Maintenance seedlings on your forestry garden is necessary for healthy trees.
The following are some tips offered on how to accomplish this task.
You have gone to all the trouble and expense to select the proper species of seedlings.
You have then planted them in the areas that you want to reforest.
There are certain gardening tips that you need to do in order to produce healthy trees.
The seedlings do not require a lot of time and effort like a vegetable garden does, but there are some things that you should do.
Steps to have healthy trees
Your seedlings need the sunlight to grow.
If you have planted a shade tolerant species they don't require a lot, but they do like to have some.
If you selected the type that require a lot of light then it is very important that you make sure they get it.
If the seedlings don't get the needed amount of light it can stunt the growth and even cause them to die.
So make sure they see the light.
The surrounding vegetation will rob the seedlings of the needed food they need to grow strong and healthy.
The soil only has so much to offer in it so limit the depletion of this by doing away with what you don't want to grow.
It is possible to use a chemical for this task, but I am not much in favor of this method on my small forestry garden.
I feel that the possible harm to my seedlings is too great of a risk.
So I elect to use the method that gives me a lot of exercise.
I weed my garden by hand.
I have tried the power machine methods for the maintenance seedlings
It is more difficult to control just what you are cutting with these machines.
If your area is level enough perhaps these methods will work well for you.
After destroying a couple of my seedlings I elected to go back to using the machete.
This is a piece of equipment that I can control easier.
The machete is nothing more than a large knife.
With this tool as you are performing your maintenance seedlings you have to be extremely careful when using it.
A safer alternative is the Swedish brush axe pictured above.
This does the same job but is a lot safer in operation.
Whatever tool you choose to use you need to be careful to only cut that which needs cutting.
Now it becomes apparent as to what role the three or four foot stakes play.
It is easy for you to tell just where your young seedlings are as you are clearing the vegetation out of your garden.
Often this surrounding vegetation will be taller than the seedlings so without something marking the location it is possible that you will destroy some of your valuable seedlings.
Not a good thing to do.
You can and may decide to give your seedlings some help by the application of fertilizer.
This can be done and is a common practice of the larger timber companies.
This makes for a more rapid growth of the seedlings into a mature tree and is cost effective for them to practice this method.
If you elect to do this make certain you apply the correct type and amount.
Too much can do more harm than good.
When your seedlings get some growth on them and start to turn into a more mature tree it is time to prune the lower branches off.
This makes for a more eye appealing forestry garden and is part of the maintenance seedlings that needs done.
If left on their own mother nature will prune a lot of these limbs.
If you observe a stand of trees it will be apparent that the lower branches are dying out.
I like to make sure that the limbs come off so I prune them.
When you prune the limbs make sure you do this in the time of year that is the dormant time for the tree.
Trim the limb close to the trunk and when the diameter is increased on the trunk the knot will be absorbed into the tree and when turned into lumber there will not be a defect.
When you prune the limbs off the tree up to where you can reach with a pole saw you have helped to eliminate the fire hazard.
Make sure you leave at least the top 1/3 of the tree with branches.
If a fire goes through your tree stand it will not go up the tree if there isn't anything to burn.
The bark on the tree will withstand the heat of the fire without going into flame.
If you neglected to trim the lower branches off the tree the fire can and does go up the tree into the top and then jumps from one tree to the next.
This can destroy all of your hard work and dreams in a very short period of time.
Do not worry about the debris that collects on the ground around the tree base.
This is the natural nutrient for the tree and is the natural fertilizer for the tree.
Each and every year it will decompose and leach down into the ground to be absorbed by the tree roots.
If a fire does go through the mulch is so dense that it normally will not ignite.
So there is some maintenance seedlings that you must perform if you are going to have a healthy eye pleasing forestry garden.
If you follow the forestry gardening tips offered here and on other pages on this site I believe that you can accomplish the goal of having an area that you and others can enjoy for years to come.