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Discussion in 'THE CROTON SOCIETY' started by Moose, Sep 16, 2011.

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  1. Moose

    Moose Esteemed Member

    Coral Gables, FL Zone 10b
    Specifications for Planting Trees and Shrubs in the Southeastern U.S.1
    Edward F. Gilman2

    Digging the Hole
    Before digging the hole in well drained soil:

    1) Locate the point where the topmost root emerges from the trunk (it should be within the top 2 inches of the ball), and

    2) Measure the distance between the topmost root and the bottom of the root ball. Dig the hole about 10% less than this distance and as wide as possible (at least 1.5 times the width of the ball). Remove excess soil to ensure that the topmost root is no more than 2 inches below the surface. Sever circling roots where appropriate. The root ball should be positioned in the hole so the finished grade of the landscape soil is even with or slightly lower than the point where the topmost root emerges from the trunk. Then apply soil or mulch so it covers the sides of the root ball.

    Be sure that when you are finished planting, there is no landscape soil and little or no mulch placed on top of the root ball. Landscape soil (as well as thick mulch layers more than 1 or 2 inches deep) spread over the root ball can prevent water and air from entering the root ball. When finished planting, the point where the topmost root in the root ball originates from the trunk should be within the top two inches of the root ball. The trunk flare might be visible on some trees depending on age and tree type. In poorly drained soil, position the top of the root ball 10% or more above the surrounding landscape soil.

    Tip: Never place any soil over the root ball.

    Slow-release (or controlled-release) fertilizer can be applied on top of the root ball and backfill soil or on top of the mulch at planting. There is no need to mix it with the backfill soil or place it at the bottom of the planting hole because most roots end up close to the soil surface in urban and suburban landscapes. Under most circumstances, mulch will not steal the fertilizer from the tree. Adding slow-release fertilizer at planting has not been associated with either improved survival or increased growth after planting. It will not hurt the plant provided it is applied according to the directions on the product. On the other hand, adding soluble fertilizer to a newly installed plant could burn roots if too much is applied. This will injure the plant and could kill it. Any nitrogen source can be applied to established trees with about the same effect.

    Weed and turf suppression during establishment is essential. Apply a 3-inch-thick layer of mulch around the plant to help discourage weeds. An area 2 feet in diameter for each inch of tree trunk diameter (minimum diameter should be 8 feet for trees with a trunk diameter less than 3 inches) should be maintained during the establishment period. If you wish to place mulch over the root ball, apply only a thin layer over the outer half of the root ball. This keeps the trunk dry and allows rainwater, irrigation, and air to easily enter the root ball. Mulch resting on the trunk or layered too thick can kill the plant by starving it of oxygen, killing the bark, causing stem and root decay, preventing hardening off, encouraging rodent damage to the trunk, keeping soil too wet, and repelling water. Mulch on the root ball has little impact on water lost from the tree since most of the moisture that leaves the root ball does so by transpiration, not evaporation. Only a small amount (< 10%) leaves the root ball by evaporation from the surface of the root ball.

    In many instances, if root balls are heavy enough, stakes are not necessary. Stake to stabilize the root ball. Many field-grown trees do not need staking because their root balls are heavy enough to stabilize the tree in the ground. Some container-grown trees will require staking in open areas because root balls are much lighter in weight.

    Trees and shrubs provided with regular irrigation through the first growing season after transplanting require about 3 months (hardiness zones 9-11) to 6 months (zones 7-8), per inch of trunk diameter to fully establish roots in the landscape soil. Plants that are under-irrigated during this establishment period often require additional time to establish because roots grow more slowly. Most trees are under-irrigated during the establishment period. Because roots are not fully established, be prepared to irrigate through the entire establishment period, especially in drought.

