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technical orchard planting question

as you know we are creating an orchard.

it is rather damp, 100mm turf then300mm topsoil over clay

the phrase plant high never die seems very appropriate.

my thought is cut a ring of turf, invert it onto the circle in the middle. drive stake, dig suitable holes/slots, plant to extra turf surface level through the inverted turf then backfill and heel in. suppress competing plants with textile membrane held down by the weld mesh tree guard.

it seems simple and effective.

what do you folk think?

Don't plant a $100 tree in a $10 hole

(Another adage to go with plant'em high, never die)

Conventional wisdom used to be to dig twice as deep and three times as wide as your rootball. That first part is no longer recommended, as loosening the soil below where you will plant means that it will eventually compact again, dropping your crown lower than you had intended. Still a good idea to loosen the surrounding soil the roots will be growing into

So if inverting sod in the bottom of the hole (have done that plenty of times before learning the new conventional wisdom) make sure you really do plant high.

There is a newer trend to root washing a B&B tree and planting it like a bare root. I can see the advantages, as sometimes the soil ball is of a different texture than the surrounding soil and they may not communicate water very well.....

Some resources:

Sounds about right, we’ve never used weed membrane just a few inches of mulch on top of the inverted turf. We probably have less topsoil before we hit clay

Forgot to add in above:

You mentioned a stake. Is it a really wind location?
If you can go without staking the trees, that's the new preferred as well. You want them to move a bit so they root strongly and grow evenly and naturally. (but staking for the first couple months is still appropriate if in a very windy spot, or with very top heavy trees)

Edit to add: This depends upon rootstock choice as well. The new conventional orchard planting style of super dense with very dwarfing rootstocks needs lots of support, but at that point you're just running high tensile wire horizontally and clipping on to it

ta , i will study.

re the stake thing the weld mesh tubes are hard fixed, the tree will have a flexible tie to allow some movement but help keep the roots in the floor in a wind

going by the way the extremely good park staff in the jr rowntree's homestead gardens stake most of their tree plantings i recon that best practice round here is assume it will be windy.

i does get rather windy at the orchard site, hopefully the hedge making the third side of a triangle will help with that.
Mistress Rose

Go along with what Slim says, but your idea doesn't sound bad. I would definitely try to get some drainage under the tree; loosening at least. The problem is potential waterlogging at that site. Having said that, my father grew condon apples and pears very successfully in our garden on solid clay that had to be slabbed up each winter to let the frost break it down so stuff could be planted in it in the spring.
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