Do I need to dig around the tree trunk circles?
The controversy surrounding the digging of the tree-trunk circle of fruit trees has been, is and will be for a very long time, probably as long as the gardens exist. Only relatively recently the debate about what to do with garden aisles has subsided: either iron them with tractors, compacting the soil and blowing humus with wind to a neighbor on the field, or still mow the grass at an early stage, until it gives seeds. Everything is clear here - they decided to mow and seem to put an end to; but digging near-trunk circles is a completely different matter.
- Variants of the content of the tree trunk circle of fruit trees
- Pros of digging the tree trunk
- Cons digging soil in the near-tree strip of fruit trees
- When to dig a tree trunk circle?
Variants of the content of the tree trunk circle of fruit trees
In fact, there are a lot of options for keeping the tree trunk around the fruit tree, there is black steam (digging), sodding, and mulching, and each of these events has both pros and cons. For example, digging the soil in the near-trunk strip and the same mulching can be combined, including watering and fertilizing, while increasing the efficiency of these agricultural practices.
But without doing anything, you can also get nothing. Usually having read various sites, the gardener, having weighed all the pros and cons, comes to some sort of consensus. And his physical abilities help him in this (alas, not everyone has the strength to dig up trunk trunks as well).
Pros of digging the tree trunk
Let's start with the benefits of digging the trunk of absolutely any fruit tree. First of all, and this is, perhaps, the most important thing, when digging a trunk near all kinds of pests, settled there for the winter.
After all, what do we do: first we remove from the trunk circle all branches, foliage, all kinds of garbage, fallen fruits, and then only grab a shovel and dig it up. That is, all that where “spider bugs” could hide is no longer there, it is piled up and burning somewhere at the end of the garden.
In addition, if the garden this year suffered from the effects of pests, digging the soil without using humus mulching can literally freeze out the wintering stages of pests and diseases, those that were decided not to winter in fallen leaves or exfoliated parts of the wood, namely in the soil layer, just at the depth of its digging (10-15 centimeters). Only in this case, the soil after digging should not be leveled, even if it is so loosened (that is, in lumps).
The next undoubted plus is soil aeration: digging the soil, even at a seemingly insignificant depth, of some 10-15 centimeters, we significantly increase both the air exchange of the soil and its water exchange, as well as breaking the soil crust. Consequently, moisture can freely enter the soil and its surplus, which there are really a lot this year, will evaporate, the roots can consume substances dissolved in water. Indeed, in order for the processes to take their course, not only water and the substances dissolved in it are needed, but also air.
Plus the third: by digging the soil we eliminate absolutely all competitorsthat can compete with a tree (or even an adult tree) in the struggle for food and moisture. And this, of course, is a variety of weeds, and a number of them, such as, say, a dandelion or wheat grass creeping, are very voracious. And if the tree is in the country house, where you do not often visit, rarely feed and only water the soil from time to time, then eliminating them completely is a big plus for the plant, as if it would breathe a sigh of relief and stop sharing moisture and food (sometimes very scarce ) with your rivals.
On fat soils, with a lack of area (and it, consider it, is always not enough) can grow fast growing shade-tolerant crops, greens, radishes, in particular, while the plant is still young and, naturally, while providing the crop with enough nutrition and moisture. But before that, you need to prepare the soil well, dig it up, fertilize, make beds and the like, that is, it should be perfect and nutritious black steam.
Cons digging soil in the near-tree strip of fruit trees
It seems that everything is rosy, and we clutch at the shovel, however, there may be disadvantages from such an active pressure.
The most common minus is that with a swipe sticking a bayonet spade over the entire length, we injure the root system of plants. Remember: it is better to dig the soil in the near-mouth zone to a depth of 10-15 cm, then there is no need to continue. You can either bare the roots or damage them: they can freeze bare in the winter, and through damage, like through an open gate, an infection can easily penetrate. There is nothing you can do about it, but you must agree that this is not the minus of the method itself, but of the gardener, especially the untrained beginner, who, having read these very lines, will not do so anymore.
The second minus is, oddly enough, but frequent digging may not improve, but degrade soil quality, especially in years accompanied by frequent winds and droughts: from the dug up soil, the wind will be trivial to demolish the nutrient layer. But there are many nuances: firstly, what is the soil on your site: if it is black soil, then what’s called “blowing off” the nutritional upper layer will be only a hurricane, but then everything will suffer, and not just this tree. And if the soil is light and sandy, then digging there may not be necessary at all, that is, in principle, you can get by with trivial loosening to break the soil crust.
