There are few things more rewarding that planting a tree for the future, and there are few people and places that will appreciate it more than a school playground filled with children. Explaining to your children that they are providing shade and a better world for their children one day might be asking a little much, so just let them get their hands dirty. That is, after all, what kids enjoy doing most?
What you’ll need:
• Pick a suitable tree.
• Either bonemeal, superphosphate or planting fertiliser
Choosing the tree you’ll be planting is probably the most important step because of all the factors and considerations that need to be taken into account. While you’re shopping, pick up some compost and your fertiliser of choice.
The home you’ve picked for your tree needs to be considered first and foremost. Is it close to any walls or buildings, will it be used for shade or a barrier or just simple aesthetics? Once that has all been decided, you can start to narrow your options down depending on which root system they should have, how much shade they offer and whether you’re in need of an evergreen or not etc.
Your local accredited garden centre has staff that are more than qualified to show you what’s on offer for your criteria. It’s always preferable to go indigenous and if possible, even opt for one of the trees of the year.
Image above: Parsley Tree
2015 Trees of the Year:
• Combretum krausii – Forest bushwillow/Bosvaderlandswilg
• Heteromorpha arborescens – Parsley tree/Wildepieterseliebos
Time to grab your spade and get busy. If the ground is hard, pop a sprinkler on for a short while and let the water sink in and soften the ground before you get started. Dig a decent size square hole, at least double the size of the bag your tree came in.
Make two equal piles of soil with the soil you’ve dug out the hole and then double the size of one of the piles by adding your compost to it and mix well.
Add your bonemeal, superphosphate OR planting fertiliser, depending on which you opted for, to the bigger pile as well and mix in thoroughly. As a guide for quantity:
• 4l bag – 1 closed adult handful
• 10l bag – 2 closed adult handfuls
• 20l bag – 3 closed adult handfuls
Put enough of the bigger pile of soil back into the hole so that the top of the tree bag sits level with the ground when popped into the hole. Once you’re happy with the soil level, remove the bag from around your tree and place it in the hole. If the tree is heavy or large, remove the bag after you’ve placed it in the hole to avoid having to pick it up by the stem.
Now pop the rest of your bigger pile of soil into the hole which should fill it up. Press the soil down firmly to compact it nicely around your tree.
Now you can use your smaller pile of soil to make a dam wall around your tree for watering.
While your tree is establishing itself, you should water it daily for ten days by filling the dam.
When you see new growth appearing, you can cut down your watering to three times a week, depending on weather of course. After about three months, rake the dam away and ensure you keep the soil moist.