    Unlike established plants, research clearly shows that recently transplanted trees and shrubs establish most quickly with light, frequent irrigation. For trees planted in spring or summer, provide two (cooler hardiness zones) to three irrigations (warmer hardiness zones) each week during the first few months after planting. Daily irrigation in the warmest hardiness zones provides the quickest establishment. Following the initial few months of frequent irrigation, provide weekly irrigation until plants are fully established. At each irrigation, apply about 2 to 3 gallons of water per inch of trunk diameter (e.g. 4-6 gallons for a 2-inch tree) over the root ball. There is no need to wet the soil outside the root ball in most instances in the eastern U.S. where rainfall is plentiful. There may be a benefit to wetting soil outside the root ball in drier climates. Never add irrigation if the root ball is saturated.
  2. Moose

    Moose Esteemed Member

    Coral Gables, FL Zone 10b
    And another ...

    Converting Yard Wastes Into Landscape Assets1
    Gerald Kidder2

    Little if any of the so-called "yard trash" should be taken from the landscape where it is produced. Fallen leaves, grass clippings, shrubbery trimmings, and tree limbs are all valuable plant material which can be used in a variety of ways to enhance your home or community's landscape. The purpose of this publication is to present some on-site uses for these natural organic materials. Your ingenuity can undoubtedly add to the list. Please consider on-site recycling as an alternative to your present means of yard trash disposal.

    Municipalities realize significant savings of time and energy when plant materials are used on-site rather than concentrated in landfills or other disposal sites. The cost of collecting, hauling, and handling yard trash is a large share of the solid waste management expense. Yard wastes currently represent about 15% of the total municipal solid waste collected in Florida. Since 1992, Florida's Solid Waste Management Act has prohibited placing yard wastes in lined landfills. Twenty-three states now have restrictions on landfilling of yard materials.


    Fallen leaves and pine needles
    Shred with lawn mower.
    Breaks up leaves for faster decomposition; no raking or gathering needed; nutrients and organic matter returned directly to the soil.

    Rake or collect with bagging lawn mower and use as mulch for tree and shrub beds. Leaf mulch reduces water evaporation and protects the soil from erosion and crusting; provides weed control; prevents soil from splashing on buildings and side-walks; reduces need for purchased mulch; recycles nutrients as the leaves decompose.

    Collect leaves and compost in a compost pile. Compost can be used for soil enrichment. Disadvantages: composting requires work, attention to details, and a place in the landscape where the pile can be located.

    Grass clippings
    Do not collect when mowing. No effort needed; material decomposes and nutrients are recycled in place; no disadvantages when proper mowing, fertilization and irrigation practices are followed; most efficient option.

    Collect with bagging lawn mower and use as mulch. Organic matter and nutrients are kept on the premises. Disadvantages: the practice removes nutrients and organic matter from the lawn; requires effort to empty the bagger; mulch may produce odor if piled too thickly.

    Collect with bagging lawn mower and add to compost pile. Same as if used as mulch; same as for making compost with leaves.

    Shrub prunings, remains of garden plants and weeds
    Break or cut into small pieces (e.g., 6-12 inches) and spread as mulch on shrub and tree beds. Nutrients and organic matter are kept on premises. Disadvantages: generally needs to be reduced to fairly small pieces to be acceptable in landscaping; requires more work than simply hauling to curb.

    Shred with lawn mower, chipper, or shredder and use as mulch on beds or paths. Materials lose appearance of "trash" and look like mulch; succulent materials decompose rapidly while more woody materials decompose more slowly. Note: safety precautions needed when shredding woody materials. Dulls lawn mower blades.

    Tree limbs and woody shrub prunings
    Saw into firewood lengths.
    Disadvantages: firewood not needed in many parts of Florida; leafy material and smaller branches must be handled separately.

    Chip or shred and use as decorative mulch or for path making. Reduces need for purchased mulch; saves cypress trees and pine bark for other uses.
  3. koki

    koki Active Member

    pine island, fl
    Excellent article about converting yard waste to landscape assets. I started doing this a few years ago because it makes my yard a lot more manageable. Fan shaped palm fronds lay flat if you remove the stem and clip the mid rib. Fifteen or twenty fronds will go a long way for weed supression and moisture retention. My neighbor said it was unsightly, and he was right, so now the process includes a bag or two of mulch on top. Banana leaves also lay flat. Oak and buttonwood leaves are a crotons best friend, and the wood is great in a smoker. This is all notwithstanding the mountain of fruit and veggie waste that slowly turns into dark brown earth worm habitat.

    Ahh the simple things in life!

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