Its tree planting time! How I love trees ♥️ The list of goodness they bring is long. They are our protectors – storms, sun, erosion, floods; providers – fruit, wood, warmth. They are a sink for water and carbon and home for many.
For all the blessings tree’s bring, they can equally be a curse. The wrong tree in the wrong place brings unnecessary drama – often expensive, sometimes dangerous – always a hassle. Lets just say I want to spare you this.
Are You Sheltered Yet?
If not, then this is your number one priority this winter. Boring perhaps, but oh the difference to the productive stuff (and life in general). Shelter comes in many forms – a well placed shed, a trellis and vine, a slat fence or of course, a tree.
When it comes to designing your wind shelter, taller is not better. Tall means trunks. Trunks funnel wind making it faster and colder. Tall often means pruning is required at some point. Bearing in mind we want to avoid future tree drama – only go as tall as you need.
If 3m will protect your garden and deck from the wind, the clever thing to do is to choose a 3m tree. Not a monstrous Eucalyptus, or a towering Totara. A perfectly sized Corokia will fit the bill here and keep your job list small. No annual pruning = revolutionary!
Working out the available height and width before choosing your tree flips the process on it’s head and rewards you with an easy life.
Right Tree. Right Place.
Matching the tree to your conditions is key. If the tree will be in the salty wind – choose a tree that’s born for this job. If it’ll be in the dry, choose a tree that loves it dry. If you need a permanent wind shelter around your tree in order for it to grow at yours – you’ve got the wrong tree (or it’s in the wrong place).
Little bit of thought = the perfect match = less work = happiness. Life changing stuff, this pre planting ponder.
Sketch It Up
Sketching is such a helpful tool. When drawn out, things become obvious.
- Do a sketch of your land with house, shed, trees – everything that’s existing. Doesn’t need to be to scale, or fancy.
- Get your measuring tape out and jot down distances so you can be real about available width and height.
- Write down your wishes and needs
This is Sarah and Craig’s place – pre planning. Areas measured. Wishes wished for. Problems identified.
After a bit of play with pencil and rubber and much weighing up of this or that, we sketched up a plan. Winter planting/ building projects a go! Shelter was high on their list and we ended up with a real mix of things to do that job – recycled windows, greenhouse, chookhouse and small trees.
They have all their wishes met and a few bonuses – no grass to mow and one more vegie bed, such is the power of pencil and paper. They are private, sheltered and we even managed to create a good sized chook run on their tiny section.
They chose to forgo the view in favour of shelter. It’s not completely gone though – when they work in the greenhouse it is all laid on for them. Compromises need to be made when the prevailing wind is also your view (hello kapiti!). Sometimes you can come up with a cunning plan to score both.
Where trees are concerned your goals are to:
- keep the sun
- soften the wind
- have good access and flow on your land
- avoid future tree drama (annual pruning, roots getting into pipes, rats getting onto your roof, blocked gutters …)
- look after your neighbours ie dont block their light or gift them branches to prune
Keep It Real – Stake It Out
Keeping it real can be tricky where trees are concerned. A tree seedling is deceptively wee at the beginning.
Windshelter is generally a jungle type moment – where trees blend one into one the other. Not so fruit trees. They need due space as do the gardeners for pruning, harvesting and spraying.
If a 5m spread is the size of your fully grown fruit tree, then allow a 5m space. It looks a lot in the beginning I know, but do it! Use the temporary extra space to grow annual crops like pumpkins, zuchinni or potatoes.
This article is worth a read – How Much Space Do Your Fruit Trees Need.
Label a stake with the tree’s name and bang it in where you think your tree should go.
Ponder these things:
- Future shade and it’s impact on gardens, other trees, your house and you
- Access – mower, walking, harvesting, pruning
- Look up – wires, roof’s, gutters
- Look beyond – view, light, neighbours
- Consider the roots – wires, pipes, concrete paths
Moving a stake is easy.