Planting Trees




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Scouts should know something about tree planting.  This work is best done by two boys.  One is equipped with a grub hoe or mattock to make holes, the other with a pail of seedlings, the roots of which are immersed in mud the consistency of pancake batter, ready to be inserted in the hole made by the grub hoe or mattock. 

The mattock is probably the best all-around tool for use in planting.  The holes should be dug large enough to permit the roots to lie in a normal position, and the trees to be set the depth that they grew before.  The boy who digs the holes should leave the dirt at the side of the hole in order to assist the planter.  After the holes are dug, the trees should be set immediately to prevent the soil from drying, and inserted slightly deeper than they were in the nursery to allow for the loose ground over them to settle.  The seedlings should be set upright, of course. 

The moist mineral soil should be firmed about the roots to help the tree to resist the loosening action of the wind.  Grass or manure should not come in contact with the roots.  No part of the foliage of the tree should be covered with soil or sod.  The usual distance to plant seedlings is about six feet apart each way.  The nut trees, as well as oak and catalpa have a lone fleshy tap-root, about one-third of which should be cut off before the tree is set out in the field.

Hard-wood trees are best transplanted before budding.  When the season has advanced so that young leaves appear on the tree to be transplanted, it is best to keep as much earth around the roots as possible.  This can be accomplished by digging around the roots so as to leave a ball of earth which can be held in place with bags.  When trees of this kind are transplanted with little delay, and watered after planting, the losses should be very small. 

Evergreen trees may sometimes be bought in small lots from nurseries.  They are sometimes shipped in bundles, and they should immediately be dipped in pails of water when they arrive. At no time should be roots become dry.  When the stock is to be planted, mix up a pail of soft mud, dip the roots in it.  This is called "puddling." The trees are then ready to be planted. 






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Last modified: October 15, 2016.