Seedybeans Blog

Celebrating the Humble Harvests of High Desert Homesteading

Plantin’ Peaches

It is Tuesday, waning moon, sunny, no rainy, no snowy…… Back from travels in quake shaken Chile and we are planting a peach tree.  “Pix Zee” is her name and she is a dwarf peach flown in from California yesterday.  She was ordered in the dreamy days in the dead of winter and now arrives in our hands as a sweet surprise.  As my tree teacher, Gordon Tooley of Tooley’s trees says….” The most common reasons for tree failure are planting too deep and over amending the soil.”  Since this was driven home many times during a orcharding class I took with him last year through the Permaculture Institute…This moment– where the tree is placed, permanently, into solid ground where it will remain for the rest of it’s long life…..Seems well… high pressure.  Because this moment is brief yet so imperative to the health and well-being of this tree, I thought it worth while to share it with you all.  

Here are Tooley’s direct Tree Planting Instructions from his Website.  

Dig shallow planting holes two to three times as wide as the root ball. Wide, shallow holes encourage horizontal root growth that trees and shrubs naturally produce. In well-drained soil, dig holes no deeper than the root flare. In poorly drained clay soil, dig holes one to two inches shallower. Trunk crown or root flare should not be below grade.

Don’t dig holes deeper than root flare or put loose soil beneath roots because loose soil will settle over time, leaving trees and shrubs planted too deep. Widen holes near the soil surface where most root growth occurs. Score walls of machine-dug (auger, backhoe) holes to remove glazing.

Backfill holes with existing unamended soil. Do not incorporate organic matter into backfill for individual planting holes. This can cause problems with water movement and root growth between the root ball, planting hole, and surrounding soil. Backfill the soil, then water thoroughly to settle out air pockets. Then water again. Cover any exposed root ball tops with mulch, but keep the mulch 2″ away from the root flare.

If you plan on planting any trees this season, which you really should, I highly recommend Tooley’s Trees up in Truchas.  To meet Gordon Tooley himself, this THURSDAY night MARCH 11th at 6pm, Gordon will be speaking at Collected Works Bookstore about his experience with heirloom trees in the four corners region.


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