Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Monday, September 24, 2012

A Tale of Two (New) Trees!

Remember the two trees I took out? And the bomb crater that they left behind, in which I've been toiling for weeks now, digging out rocks and roots, and moving perennials?

I finally got the bed ready, took out all the big roots, and lots of smaller ones as well. A couple of weeks ago Nigel and I traveled up to Big Trees in Snohomish and picked out two new ones.

So what did I choose?

A Paperbark Maple.

And a 'Forest Pansy' Redbud.

This past weekend Nigel dragged out our little electric tiller, and we worked 33 bags of compost into the soil, making it all fluffy. The compost basically disappeared immediately into the sandy soil. I'm hoping it will maybe attract a few earthworms, because one thing I noticed while digging and crawling around on my hands and knees in that bed -- there are no earthworms there. None.

All tilled and ready for trees
My crop of rocks

More small rocks

Amazingly, this pile of rocks also came out of that bed.

And these as well.

And when they planted the trees, they dug up even more rocks!

We went back to Lowe's the next day and bought three more bags of compost, which I'll be working into the soil whenever I plant my shrubs and perennials there. I will undoubtedly need more.

On Monday, with the bed all prepped, a work crew from Big Trees arrived to plant my trees.

We sorted out where they should go, and the crew started digging.

When they had gone as far as they could by hand, they used the forklift to dig even more.
They hauled the redbud off the truck with the forklift

After they set it on the grass, they had to get up into the branches to cut out all the rope that was wrapped around the canopy.

He stood on the forklift tines and was lifted up into the canopy.

Then they stood it upright, and I walked around it deciding which way I wanted it oriented in the bed.

They picked it up again and moved it into the hole.

Then they placed the paperbark maple

They cut away all the ropes and cloth holding the rootball together, and then backfilled the hole halfway with some well-rotted horse manure which they had brought with them, then watered it well, and filled it the rest of the way.
They attached guy wires (actually ropes) and pounded them into the ground. In a year, after it is well-established, I'll remove them. They also added some mycorrhizae to the soil (in the white bucket) to encourage root growth.

The supervisor helped me set up the soaker hoses, including tightening all the faucet and hose connections so there were no leaks (except the ones that should be leaking), and programming it to come on automatically.

Now I just need to get out there and start planting the empty spaces with shrubs and perennials. Good thing Fall is here, with its cooler weather and promised rain. That should help both the trees and all the new plants get well-established.