ForestrypediaGeneral Silviculture

Planting Techniques on Special Sites

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The first point to be decided in any tree plantation venture is the Species Selection. This would depend on the elevation of the location, because trees that grow in high elevation may not grow well in lower elevation and vice versa. In a mountainous area, elevation plays a very important role in the success or failure of a species.

Low Elevation Zone

100 meters to 750 metes (333’-2500’). The fast-growing that do well in this zone are:

  1. Tectona grandis          ( Teak)
  2. Gmelina arborea ( Gamari)
  3. Melia composita ( Ghora neem)
  4. Terminalia myriocarpa ( Hollock)
  5. Artocarpus chaplasa ( Sam)

High Elevation Zone

1500m-2000m, (5000’ 6666) or up to suitable cultivable limit
The species suitable for this zone ar

  1. Pinus spp.                          (Pine)
  2. Betula alnoides                              (Birch)
  3. Lannea axillaries                           (Naga neem)
  4. Cedrella                             (Poma)
  5. Alnus nepalensis               (Alder)
  6. Melia composita                            (Ghora neem)


Seeds should be collected from healthy, mature, and vigorously growing trees. Different Trees mature and produce seed at different seasons of the year; hence, it is good to know the fruiting and ripening seasons of different Trees to enable collection of seeds   in good time.
Tectona grandis (Teak)          ripens in November to January
Gmelina arborea (Gamari)          “          June to August
Melia composita (Ghora neem)                   “          November to January


The seeds should be completely dry if they are to be stored for more than a few weeks. If the seeds are not dry, they will ‘respire’ actively in their bags or basket containers and would generate enough heat to destroy the delicate embryo in each seeds.


Some seeds have hard seed cover for which it becomes difficult for water to seep into the embryo quickly. If water does not seep into the embryo, the seeds will not germinate. Therefore, seeds with such hard coats like Teak/Gamari/Ghora neem/Naga neem/ etc. may be soaked in water till signs of sprouting are detected in the seeds. Different seeds will need different periods of soaking and with little practice, the correct amount of time for proper soaking can be found out. To find out whether the seed are fertile or not, a small quantity may be thrown into burning charcoal (without flames) and fertile ones will sputter or explode which will indicate fertile seeds.



It is very necessary to locate the nursery near the plantation site. The nursery should be located as far as possible in a flatland, near water source. Try to locate the Nursery on the Northern, Western aspects of a Hill slope; try to avoid Southern Aspects on hill slope because of too much sunshine and heat. The nursery beds must not be allowed to become dry after the seeds are sown. In the hotter Plain sector of Nagaland, seed can be germinated even during the winter months, in such a case the nursery beds may have to be watered. The nursery beds should be well drained, there should be no stagnancy of water.

Soil Working :

The nursery site should be clear felled of all vegetation if the Nursery is a new one. The jungle clearance may be done during winter to early Spring season preferably before Weeds ripen their fruits so that weeds may be decreased in the Nursery beds, it burns of the seeds the Weeds and other undesirable plants.
It is desirable to plough or hoe the soil in the winter and allow it to weather for some time. The Nursery beds may be raised if the area is plain to ensure good drainage, in hill sides it may be a little sunken to conserve moisture though during very heavy rain there is possibility of it getting flooded if drainage is not made

Nursery bed size :

The ploughed soil can be organized into beds of 1 metre wide, 15 cms high, 10 metres long, or as long as the topography would allow. The soil in the nursery should be worked into a compact, smooth, and fine textured consistency. If the nursery in flatland it should be separated by a pathway of 30 cms, so that the beds can be weeded by standing on the pathway.

Seed sowing:

The seeds may be sown evenly spread over the beds, and a thin layer of fine soil is spread evenly over the seeds. This type of sowing may be done very small sized seeds of Hollock, Betula, Alder, Cedrella, Bogipoma etc.  For bigger sized seeds, a small straight furrows across the length of the bed may be made in the beds with a light dibble or a wooden stick and the seeds sown in the furrows and covered up with soil.

How deep must the seeds be sown? :  The Thumb Rule is to bury the seeds at the depth of the seeds’ diameter.

Moisture/Temperature of the Beds :

Moisture and temperature of the soil in the Nursery beds are very important factors for germination of the seeds. To achieve this, the beds may be covered with transparent polythene sheets with it’s ends weighed down by small stones or clods of soil. This will prevent moisture loss through evaporation and increase the temperature of the nursery beds, though in practice this is easier said than done. It is more practical to expose the beds to the Suns to water the beds to maintain the correct moisture level in the nursery beds.

