As discussed in episode #18 of the Sow Edible Permaculture Podcast, we have been planting trees for several months now and are so happy to say that we are finally done! In all, we planted about 1000 trees this year. When we planted trees in previous years we realized that using a mechanical tree planter was impractical due to the size of the tree stock we are using, the clay soil, and the topography. So up until last week, we dug them all by hand. When I say we, I actually mean 95% Stacy and 5% me. Dad and Stacy then planted and tagged all the trees. It was quit the undertaking to say the least. But last week we found a tractor implement that allowed us to plant the last 250 trees in 2 days time.
These last trees were planned for a 1 acre food forest that we had just finished prepping for the project. We made double reach swales slightly off contour covering the entire area. Then we hooked up our new implement that is actually a subsoiler with a triangle plow attachment. We ran that down the middle of the Swales. This basically left a trench down the middle that allowed us to just plop a tree down into and cover up. So simple. No more shovel digging, yay!
With that said, there were certain areas of the property that this method would not have worked on due to space limitations of the tractor and/or other trees already planted too close to safely use the tractor. However, If you are planting with a blank slate, this is definitely the way to go. It was rather inexpensive (as far as any tractor implement goes) and saved us hours of back breaking work.
Here are some other views of the tractor implement.