TREES PLANTED TILL 21st
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  • Sumant Dhamija
  • Suneela Khosla
  • Deepak Nirula
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How to Plant a Tree

These are general guidelines for Delhi and do not relate to all conditions/trees.

You may also like to consult a horticulturist/local nursery. It is the opinion of Mr Mann, horticulture adviser to the Sultanate of Oman that in secure surroundings, it should be possible to produce a Neem tree directly by putting two or three Neem seeds in a pit and then undertake 'thinning' i.e. removing all but the most robust plant, when the saplings are about a footy high. This will reduce costs.

  1. Plant in the second week of February and in end June/July(after the first few monsoon showers).

  2. The diameter of the pit should be at least X3 times the diameter of the sapling root ball or container or spread of roots(for bare root saplings).

    As a general rule, trees should be transplanted no deeper than the soil in which they were originally grown. The most common mistake when planting a tree is digging a pit which is either too deep or too narrow (or both). If the pit is too deep the roots may not have access to sufficient oxygen to ensure proper growth. If on the other hand it is too narrow then the root structure may not be able to expand sufficiently to nourish and properly anchor the tree.

    Here are some basic guidelines of depth/diameter-
    -Agricultural land- 2'/2'X2'
    -Dry somewhat sandy soil (most of Delhi)- 2.5'/2.5'
    (For Neem/non fruit trees we feel that 2'/2' is sufficient whilst for fruit trees, because they require more nourishment, it is better to have 3'/3')
    -Hard soil- 3'/3'
    -Rock soil- 4'/ 4'
     
  3. As a general rule, trees (Neem etc) should be planted approximately 5 metres from each other. Please take advices for specific varieties.

  4. 4. In areas with a possibility of water logging, dig a hole with a small pedestal of dirt at the centre which prevents the root ball from sitting continuously in water and 'drowning'.



  5. Mix compost/manure with the soil in the ratio of 2/3 soil 1/3 manure for fruit trees and 3/4 soil and 1/4 manure for others. Although not absolutely necessary(and more to do with the condition and quality of soil), you might like to add 250 grams of Neem oil cake per pit. (This is available at around Rs 12 a kilo). You could try other manures on the advices of your horticulturist.

  6. After watering the first time, water again after about an hour in order to remove any air pockets in the pit.

  7. Mix 10 ml Chloropyrophos(anti-termite solvent) with the water and repeat every 2 months till the tree is fully grown. (Chloropyrophos is available at around Rs 250 per litre which will be sufficient for about 100 plantings)

  8. Invest in a secure tree guard if you plant in a public area.

 

Tips

  • Handle the saplings/root ball gently. -Do not bunch, spiral, double-over or bend roots.
  • The pit could be a little deeper on the edges where the excess water can flow and the roots can drink when needed.
  • Loosen the area around the pit to make it easier for the roots to spread and for natural aeration.
  • Do not place the sapling/tree too high or too low in the pit- it should be at the level where the crown(where the stem changes to roots) meets up with the roots.
  • The point where the tree comes out of the ground should be slightly higher. This prevents water from collecting next to the base of the trunk.
  • The compost/manure should be natural . Only after the 1st year should you use artificial/commercial fertilizers, if at all.
  • If dry leaves/bark are easily available (and this is a better option than burning), then cover the pit with 1" to 3" of leaf/bark mulch keeping 3" away from the trunk of the sapling/tree otherwise it will rot. Mulching helps retain moisture and is useful particularly in the hot weather.
  • Water till the roots are established and water deep for deep roots. A long slow trickle of water will water more deeply than a quick flooding/sprinkling.
  • Apart from the monsoon, water weekly for the first year- approximately 3 litres for every foot for Neem/non fruit and much more for fruit trees(please check with your horticulturist).
  • Keep stones and twigs out of the pit as they create air pockets that dry out roots.
  • Tap soil gently but firmly to remove air pockets.

Start your own Neem Nursery

The Neem seed/fruit found in large numbers under Neem trees in the months of June/July should be planted a quarter/half inch under the surface. Basically the depth should be the same size as the seed. No manure/compost is required.

The seed may be planted in rows leaving a space of 4" to 5" between each seed.
We recommend planting the seed in a 6 inch X 6 inch polythene bag (or a jute bag) because of the high mortality rate when digging the saplings for planting. Polythene bags are available at approx. Rs 150 per kilo giving approx. 600 bags of this size or Rs 4 per bag.

The sapling should be planted about 6-8 months later when it has reached a respectable height- approx. 1 foot.