The first weekend of October was devoted to installing the new forest. The purpose of this mass planting is to create screening between my neighbor’s house and mine and to also block the view of the back of my house from people coming down the road. To give you a sense of scale, the installation is about 200 feet long and 30 feet deep.
I had bought 44 trees and shrubs, and it took two long weekend days of nonstop work to install 27 of them. I am grateful for my tree planting partner father, as well as his backhoe and tractor and skid steer that made it possible to pick these trees up. Some were quite large and must have weighed several hundred pounds. And even with the heavy equipment we both did a lot of shoveling. And we’re still not done…
My vision for this part of the landscape is of a multilayered hedge with mixed tall evergreens forming an all-seasons background screen and shorter deciduous trees in front to provide seasonal interest with their flowers and fall color. It looks a little sparse now as I positioned the trees with a mind to their mature sizes but already it’s having the effect of drawing attention away from undesirable views and toward the trees. It is a major change for what used to be perfectly pretty pasture, and I hope it works out! Below is the view from my neighbor’s fence line back toward my compound.
I spent all last Sunday watering the trees and staking them. I am torn about staking: all the recent research suggests that it can do more harm than good to young trees. Stress and movement of the tree in the wind actually encourage the tree to develop a stronger root system and stockier trunk. However, I also know that this field is incredibly windy in the winter, and I fear that without some support these top-heavy evergreens will be lifted right out of the ground. So each tree got one stake, to be removed as soon as the roots show signs of having knit themselves to the earth. I found this publication by the University of Minnesota to be incredibly helpful.
I also loosely wrapped the trunks of the deciduous trees in balled up deer netting and tied it on. The theory is that deer don’t like the feeling of the netting and refrain from scratching their antlers against the trunks—a rather rude act that can kill a young tree.
Now I just need to order a couple of truckloads of mulch from my mulch guy and tuck these babies in for the winter!