Seedling projects require maintenance to be successful. Please follow the tips listed below to become a responsible manager of your new forest!
Photos taken 2 months after planting (May 2013) - From top left: Mr. Mueller, Mr. Hardin, and Mrs. Clark with their new seedlings.
We recommend that you mow in rows if the configuration of your seedling planting allows. Do not worry about mowing around each and every seedling. Mowing too close to the shelters often will increase the likelihood of knocking the shelters over or breaking the stakes. Mowing can reduce vegetative competition from surrounding turf grass and also helps to prevent seedling-eating rodents such as voles from running rampant in your planting area. Herbicide can also be used in the immediate area around the shelter to reduce vegetative competition. Mowing as little as 3times a year (i.e.: June, August, and October) is fine if you don't mind taller grass. For more visible planting locations, mowing once a month during the growing season (May through October) may be preferred.
For a larger planting, like this 5-acre project, mowing 3 times a year in rows is perfectly acceptable. We recommend mowing in June, August, and late September or early October.
Stakes & Shelter Maintenance
Our tree planting projects include white oaks stakes, often pressure-treated, that will last several years under natural elements. If a stake breaks, it should be replaced so that the shelters remain upright and the trees grow properly. Stakes should be hammered at least 1 foot into the ground to firmly keep the shelters in place. Zip ties connect the shelters to the stakes. Shelters should be embedded at least 1-2 inches into the soil to prevent rodents from entering the shelters. Each shelter also comes with a bird net that should be removed once the trees reach the top of the shelter. Bird nets prevent birds from entering the shelters while the seedlings are still very small.
Seedling growth depends on site conditions, weather conditions, tree species and other variables. Here are some examples of seedling growth over time: Top left - 2 months of growth; top right - 2 years of growth; bottom left - 4 years of growth; bottom right - 6 years of growth (sycamores are very fast-growing with the right conditions!)