Silviculture / Modification of the Physical Environment / Planting Techniques
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Planting Techniques

A tree that is properly planted will be more tolerant of unfavorable conditions and will require less water, fertiliser and pest management. Seedlings may die if the roots are damaged, not covered with enough soil or if they are planted in waterlogged soils. Smaller plants are less likely to suffer transplant shock.

Seedlings should be protected from root, stem and foliage damage when transported to the planting site and watered well the night before planting. Try to avoid planting on hot, dry or windy days or if the ground is very wet. Planting on overcast days or in light rain is best: the soil should be damp. If there is a need to delay planting by more than a few days, the seedlings should be protected from wind, excessive heat and moisture loss. Additional care must be taken when handling open rooted stock.

Planting method will depend on the type of stock. In most cases trees should be planted at the same depth as when grown in the pot or nursery bed. If herbicides have been used avoid mixing the surface soil into the planted hole. Plants in tubes are most easily planted using a planting tool that removes a plug of soil of the same size and shape as the pot. Open rooted trees can be planted in well prepared ground using a small spade.

Guards, stakes and mulch
If time and resources permit, planting trees in guards will offer some protection from water stress and pests. Staking should be avoided as exposure to wind encourages the tree to develop a firm stem. For this reasons small seedlings are preferred. Mulch is useful for slowing weed growth, maintaining soil moisture, and if it is organic, nutrients. Applying mulch too close to the trunk may cause fungal growth that will kill the plant. Placing plastic guards around seedlings, with the help of stakes, can create a favourable microclimate for growth by protecting the plant from wind and water loss. However it is important to remove the guards once the seedlings have become well established so that they do not restrict further growth.

Because the choice of planting technique depends on so many factors it is best to learn from others in your region or consult your supplier.

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