Total Pageviews

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Cheap Tree Planting

We are all a flutter these days over planting trees to take up carbon dioxide from the air.  Great.  It is not the whole solution but nothing is.  Planting trees is one useful arrow in our quiver.

However, don't produce seedlings for planting.  Simply Truncheon.  Most Deciduous trees in the Northern Hemisphere truncheon beautifully* and it is orders of magnitude cheaper than using seedling.

*Very possibly an adaptation to eons of living with beavers.

Of course if you are the politician who is making the decisions and a nursery company is financing your election campaigns, you will probably go for seedlings.  Likewise if your brother in law runs a nursery.  But,,,,If you truly want the maximum bang for the taxpayers buck, go for Truncheoning

So how do you Truncheon.

First, you truncheon in the wet season or at least when there is a reasonable amount of moisture in the soil where you want to establish a grove, riparian zone or forest.

Given a choice, spring is best when the sap is rising and there is a whole summer ahead for good growth.

Decide which tree you want to plant; say a willow.  Cut  down a willow tree at about waist height.  You want it to coppice (grow out from the stump you have left) since it will  be a source for more truncheons in the future.

Cut the whole tree into forearm length pieces from the trunk to the smallest branches.  Pile the pieces into your pick up truck, cover with some wet sacks and head to the area you want to plant.

You will need a sledge hammer, a straight steel bar about a meter and a half long, sharpened at one end, a sharp axe or hatchet and a sharp knife.  You might want to take along a balk of wood to use as a chopping block.when you are sharpening the bottom of the larger pieces with your axe.  Optional is a can of PVC paint that you have lying around from your latest DIY project.

When you get to the site, put out your chopping block and start to sharpen the lower end of all the large pieces with your axe.  Use your knife or axe to strip one thin strip of bark from one side of the truncheon along the lower third of the truncheon.  Where this is in contact with the soil, roots will form.

Your friends who have come along for the experience can pound these pieces into the ground.  If the ground is unyielding, drive the steel bar repeatedly into the same hole. rotating it around to open up the hole and facilitate pulling the bar out of the hole.  Then pound  the truncheon into the hole.

For the smaller fore arm length pieces, no need to sharpen them.  Just strip a thin strip of bark from the lower third of the truncheon.  Drive the Steel bar into the ground until you have made a hole as deep as a third of your thinner truncheons and drop in the truncheon.  Heel it in.

Presto chango, you have created a grove of trees.  You may have to protect them if you have deer or rabbits in the area but you have local knowledge and will know of any special problems in your neck of the woods.  Here in New Zealand where rabbits are a serious problem, they put little plastic shields about 40cm high around each grape vine they plant.

Oh, and if you want, you can paint the  top of any  truncheons that have a cut top with the PVC paint.  This reduces evaporation and may help the growth of the truncheon in dryer areas.  Paint half and leave half and see if there is any difference.  It is worthwhile applying a couple of coats of paint.

No comments: