WHEN the ground has been got ready for the reception of plants in accordance with the suggestions made in Chapter III (Preparation Of The Ground) (Preparation Of The Ground), the next operation is the planting of the trees and shrubs according to the plan which it has been strongly advised should be carefully prepared in full detail before the actual work of planting is begun.
It will be remembered that if the place is large, the ground should have been plowed, and the subsoil plowed, cross-plowed and harrowed, or, if the place is too small for plowing, that the ground should have been trenched and then raked to an even surface.
The soil then having been thoroughly cultivated and being in good condition to be worked (that is, neither so wet that it will stick to the spade or trowel when being dug up or to the feet when treading it, nor, on the other hand, too dry and hard), mild weather with a moist atmosphere must be selected for the time of planting. If the air is very dry and a harsh wind blowing, the work must be postponed until the dry spell is over, as a plant transplanted under these conditions is apt to suffer. If, however, the transplanting has to be done in very dry weather, shading must be resorted to until the plants make fresh roots. This is more necessary in the case of evergreens than of plants which are without leaves, for the reason that in those plants having leaves, the surface from which evaporation takes place is much larger (being at least six times greater) than in similarly sized plants not having leaves.
Deciduous trees may be safely transplanted in any month between the fall of the leaf in Autumn and the swelling of the bud in Spring, provided, of course, the soil is in good condition.
Our hardy, native Pine and Cypress do well if transplanted in November, December, January or February.
Eucalyptus, Acacia, and most of our New Holland, Australian and New Zealand plants do best if the planting or transplanting is delayed until Spring, or until the danger from heavy rains and cold weather has passed.
The operation of planting varies according to the nature of the plant and the natural disposition of the soil. Some plants root deeply, sending strong taps into the soil, while the roots of others creep along close to the surface. It must be carefully kept in view, when planting, that the roots should be placed as nearly as possible in the same position as they were before they were removed from their previous location.
In transplanting deciduous trees, they should be taken up very carefully so as to preserve as many of the roots as possible, the constant aim being to prevent injury not only to the roots, but also to the branches so that they may have few wounds and bruises to heal when in their new quarters.
After the ground has been prepared carefully in accordance with the former suggestions, the hole must be dug for the reception of the roots of the plant to be transplanted. The size of the hole, of course, depends upon the size of the plant, but it is better to make it too large than too small. If it is made too small the roots are very liable to get cramped and crowded into wrong positions. The hole should be large enough to allow all of the roots to be spread out to their full length and in their natural positions; the depth of the hole should permit the neck of the plant to be as near the surface of the ground as it was originally.
There is a difference of opinion as to whether the hole should be circular or square. The square form should by all means be preferred, not only because it is dug more quickly, but also for another reason of greater importance: - when the roots, in their natural extension by growth, reach the wall of a circular hole, they are in danger of following the line of the circular wall and thus confining themselves into a space the size of the original circular hole, instead of extending into the wall and thus into the adjoining soil as they will certainly do when the hole is a square one.
When digging the hole, the best soil should be placed on one side, and the poorer soil on the opposite side. The hole should be made quite as wide at the bottom as at the top and should be deeper at the sides than in the middle, and thus the surplus water will run to the sides of the basin rather than lodge in the center.
After the hole has been got ready, the plant should be examined. If the top is not uniform and equally balanced, it must be primed into uniform proportion. It must then be carefully seen that the roots are not matted or crowded. If the roots are found to be matted or crowded they must be disentangled and cut back to sound wood, and, if any of them are bruised, these should be cut back with a sharp knife. The roots should then be placed in the prepared spot to find out whether the hole is of the proper depth. It may be found that the neck of the plant is too high or too low, and the hole must be lowered or filled in, as may be necessary, to remedy this, it being always borne in mind that the bottom of the hole on which the roots are to rest should be of convex form, not only for the reason just mentioned regarding the drainage of the water, but so that the roots will point in a downward direction as in their natural state, rather than in an upward direction as too often happens from neglect of this precaution. The roots should also be as equally distributed over the surface of the bottom of the hole as possible, or as nearly so as they were before transplanting, and as their nature will permit.