Time of Sowing :

It is not easy to store seeds in bulk for planting in March-April, the best size of the seedling is about thumb or toe sized. To achieve this size the seeds may be sown in February-June, but most of the trees have not yet produced their seeds then and hence the seeds must collected the previous year. Thus to have optimum planting ,materials, the nursery should and must be sown one and half year before the year of plantation.

The best time of Sowing :

The best time to sow the seeds is just after a shower. Normally in Nagaland, every month experiences at least one rain, and seeds sown in the nursery just after a rain in the month give very good result. It is therefore very important for a Tree Planter to have a very intimate knowledge of the weather of the locality. Some villagers say that seeds sown during the full moon is very successful.
Some species like Gomari produces ripe fruits in June-July and if immediately sown after the ripe fruits fall to the ground, they may be ready for planting in the next March-April, usually in the markedly seasonal hill areas of Nagaland, it takes more than one year to produce the planting materials.

Fertility of the nursery :

For proper growth of the seedling a fertile soil is desirable, but when soil in the nursery is more fertile than the plantation site, the plants do not fare very well initially in the first year of the plantation but how successfully the plants have grown in the first year determines the success and failure of the Plantation. Therefore, raising of seedlings from normally fertile soil would be best suited in the field condition. In Nagaland, normally it is not necessary to add manure to a new nursery to ass manure to a nursery except for the nurseries which have been used for several years.

Weeding in the Nursery :

Nursery cannot be weeded when the tree seedlings have not yet established their root system properly. If weeding is done, at this time the seedling would be uprooted. This is the reason why at the time of preparing nursery, the plant debris should be burnt thoroughly before original weed plants are burnt. Nursery can be weeded  only when the root system of the seedlings have established properly. Leaves of the mature seedlings individuals may be plucked off to distribute sunlight to other smaller seedlings, so that all seedlings attain equal size.

Quantity of seeds in a Nursery Bed :

Greater the number of seeds planted in a bed, smaller will be the size of the seedling at the time of planting. To get quality sized seedling (thumb size), the seed may be sown broadcast in the Nursery bed and then when they are few leaves old, some may be pricking out so that the remaining may be spaced at about 3-4 cms apart. The pricked out seedling may be planted in other prepared sites.


Tree Planting Methods

This document is part of a series that includes steps for choosing trees, selecting a site, and planting. When planting trees:
Dig – Dig a hole 1-2′ wider than the root system. The hole should be as deep as the root ball. Loosen the soil around the hole in an area 3-5 times the width of the root system. Use a garden fork to facilitate root penetration.
Locate first root – Find the first main-order root by probing into or removing the growing medium. The root flare is where multiple, thick, horizontal roots, about 1/3-1/2 the size of the stem, join the stem. Prune adventitious or encircling roots. These are horizontal roots, which turn inward and grow around the stem. If the tree is root-bound by small, thin roots, slightly cut the “net.” Make criss-cross cuts on the bottom and shallow, vertical cuts along the sides of the ball.
Plant – Center the tree in the planting hole, placing the first main-order root within ½-1″ of the final soil or mulch level. Backfill. To avoid air pockets, tamp the soil and tease the root system to ensure contact with the soil. When the hole is ¾ full with backfill, add water to remove remaining air pockets. Finish back filling, and water thoroughly.
A note for balled and burlapped trees. When planting balled and burlapped trees, do not break up the soil ball. Locate the first main-order root to guide planting depth. Remove as much of the wire cage as possible, and cut or tuck the burlap below the final soil line.
Follow up Deliver 5-7 gallons of water to the newly-established tree once a week during the growing season AND until the ground freezes. Mulch to a depth of 4-6 inches around the tree, and out to the tree’s canopy. Don’t let mulch come in contact with the trunk. Water as needed if natural rainfall does not provide 1-inch of water per week, from April-November, for 1-year per inch of stem diameter.  Water with a sprinkler that simulates fake rain, rather than with a hose end. Water beyond the dripline to encourage root establishment outside of the planting basin.


Now that you have selected the right tree for the right location, handle the tree with great care to the preapproved planting site. Move balled and burlapped trees by the root balls. Take special care to protect the stem, branches and foliage from physical and environmental stresses.

