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planting on raised ground

Posted by Chad Armentrout 
planting on raised ground
March 25, 2018 07:25PM
I have a 250 tree orchard in a river valley. I have a high water table. After losing many trees to drowning, I have decided to use raised beds, for planting my trees. I have used four 3 ft ash logs as the border for the raised bed. My plan is to lay the roots of the tree on the ground and cover with topsoil. The logs will keep the soil from washing away and the roots will naturally embed themselves into the ground. I have decided this as a last resort for the wettest parts of the orchard, where the traditional tree hole has failed.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 03/25/2018 08:12PM by Chad Armentrout.
Re: planting on raised ground
March 25, 2018 08:06PM
I have posted an image of raised bed in photo bucket under grow organic apples.
Re: planting on raised ground
March 25, 2018 09:12PM
what is the thickness of the logs?

Brampton Lake Orchards

Zone 4a Upper Michigan
Re: planting on raised ground
March 25, 2018 09:46PM
I made 55 boxes from dead ash trees on my land. Most of the logs are 8 inches and greater.


Stillwater Valley Orchard and Apiary
Zone 6
Southwest Ohio
Re: planting on raised ground
March 26, 2018 01:27PM
not to rain on your parade, but 8" isn't very much height. spreading out the roots in an 8" plot of soil probably isn't going to do the trees much good. The roots will need to go much deeper than that?

Pat

Brampton Lake Orchards

Zone 4a Upper Michigan
Re: planting on raised ground
March 26, 2018 03:01PM
The roots will lay on top of the ground inside the box. Top soil and mulch will be placed on top of roots. The roots will root into the soil and do what roots do without a hole. The roots will more than likely go underneath the logs in their pursuit of nourishment. The only purpose of logs is so the soil will not wash away in the beginning before roots hold it together. The logs will also provide many biological inputs as well. This method is well documented throughout the internet. Some say their trees do better with this method rather than sitting in a hole. Its not conventional, but conventional destroyed many of my trees. Just trying a different way. I will document succsess or failure throughout growing season. Due to high water table and heavy clay soil the main thing I want to accomplish is that the crown of the tree is not sitting in wet cold clay in anaerobic conditions. Hopefully, having the crown at soil level when parts of the orchard are less than ideal, will allow me to have healthy trees, rather than dead ones. Have given it more thought, I have also decided that I will use a broad fork to open the soil where I will place the tree roots at soil level. This should help the rooting of the tree significantly.

Chad Armentrout
Stillwater Valley Orchard and Apiary
Zone 6
Southwest Ohio



Edited 7 time(s). Last edit at 03/26/2018 03:45PM by Chad Armentrout.
Re: planting on raised ground
March 30, 2018 04:23PM
Chad, I must applaud you for trying a method that is not a very common situation as most people are on high ground. I also must applaud you because an orchard of 250 trees is a huge undertaking especially if they are in raised beds. Where I live here in Wisconsin, water surrounds my land. We live in a river bottom so everything has a high water level and mostly every spring, we get water in our basement (old farmhouse). The river is maybe 300ft away and the bayou (yes a bayou in Wisconsin is pretty common as it is an old river channel) is maybe 1,000 ft away. The only raised land is where the house/barn stands and a couple acres of land. All of my apple trees are on high ground but I will be planting some in some soil that is not too dry to be fair. The soil is a clay like soil but when I tested the soil this past summer I found I had a silty loam which is prime for agricultural crops. Anyways, I think your idea is a great one. There is nothing much else a person like us can do about a high water level for planting trees at least. I've been trying to stay away from drought resistant rootstock. Dwarf rootstock may be even better as the roots don't go down as deep as a standard would. Something to think about.
Re: planting on raised ground
April 02, 2018 08:50AM
Thank you, Henry, for the words of encouragement concerning the raised bed planting. Yes, high water tables, and clay can be challenging. All considered, I would rather have too much water, rather than none. Good idea trying to stay away from drought resistant root stock. All my rootstock is MM111. Probably not the best for high water table. I planted two Black Oxford trees two days ago with this raised bed method and I felt good about the method. I believe the trees will thrive in this environment. They have bottom land soil, plenty of sunshine and water. The key is to get the crown out of standing water that sits around for too long. The rest of this years trees are coming soon from Trees of Antiquity. I anticipate their arrival and planting them in this method. I will keep posting on methods efficacy.
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