A light spreading of fine, well-pulverized soil should then be spread over the roots to the depth of about two inches, the soil being thrown from the stem of the plant toward the ends of the roots. This is of considerable importance, as the throwing of the soil from the ends of the roots toward the stem has a tendency to double up the roots, not only thereby injuring them by twisting, but, when they start into growth, causing them to grow toward the stem and to crowd into bunches and mat around the stem, instead of starting away from the stem in search of fresh soil, as they would do under natural circumstances.
When the roots are covered with two inches of soil, it is necessary to shake the stem a little so as to get all the soil settled among the roots. Then the hole should be filled in, to within three inches of the top, and should be given a good soaking of water. The hole should be filled with water two or three times, this being allowed to entirely soak away; when the hole is partly dry, it should be filled up to the top with soil.
Should the tree, which is being planted, be over four feet in height, it would be well to stake it with a stout pole, the tree being tied securely to the pole to prevent the action of the wind from moving the tree before it has made fresh roots.
In the case of a large deciduous tree, the stake should be driven into the bottom of the hole before planting, and the roots spread about the stake, for, if the stake should be driven into the ground after the tree is set out and the hole filled in, the driving in of the stake would very likely injure and disturb the roots.
If a stake should be required for an evergreen plant, it should be driven obliquely into the side of the hole and clear of the roots, and, of course, the plant should be tied securely to the stake.
In staking or supporting a newly planted tree or shrub, great care must be taken to prevent the bark from being injured through rubbing against the stake. In order to prevent this, a padding •of old rubber or a wisp of straw, or some other soft material, should be placed between the stake and the stem of the tree. A plant, which has been staked, should be examined about once a month to see that the tie is not cutting into the bark by the natural swelling of the stem, or that the padding has not been forced out of position, thus allowing the bark to rub against the stake by the action of the wind.
After the planting and staking is all completed, it is a good plan to mulch the ground with horse-manure half-rotted, spread to a depth of about three inches. Mulching is a good means of preserving the moisture and keeping the soil at an even temperature. It also prevents the soil from cracking, and proves beneficial through its substance being washed into the soil by rains or artificial watering.
When it is desired to move large trees and shrubs for transplanting, the following method is recommended as one which has been thoroughly tried and proved to be effective.
In April or May a year before the tree or shrub is to be moved, dig, around it, a trench deep enough to reach the main side-roots' cut all the side roots with a sharp knife; encase the ball of earth surrounding the tree roots with boards of sufficient strength, care being taken that there be a space of three inches clear between the ball of earth and the boards. Fill this three-inch space with good friable sandy loam mixed with leaf-mold (in the proportions of two parts loam and one part leaf-mold) tamping the soil firmly with a piece of stick about eighteen inches long by one inch by two inches; then fill in the soil about the encasement and give a good watering.
The following year, when the plant will be ready for removal, dig around the encasement and excavate under the tree or shrub, cutting the tap roots and bottoming the box with boards of sufficient strength. If the tree or shrub is more than ten feet in height, nail a board to each corner of the box, these boards to be the height of the tree and braced by strips nailed to each. After the boards are in place and properly braced, tie the stem of the tree to each of the four upright boards so that there will be no risk of the stem moving either at the root or at the top; then raise the box containing the tree or shrub by hydraulic pump jacks or by other raising apparatus and load it on a truck to be moved to the place selected.
Before moving the tree or shrub have the selected site properly graded. Dig a hole of the proper depth and at least six feet wider than the ball of the tree to be transplanted, having a sufficient quantity of good soil ready to fill the hole; lower the tree into the hole, taking off the boards; fill in with the good soil, tamping it firmly; for every three inches of fill give a good watering. See that the tree or shrub is stoutly staked, or, if very tall, braced with four guy ropes equally distanced. Attach the guy ropes to stakes driven into the ground at a distance from the^tree equal to its height.
Lawn Outline. Eucalyptus and Conifers.