Last week saw us complete the first phase of the new Sasson Walk project. This involved the planting of twenty Yew trees lining the pathway which links the herbaceous beds and the temple garden, thus uniting the garden. The plants chosen are a compact upright form of Yew known botanically as Taxus baccata 'Fastigiata Robusta' which is quite slow growing. So how did we do it?
- First we measured out the ground accurately so as to determine that each tree was correctly placed and spaced. ( A bit of eye work needed as well as the tape!). Next we placed a stake in the middle of each pair of trees to determine the centre of the planting pit.
- Then we worked out the radius of the planting pit (60cm) and marked a circle out taken from the central stake. After this the turf was lifted and discarded. It is important with young trees that a clear soil space is maintained around the plants for a couple of years as grass is heavily competitive for water and nutrients.
- Next it was time to dig out to a depth of one and a half times the size of the rootball, thus creating a deeper pit of cultivated soil to aid root establishment. Soil was placed to one side to refill with. On a heavy clay soil you would always spike the insides of the pit with a border fork to help roots penetrate. Bonemeal fertiliser was then added and incorporated to the soil, this again aids root development.
- Time to plant now. Plants were placed in the pits, their roots loosened slightly and we back-filled with soil always firming with the heel of a boot as we did it. This ensures that soil does not sink excessively after planting and ensures that plant roots are in direct contact with the soil, (very important). We also inserted a piece of narrow gauge black water pipe to the depth of the root system for direct watering later on.
- To finish off the soil level was raised slightly to allow for settlement, and plants will also be mulched with leaf mould later in the autumn. All that was left to do at this point was water the plants in.
- Et Voila! No staking of trees was necessary in this instance. Follow up care will include a dressing of balanced fertiliser each spring and regular watering for the first two years to aid establishment. Trees like this will need clipping for shape in time but it may only be necessary every second year.