Severe moisture loss, this is another reason that it is better not to touch the soil. This again applies to residents of cottages: if you water the soil a little, but often struggle with weeds, loosening and digging the soil, you yourself do not want to, stimulate increased evaporation of moisture from its surface and even deeper layers, which, naturally, leads to depletion of moisture in the soil, and plants on such an “ideal” near-stem circle begin to dry out due to lack of moisture. And again, this is not a problem of digging the soil, but the problem of the summer resident himself: well, who prevents the installation of a drip irrigation system or good soil with moisture after each digging. Forgive me, but if you have enough strength to dig the soil in the near-trunk strip, then, quite possibly, you will have enough strength to water this very tree! In addition, if the soil is not dug up, then, say, a small or medium-long rain does not absorb into the soil, but flows down the soil crust, while the dug up soil has at least risks, but there is every chance of enrichment with moisture too.
And finally - digging the soil in the autumn, especially in newly planted plants and stone fruits, can lead to a banal freezing of the root system, and this is very dangerous and can cause the same infections, as well as lead to the death of the plant as a whole. Although, whoever prevents the soil from mulching after this digging, the mulch will penetrate into slightly deeper layers, cover with snow, and when the snow melts, it will turn into the first food for the very young plants that will be happy with such a gift and use it while you are using impassable dirt you still don’t get to the plants.
So, most gardeners are still digging the soil in the near-trunk zone of fruit trees, but wisely!
When to dig a tree trunk circle?
Most fruit growers for keeping the near-stem circle clean and digging it, that is, for black steam under an apple tree or pear, cherry or plum, and so on. In this case, one-time digging of the soil is not enough to decide, for the season it is better to carry them out four or even five times.
Usually the first time the trunk circles are dug up in the early spring, when the snow is melting and the soil is warming up. Digging at this time allows you to quickly warm up the soil to a greater depth, and then just wait a week, let it warm up well, and you can safely mulch it with compost with a layer of a couple of centimeters, giving plants additional nutrition. In addition, compost, which they began to forget about, will slow down the growth of weeds, and the evaporation of moisture will reduce, and further overheating of the soil will reduce. Combining soil digging with composting can also be done with fertilizers, for example, nitroammophoski in liquid form (a tablespoon in a bucket of water and a couple of liters under a tree).
At the same time, try to dig the soil not directly at the trunk itself (it’s dangerous to do this in the bones, there is a sensitive root neck: moisture will collect and the neck will begin to shed), because here, basically, there are thick roots holding the plant, and a little further away 12-15 cm from the trunk (absorbent, most active roots are often located in this zone). The benefit from such (correct) digging will be maximum.
Important! When digging the soil around a tree, place a shovel with an edge (along the growth of the roots, and not across their growth course), only in this way the risk of injury to the root system of the tree will be minimized.
Spend the second digging of the soil in the middle of summer, combine it with the introduction of potassium sulfate (15-20 g per square meter, also better in liquid form), removing weeds and, if necessary, with watering (in a pair of buckets under a tree). Then you can mulch with compost of 0.5 kg under each tree (after digging).
Important! When making raw compost under the stone plants, try to retreat from the root collar, in order to avoid its aging, 2-3 centimeters, in no case do not pile fertilizers on it, including other types of mulch.
The need for a third digging is usually determined as the weeds clogged the weeds and soil compactionalso carry out the removal of weeds and fertilizers, but this time wood ash (a source of potassium and trace elements, as well as soot) or soot 250-300 g for each plant. You can also mulch the plants with compost, one kilogram each.
The fourth digging of the soil can be carried out in September, it is permissible to combine it with water-loading irrigation, pouring 5-6 buckets of water under each plant for three or four days. At the end (after digging), so that the moisture does not evaporate, you can also mulch the surface with compost one and a half centimeters thick. Compost mulching can help protect roots that are accidentally damaged when digging soil.
The final digging of the soil, which we already get fifth, we can do just 5-7 days before the onset of the period with stable negative temperatures. Here you need to rid the near-stem circle of all plant debris, dig it up and mulch it with humus, a layer of 4-5 cm, in order to save the roots from freezing.