessary and remove stakes and ties after about a year.
• Young trees need regular watering, weeding and fertilising.
"The most important step once you have brought your new tree home, is to not let the root ball dry out," says Karen. "This applies during storing the tree, while preparing the hole, planting it and giving the tree its first watering in its (hopefully) final place in life."
Reasons to plant a tree:
• Trees release oxygen through their trunks and leaves and often are referred to as the "lungs of the planet".
• Trees clean air by intercepting airborne particulates, trapping them on their leaves and bark.
• They preserve soil by preventing soil erosion through their webs of roots.
• They conserve water by providing shade and decreasing evaporation.
• They support wildlife by providing shelter, nesting and food.
• They sequester and store carbon dioxide, decreasing the concentration of greenhouse gases.
• They cool the planet through shading and releasing water vapour through their leaves.
• They reduce energy use of a home or office by up to 30% when planted properly around a building.
• They feed soil through fallen leaves which turn into nutrients for the tree and surrounds.
But most importantly, they make us happy by reducing stress. Its impossible to look at nature and not smile!
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