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How to Plant a Resolution Tree

The New Year is a time for rejuvenation, replenishment, and growth. What better way to celebrate a fresh start than by planting a tree rooted in your intentions for the coming year? A Resolution Tree is just that, a tree that’s roots literally grow through a penned resolution and nurtured with your hope for the future.

To plant your Resolution Tree you will need:

  • Scrap Paper
  • Writing Utensil
  • Tree (Ready for transplanting)
  • Shovel
  • Water
  • Soil (SDHydro Recommends Roots Organic or Fox Farm soils)
  • Compost (SDHydro Recommends Humisoil from Organic Bountea)
  • Mulch or Bark (Optional)
  • Mad Farmer B1 (Optional)

1)Begin with taking a piece of biodegradable scrap paper and writing your 2014 resolution on it then place to the side.

2)Select a tree type and planting location. Determining the type of tree and location where it is to be planted are interdependent. Factors such as the maturing size of the tree, available space and desired purpose of the tree (fruiting, flowering, wind or shade protection, erosion prevention, restoration of native species or a combination thereof) should be considered. Learn the specific needs of your tree (preferred sunlight,  companion plants, and watering needs) then when selecting a location be mindful of maturing root systems, sidewalks and other possible obstructions of growth. It is important that the tree have adequate space to grow, with abundant sunlight and access to water.

3)Clear an area and dig a hole. Remove any weeds, leaves or brush from the direct area to be planted. Give the planted tree about a three-foot circumference of clearance space. Generally you should dig two feet deeper and two-feet wider than the potted soil that holds the current root system of the tree to ensure that the roots are not restricted.

4)Place your piece of paper with written resolution at the bottom of the hole.

5)Add compost or fertilizer into the bottom of the hole then soak. Use at least 1/3 compost per 2/3 soil.  The more compost, leaf mold or rotted manure used the more likely to satisfy the tree’s nutrient needs. The type and amount of fertilizer needed will vary by variety of tree. If the tree you intend to plant is on the larger size (greater than 2 inches in diameter) the roots may benefit from up to a one-hour soaking in a water bath. Pre-soak the hole prior to planting. This is more important with dry soil that does not hold water well but in general prepares the soil to welcome roots.

6)Carefully remove the tree from the container. The goal is as little root disturbance as possible. Either use clippers to cut the container away from the tree or gently squeeze the sides of the plant container between your hands to loosen the dirt and roots from the container wall while simultaneously letting gravity pull the tree free. After the tree is out of the container, stimulate growth by gingerly massaging the root system before putting the tree in the hole.

7)Place the tree in the hole. Position the flare of the tree (where the stem meets the roots and dirt) to be flush with the ground and clear of debris once fully planted. The stem will rot if buried or covered with damp material (such as soil) and the roots will dry out if exposed to air. Before you begin filling the hole with soil, make sure the roots are resting flat in the hole without being smashed or curved upward into a “J” shape (this is why you dug the hole deeper than necessary).

8)Add a small ring of fertilizer around the base of the tree about four to six inches away from the stem. Take care not to use too much fertilizer or you may burn the plant. Consult the instructions of your specific fertilizer for correct quantities.

9)(Optional)Add mulch or bark around the circumference of the tree. Make a ring of wood chips around the tree about three inches thick. This allows the bark to hold water in the soil and protects the topsoil from the sun. Leave a foot clearance from the edge of the bark boarder to the neck of the tree, the space in between the tree stem and the raised bark boarder create a small water-retaining bowl that is great for efficient and effective watering.

10)Water the tree and watch it grow! We recommend using Mad Farmer’s B1 to assist the plant in healing during the transplant process.

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