Friday, November 30, 2018

Planting & Winterizing Bare Root NUT TREES

Here's my handy dandy guide on the basics of planting bare root nut trees!

First off, I'll mention that there's not a lot of added information here for those that have been following the series so far. But for the sake of new potential readers and viewers, I'll go ahead and cover some of the stuff I talked about in my other posts, in addition to a few new golden nuggets. 

In the end (spoiler alert!), you should start to see that planting a bare root nut tree is not unlike planting a bare root fruit tree. But don't make a rookie mistake like I did though and go on talking about your tree's "graft point" if there is none lol.

PRO TIP: Hazelbert bare root nut trees from Hardy Fruit Tree Nursery are NOT grafted.
Planting bare root nut trees is simple, highly beneficial and fun! :)

As always, we're talking about BEST PRACTICES on these posts and in the videos. From talking to the people on the forums and the people I've known over the years, they all say the same thing: "I want to learn new tips and tricks but they have to be easy to understand and concise and the whole thing has to be under 5 minutes!" So they want it all, basically 🤣 And who doesn't, right? I want the same thing when I'm watching videos and reading blogs, so that's why I've made it a point to do just that for my own audience. For the most part, I've succeeded in trimming down and any lengthier videos coming up were meant to squeeze in some of the last fall footage of 2018. Filler? No, no, it's bonus material! 😉

The first few steps are the same as planting fruit trees (Dig, remove obstructions, add optionals, place tree, refill, etc.)

To begin, we basically just proceeded the same way as we did with the fruit trees. If you missed that the first time, I suggest watching the first couple videos of the "Homesteading for Beginners" series which covers preparation steps, the actual planting of bare root fruit and nut trees like we're doing here and also some helpful winterizing precautions that you can take to help your trees survive the harshness of winter.





In addition to the tips in the videos, my previous blog posts also contain useful information with regards to doing things correctly when it comes to planting bare root fruit trees. So take a look at the posts from previous months and years in the archive as we go!


Some basic considerations when planting your bare root nut trees:

  • As I mentioned before, nut trees are not generally grafted, or at least not the particular nut trees that I was planting. My trees are an uncommon variety known as a hazelbert (a cross between a hazelnut and a filbert). I'm still relatively new to working with regenerative agriculture so at worst, this is all extremely valuable experience. That said, I'm not sure if it's possible to graft a nut tree the same as you would a fruit tree. I'll have to look that one up or cross that bridge when I get to it.
    Good soil with good draining and JUST the right amount of water.
  • The location is so crucial! Had I considered that more from the beginning, I would have made minor changes to the sites I chose. No matter though. You'll never find the perfect spot. The aim should be instead of find the most suitable spot for the tree that you are planting. In my case, the hazelberts seemed to fit well scattered a bit around our well and mixed in with the lilac bush. For you it may be something completely different. Do your best to give the trees what they need and take a chance! You have to leave a little room for luck and experimentation.
    Optionals are optional because YOU decide. Are you more of a purist or a utilitarian?
  • Consider soil quality and content before going any further. Then when you think you have it all figured out, consider it again. I've often second guessed myself on this topic and found that I was glad I did. Taking a chance with rocky/clay soil is not something you want to do if you can avoid it. There are easy measures to take to avoid planting into this type of soil, like building up a mound instead of digging down, for example.
    Using wood chips made of REAL forest debris is key! To get a good microbial/fungal diversity, your mulch has to have material of all shapes and sizes like different sizes chips, twigs, sticks and leaves.
  • Make sure all those roots are buried! At first it may appear that you got them all but sometimes there are little stragglers that are still exposed to the environment. This may not necessarily kill your trees, but you want to give them every fighting chance possible when they first go in the ground. This is theoretically their FOREVER home! So try to make it nice and comfy for them. Trees have feelings too! :)
Give those trees the best possible chance at survival the first couple years!
  • Take into account how big the nut tree or bush will become. It may not grow much for the first few years and then BAM! It blows up! So be ready for that in case it happens. The last thing you want to do is cut down your carefully pruned and tended tree because you didn't account for its size at maturity.
Easy peasy hazelberty :P
  • On that note, keep up with the pruning if you don't want it to get out of control. Decide how and when you will prune it for optimal results. Of course, this will all depend on your specific trees and their unique environment. If you're not planning to prune at all then just let your trees do their thing from the get-go and watch in amazement as they transform before your very eyes over the years.
The Leaves
The Nut
The Tree
There are so many more things you can do to prepare, protect and winterize your trees. A lot of the factors depend on your particular environment and the hardiness of your trees. Then there's the level of involvement that you want to put in which may have a huge impact on the development of the plant. And that's not considering other unpredictable factors like infestation, disease, floods/drought and/or acts of god. You can only be so prepared, but on the other hand it's still a great idea to have some contingency plans in mind.

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