We've just planted three new apple trees in the orchard. They are bare root trees. We've put them in the gaps between the existing fruit trees.
D'Arcy Spice - This is a cooking apple.
Genet Moyle - A cider apple tree, it can also be used for cooking.
Tom Putt - A cider apple tree.
We have been a bit disappointed with the progress of the trees we planted a couple of years ago. The problem is probably the soil in the orchard. In places there's heavy clay soil on top of the floodplain alluvial soil. This arises from dumping on the site by previous owners, possibly with the waste from building sites. So this time we've taken some extra care with these new trees.
We bought some bags of top soil from an agricultural supplier. We added approximately 30% of well rotted farm manure and some bone meal into the top soil and then mixed it thoroughly. We dug holes large enough to comfortably accommodate the root of the new trees. In the base of the holes we added a 4 cm layer of sand and aggregate to improve drainage. We covered the sand with a couple of cms of the soil manure mix. Next, we poured in water to the depth of approximately 5 cms deep. and let it soak away. On the side of the prevailing wind we drove in a treated 7cm tree stake to the base of the hole ready to help support the new trees.
Meanwhile we'd been pre-soaking the apple tree roots for about 30 minutes in a bucket of water. We lifted the tree into the hole and then coated the roots with Mycorrhizal fungi treatment powder. Next we lifted the tree into place in the hole, then we carefully added the soil mix around the roots to plant the tree. Once we had filled the hole we gently pressed down on the soil to firm it in place before added some water to soak the soil around the roots. A tree stake tie was used to secure the tree from wind damage, then finally we added a plastic spiral tree guard to prevent damage by rodents such as rabbits, rats, squirrels. We checked the other trees in the orchard to ensure they all had spiral plastic tree guards.
The Mycorrhizal fungi forms a symbiotic bond with the tree roots and helps the tree to absorb nutrients from the soil. The bone meal also provides nutrients which encourage root growth.