As of 2020 I started moving towards selling and planting root trained plugs in preference to potted up trees.
A number of reasons:
- The root systems of root trained plugs enable a tree that will establish quickly with a good strong root system that ensures a sturdy stable tree that shouldn’t need staking 😉
- No single use plastic ♻️ I reuse the plug trays many times 🙂
- They are easier to ship 😁
NOTE please 🙏🏻 DO NOT disturb the root plug whether planting directly into the ground or potting on❗️
If you need deeper pots, then 4L poly pots are ideal.
The points that I am trying to make about placing the stones around the base of the trees are:
- They act as a deterrent to any creatures digging up the trees in search of a nutritious Milk Kefir meal
- They provide shelter and habitat for predatory insects like earwigs, lady birds, lacewings and spiders which prey on Blue Gum Psyllid.
Predatory insects are well worth encouraging 😉
I am still a fan of using horse / stable, or farmyard manure. I have successfully plated Eucalyptus into these mediums without them having been rotted down first, though I suspect some composting would be beneficial.
Horse / stable, farmyard manure can have harmful bacteria and fungi, though generally I’d still be a fan, especially if you can dig it into the ground a month or so before planting.
As you will see in the video, if you use a small earth auger to plant root trained plugs, then a finer compost medium will be helpful.
I’ve used poultry manure from the very start of planting my mini forest, and Continue to do so; a good organic slow release fertiliser suitable for most trees and plants.
I’ve used Mycorrhizal fungi here and there, though after reading several books, add a teaspoon full to each hole before planting. The books I have read so far are:
- Entangled Life
- Teaming with Fungi
As I say in the video, Mycorrhizal fungi are still a bit of a dark art, even for the scientists studying them. Success in the lab may not translate to success in the field. Many strains are host specific and it would be a waste of money using them with any other plants.
It should be noted that there will probably be some strains of Mycorrhizal fungi in the soil you have anyways 😉 Using a phosphorus fertiliser may result in the host tree or plant not entering into a symbiotic relationship with the fungi 😏
Hydration is very important to Eucalyptus trees and trees in general until they become well established. Some families of Eucalyptus like the Swamp gums, as the name suggests will thrive in boggy ground.
When I plant Eucalyptus trees I am planting in groups or rows. Even with my very first planting, I decided to plant a metre apart with the expectation that they would be able to support each other in strong winds until they became well established and this strategy has been beneficial. I would note though, that my early plantings weren’t from root trained plugs which I now strongly recommend.
I also have every intention of thinning out as they become more established.
The pattern in the illustration below would be suitable for a hedge or wind shelter / screening.
Planting Eucalyptus trees for a mini forest or larger would require the same pattern, though with breaks to allow for access.
In summary my key ingredients for Planting Eucalyptus trees and trees in general are:
- Poultry manure
- Mycorrhizal fungi
- Milk Kefir
Shelter for young trees is important as well, though some varieties of Eucalyptus suffer less from wind burn than others, and I detail my current findings on the individual product pages.
The Milk Effect
I am in no doubt that inoculating the soil with Milk Kefir has helped improve the vigour and health of the Eucalyptus trees I have planted. I don’t currently (mid 2021) have any objective cost comparisons with other fertilisers, though my believe born out from observation is that inoculating the soil with Milk Kefir has a very long lasting effect. The farmers who put the idea into my head said they had used milk, they were both farmers. They said it was evident where they had sprayed and where they hadn’t three years later and I would assume they would have sprayed a very dilute mixture to cover even a small field.
Check out my page on Milk Kefir for Soil Improvement 😉