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I am from the Sunny Side Community Garden and Food Forest in Bloomington, IL.  We just grafted 30 apple and pear trees and am trying to decide how to plant them.  Long story short... In the short term we are planting them in what we call a "nursery".  They may or may not be moved. Extension Advisor said that we should make a raised bed with compost, peat and wood chips.  So, I am thinking hugelculture.  Any advice.

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Good to hear from you Janice. My knee-jerk thoughts on this is that it is not a great idea. If you do dig them up to transplant there is a strong possibility that the roots will have grown right into some of the pieces of wood which will require breaking them to extract the plant.  If you do keep them in the same spot the wood rots away over time and the soil settles right underneath the tree leaving some roots exposed if soil is not added at the base each year. 

If there is a chance that the trees will not be moved then just plant them in the existing soil but give them a good surface dressing of woodchips well beyond the dripline as the trees grows. As the woodchips break down they provide a constant supply of compost tea with every rain or watering.

My two cents...Cheers... Bill

Thanks, I didn't think of that.  That's why it is good to have this forum.  We will just make a bed of compost and peat and chips.  Thanks Bill.

That's my thought too. The delicate new roots will grow into and around the chunks of the hugleculture. I would keep a couple of Apple trees there though then put the others in a nursery as outlined by the instructor for later transplant.
(Hey Bill, still at it.)

Thanks. I will just make the nursery bed.


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