  1. Cut and remove the wire basket; untie twine and burlap and pull away from the stem.
  2. Locate the tree’s trunk flare by careful excavation of extra soil. Use a hose or whiskbroom to expose potential girdling and adventitious roots. Prune off with sharp pruners. If girdling roots are excessive and the tree does not have a prominent trunk flare, return it to the supplier.
  3. Prepare the planting basin depth by determining the distance between the exposed trunk flare and the bottom of the remaining ball. The depth of the basin is dependent on this measurement. If soil has a foul smell and has colors of blue and gray, the soil may not be draining properly.
  4. Use a straight edge (shovel handle) across the basin’s existing grade when measuring proper depth. Raise the tree one inch for each inch in caliper to compensate for future settling (up to 6 inches).

Tree Planting Techniques 2

Prepare planting basin 2-3 times the ball width. The shape should resemble a bowl with sloping sides. Slide or roll the tree into the bowl and check depth, make adjustments, as needed. Remove all packaging material. Prune any exposed or damaged roots with sharp pruners. Backfill with parent soil while watering, using shovel handle to work out air pockets. Do not use foot to compact soil. Construct soil berms outside of the plant’s root ball width. Berms are optional and should be dismantled after six months to encourage root growth outside of the planting basin.
Stake the tree, only when needed, in a triangular configuration, using webbed strapping, not wire and hose. Stakes and strapping must be removed once the tree is rooted and stable. Apply 2-4 inches of seasoned woodchips around the entire planting area up to, but not touching the trunk flare. On young trees, new transplants, and thin-barked species, sudden exposure to direct sunlight can cause “sun scald.” This can be avoided by shading the area with landscape fabric or a plastic mesh product. After care should include one year of intensive monitoring for each inch of stem diameter. This includes remulching, watering (April-November) and use of biostimulants as needed. Trees and forests are crucial to life on our planet. They generate oxygen, store carbon, play host to a spectacular variety of wildlife and provide us with raw materials and shelter. Trees growing in urban areas can enhance the appearance of a neighbourhood, increase property values, attract birds and other wildlife, cleanse the air of pollutants and provide children with an exciting environment in which to play. Studies have also shown that they can enhance our mood, reduce stress and even influence our recovery from surgery.
Any individual, community group, business or statutory provider could carry out tree planting or an urban woodland creation project with some careful planning. This guide provides an outline of the issues that need to be considered when drawing up a plan of action to plant trees and create woods in towns and cities.
The silvicultural principles for tree planting in urban or rural areas differ little, but the creation and maintenance of urban woodland needs some special considerations. More thought has to be given to the effects both on and of people. Each could be a book in itself and the ‘Further reading’ gives more reference material.


It is important to be clear about your objectives from the beginning as this will help you to choose the type of feature, location, tree species and the level of involvement of other people. Do you wish to plant trees to increase the range of plants and animals the biodiversity of the area, provide shelter, enhance the view, provide an area for public recreation, help clean the air or absorb water and reduce run-off?
Remember it may not be possible to cover every objective on one site.

  • Hedges can screen or protect boundaries while providing corridors for wildlife and softening harsh environments.
  • Single trees and clumps can form features in the centre of grassy open areas.
  • Eventually they will develop into splendid parkland trees with an open


Integral to the decision as to what type of feature to create will be the locations you have on which to plant trees. From experience, the Woodland Trust has found that a new wood will have more of a chance of success if it is created at the edge rather than the middle of an urban area. Here it is not the centre of attention and the young trees will have a chance to establish. However in the UK, urban areas continue to spread and housing may quickly surround a small wood created on an urban edge increasing the pressure on the woodland. It is wise to consider this in your design.
Planning permission is not required to plant trees or create a wood as it is classed as an agricultural activity and there is no change of use. But it is worth seeking the support and possibly help of your local authority.


It is important to survey the site and to base your design and tree selection on the findings. Dig a selection of holes across the plot to find out what is beneath the surface. Record where there are areas of rock, rubble, deep soil, clay, sand, open water, compaction, pollution, existing vegetation and wild flowers. Specialist soil analysis may be required on some sites, particularly if they were formerly used for landfill or waste disposal. Look at what tree species, if any, already seem to be doing well on the site or in the immediate vicinity. If you do not feel confident to assess the site, it is essential to seek advice, such as from a local tree nursery, at this critical stage to suggest suitable species.



