Like several species of British fauna, many tree varieties are also dormant in the winter. This provides an opportunity to plant bare-root trees during this season. ‘Bare-root’ refers to trees grown in the soil, rather than containers, then lifted, transported, and re-planted during their dormant period.
The benefits of planting bare-root trees are manifold. It allows you to spend less effort and money to plant a tree, because outside of any container the tree is lighter, thus easier to move and cheaper to deliver. This does mean that the tree must be delivered and planted during its dormant season, usually November-March, depending on the weather, but for many in agriculture, this is the ideal time for jobs that cannot be done at any other time of year.
Bare-root trees are also more environmentally friendly than trees grown in containers. As they are grown in the soil, they are peat-free and need less watering. They are not grown in a container, so plastic can be cut out of their production.
Why plant trees?
Far from having only aesthetic value, trees are an integral part of the British landscape. However, it is only in more recent years that we have fully understood the scope of their advantages. Organisations such as the Woodland Trust offer funding of up to 100% for agroforestry schemes, because of their many benefits.
In the large scale, agroforestry contributes to climate change mitigation by removing more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, as well as preventing flooding and soil erosion. The deep roots of trees stop large amounts of soil washing away in heavy rain. For the individual farm, more trees will increase wildlife and improve the overall health of the soil. This means that less fertiliser is required and pesticides are less necessary, thanks to the pest control from the increased number of birds. Trees add to the welfare of livestock, giving shade in the summer and shelter in the winter, as well as the opportunity for a good scratch! This all contributes to enhancing farm productivity.
Silvoarable farming schemes are beginning to gain traction in the UK. This is the practice of planting single rows of fruit trees between lines of cereal crops. This allows farmers to diversify their crop in a smaller area while also protecting the soil and encouraging pollinators vital to farming.
Considerations for planting trees
Every tree is different so finding which species is right for you must consider several factors. Most trees are sensitive to soil type, light, aspect and moisture, so you need to check this before committing to a specific species. You should also take into account the height and width the tree is likely to reach and plan accordingly. Fruit trees often need compatible trees nearby for pollination so if you have limited space, it would be wise to choose a small or narrow variety.
Though there are many species to choose from, most organisations would encourage planting native species. They are specially adapted to cope with the British climate, and sourcing trees from within the UK negates the risk of importing or spreading foreign tree pests or diseases. These species are also best suited to our native wildlife.
Planting more trees requires a different way of managing the land. Farm Tech Supplies has a range of equipment for compact tractors, which is ideal for working in a more restricted space, such as the Winton and Agrint compact flail mowers. These mowers are compact enough for all but the smallest of spaces. When you need a more manoeuvrable mower, we have a range of both manual and hydraulic side-shift flail mowers, which can be positioned as required to reach all those awkward spaces. Prior to planting, the ground must be broken up if it is compacted, so why not take a look at the selection of rotovators available. And of course, once you plant a tree, it needs to be maintained. For a strong cut the Winton flail hedge cutter is ideal, but if you prefer a neater trim, the Deleks hedge trimmer is for you. Contact us today to find out more about our products and services.