Are Your Fruit Trees Happy?
Everywhere I go, but especially in Northland where the soils are heavy, I have people coming up to me to tell me about their Koanga Gardens fruit trees. Quite often people say that some have done well, others not. Obviously everybody wants all their trees to do well and so they want to know why they aren’t.
Often I go and look at them, and the reasons for trees not doing well are always the same – I always want to say, if you treated your children like this what would you expect to happen!
If you want your fruit trees to grow into large successful heavy croppers of nutrient dense fruit, you have to take care of them!!! That begins with the way you plant them, especially for those of us on heavy clay soils or soils that are very different to those our fruit trees evolved with.
When I plant a fruit tree I always think on where in the world that fruit tree has come from; what sort of climate and environment did it evolve in; what was the guild of plants, animals, microbes, birds and insects that were part of its family… and how can I recreate that situation as close as possible in my garden. ‘Design Your Own Ochard’ talks about that lots more and covers the guild each tree belongs to and needs to grow well. I suggest if you are going to be planting an orchard you get yourself a copy of my book and study that first.
We must also pay very careful attention to how we plant our trees, it makes a huge difference!
Koanga Tree Planting Instructions
The aim of these instructions is to make sure you end up with a strong healthy tree that grows a main frame fast and is capable of producing high brix crops for many years.
1.) Dig a hole 1x1x1m for each tree, that is a 1 cubic metre hole for each tree. If you are on heavy clay or soil that does not drain, you will have to put drainage out the bottom of your hole, and if you are unable to do that you may have to build your tree space partly up above the existing soil surface.
2.) As you dig out the soil, separate topsoil from subsoil.
3.) Mix your top soil 50/50 with compost. You must use high quality aerobically made compost – that excludes all the municiple compost available in shops as far as I know, you have to get organised and make it yourself, or you could use well composted hay or well rotted bark etc.
4.) If you have your own compost, and it has been made aerobically using high brix plant and animal ingredients, and you have also added minerals (especially calcium and phosphate), and seaweed, then you may not need to also add fertiliser. I would suggest you still add paramagnetic rock dust to get the current flowing and things moving.
5.) If you don’t have high quality aerobic, highly mineralised and biologically active compost, we suggest you add 5kg of EF Soil-Force mixed throughout the topsoil/compost mix, or sprinkled in layers throughout the hole per tree. EF Soil-Force contains Sechura R.P.R. (soft rock phosphate) and provides valuable Calcium, Phosphorus and trace elements which are composted with Humic Acid, fish protein, 4 different seaweeds, Lucerne Dust, animal manures and a highly paramagnetic Basalt Rock Dust (CGS4400). It is also inoculated with beneficial bacteria and soil fungi (e.g. Azobacter, Trichoderma, Bacillus Subtillus and Bio-Vam Mycorrhizal fungi). Leave this mix for 3 weeks before planting your trees.
6.) Plant your tree into the hole so that it is sitting in the soil at the same level as it was in the nursery or pot previously, and making sure it is on a small mound, so that as the soil in the hole settles your tree will not be in a hollow!
7.) Your tree will also grow better and perform better if you plant it so that the strongest roots face into the South. Trees roots will have aligned already in the nursery with the magnetic field of the earth, which means the strongest roots will face south, so if you can also plant it facing this direction, your tree will perform better and be happier! From now on all Koanga Gardens Brand fruit trees will have a paint dot on the North side of the tree so you can also check how to plant it.
8.) Make a berm at a radius of 1m around the tree to hold all the nutrients, mulch and moisture inside it. You may have to breach this berm in the Winter so that it does not hold water inside and drown the tree! After year 2 it won’t be necessary to maintain the berm.
9.) Sprinkle another kilo of your top class compost out to 1m radius all around the tree or inside your berm, and mulch heavily to suppress weeds over the Summer
or sprinkle 500g of EF Soil-Force to a radius of 1m all around the tree or inside your berm, and mulch heavily to suppress weeds and help maintain moisture over the Summer.
10.) Continue feeding your tree on an annual basis each Autumn after the rains come, using either highly mineralised composted animal manure, or high quality highly mineralised compost, or EF Soil-Force, or other suitable biological fertilisers.
Our advice is to plant only as many fruit trees as you can take care of in this way. Your rewards will outweigh the effort required!
PS: We use and love Environmental Fertilisers products, however the most important thing is to choose minerally balanced and biologically active products.