Veronika and I have begun planting trees. We’re planting up the boundaries with the smaller, shrubbier species to help define the planting areas a bit and to spot any wrinkles in the tree-planting process.

We’re doing the shrubbier species at the edges to grade the boundaries a little, as a natural wood may do. In other words, smaller trees at the edge with the larger ones in the middle, each size taking up its own layer in the available light. By the end of today, we’d done the edge of our biggest planting area ready to be filled in.

P1030331 (Large)So far this is 100 trees in two mornings, which equates to four weeks’ worth of work for me and a WWOOFer. You can see why a planting party is a good idea.

We are getting faster as we improve the planting technique, which means that when people arrive to for the planting party I’ll have a decent process ready to go. This is the current iteration of the process, using at least four people per team, which is my estimate based on the number of people who say they’ll be coming:

  1. The measurer takes the stakes and marks out the location of each tree by quickly stabbing a stake in the ground. This allows all holes and trees to be spotted right from the start by any people following on. We lost a few holes in the marshy ground before starting this technique. The measurer becomes the staker at step 5.
  2. The distributor then distributes the tree guards to each stake position. All the hardware is now where it needs to be. The distributor becomes the protector at step 6.
  3. The digger digs a straight slit (bare round) or a t-shape (grass) next to each stake. The digger can help stake or attach guards when they are finished.
  4. The planter plants a tree in each slit. The planter can help stake or attach guards when they are finished.
  5. The staker positions the stake properly and bangs it in. The stake goes on the windward side of the tree.
  6. The protector places a tree guard over every tree and attaches the guard to each stake. Each guard has a lip that is designed to avoid rubbing (it bends out the way so the tree doesn’t rub on the hard plastic rim). This should be at the top of the guard.

With two people on a team, the measurer becomes the digger then the staker and the distributor becomes the planter then the protector. The first two steps can be done by a few people until their roles are needed, I imagine. As some of this is still theory based on our planting today, it could change.

Veronika finished the morning by planting the banks of the ditch nearest the burn. It looked beautiful with the tiny trees and I’m hopeful it’ll just get better. I’ve promised to send Veronika a photo in 20 years.

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