NAME OF THE TECHNIQUE: At Ralegan Shindi an innovative method of soil conservation is adopted i.e. tree plantation on hill slope along with contour trenching.
NATURE AND PURPOSE OF THE TECHNIQUE: At Naigaon village, the 16 hect. experimental plot developed by Pani Panchayat was very undulating and sloppy. In village Ralegan Shindi about 30% area is undulating. Soil erosion in this area was much more due to sloppy land. Along the spurs of the hill it is not possible to construct any type of structure. In this area the erosion is of the type of sheet erosion, where a thin layer of top soil is lost during rain. To avoid this phenomena, the area was converted into lush green grassland. Along with grass, the velocity of flowing water was checked by small trenches in staggered manner.
Grassland and trenches have helped in soil and water conservation. When there is heavy rainfall, grass acts as a shock absorber and checks velocity of rain drops. This ultimately reduces chances of soil erosion. When water starts flowing along the fields grass and trenches become obstruction for it. Due to the obstruction to the flowing water, velocity reduces and water is collected in the trenches. This allows infiltration of water into the soil. Thus grassland development with trenches along the hill slope helps in soil and water conservation.
WHO WILL ADOPT THIS TECHNIQUE: In Maharashtra state percentage of barren land on the hill top and along the hill slope is quite large. As mentioned above soil cover in this part of land is very less; and agriculture on this land is not possible. People having such type of land, along hill spur can adopt this technique. Also this technique can be adopted on common land or government land.
WHY THIS TECHNIQUE SHOULD BE ADOPTED: Instead of uneconomical agriculture farmers can grow grass in this hilly area and can use that as a fodder for cattle. Farmers can go for dairy development if good quantity and quality of grass is available. Marginal farmers can start small primary industry of compost. Thus he can get some economic returns from the land. On common land village as a whole can work for grassland development and trenching with the intention that this work will increase water availability in their wells. Further degradation of the common or government land will stop. For soil and water conservation this activity will help. Plantation on common land will satisfy basic need of fuel wood.
HOW TO ADOPT THE TECHNIQUE: Adoption of this technique is very simple, cost effective and this does not require any hi-tech knowledge. For trenching, first step is to mark contours on the slopes. The next step is to mark trenches along the contours. Then trenches can be dug along the contours. Width, length and depth can be decided depending upon depth of soil at that place. Spacing of trench row will depend upon slope of land. As slope increases distance bet two rows will be less and vice versa. Along the slopes grassland can be developed with the help of villagers themselves. Trees which will satisfy basic needs of a village will be planted along the down stream side of the trench. Water stored in the trench for a few days and recharge in the soil will be helpful to the trees. Protection of the area with social fencing helps in natural regeneration of the local grass and trees.
For social fencing villagers should come forward, discuss among themselves for development of their village and adopt method of stall feeding for their cattle. If due to certain reasons natural grass regeneration is not good then seeds of some grass and of the trees can be spread.
RESULTS AFTER ADOPTION OF A TECHNIQUE: The results can be stated as under: 1. Soil along the hill slope is protected from erosion due to flowing water. Thus work of soil conservation is done without any special hi-tech technique. 2. Huge biomass is generated which can be used for cattle as fodder, can be used as an organic manure. 3. As flowing water is obstructed, rate of infiltration is increased. In Ralegan Shindi rate of run-off water is decreased, which means there is infiltration of water into the ground. This also can be seen as water levels of wells are increased. 4. Income level from waste land increased.
PROBLEMS IN ADOPTION: It is very difficult to stop grazing and convince the farmers to convert agricultural lands into tree plantation. There are several reasons for it. Main thing is that people are not ready to wait for a long to harvest trees. Also they are not worried about erosion of the land which is not owned by them.
SOLUTION TO THE PROBLEM: In Khalad village where Pani Panchayat is working, the land belongs to the trust and so there was no problem of convincing the people and the trust could wait till harvesting of the trees. In Ralegan Shindi trenching is done on land belonging to the government and on the lands of the farmers who are having big land holdings.
Planting trees and shrubs that have adapted to the desert climate takes a little more care than planting similar species in more temperate areas.
The list of desert-adapted species is long, and includes both evergreen and deciduous trees, as well as herbaceous and woody shrubs.
The Hole for Planting
First, you’re going to need a bigger hole. The planting hole for desert-adapted and drought-tolerant trees and shrubs needs to be three to five times the width of the plant root ball. If you’re going to err, err on the side of bigger, not smaller. For a five gallon pot, make your hole 30 to 65 inches in diameter (with 65 inches being preferred.)
If you actually live in the desert, you are probably going to hit something hard a few inches from the surface. This is caliche (also called hardpan). Caliche is the Spanish name for calcium carbonate which is common to western and southwestern North America. Water cannot drain through caliche.
Unfortunately, you can’t remove all the caliche, unless you have access to a backhoe, and are willing to spend time removing it all and replacing it with topsoil and humus. You should be able to break it up though, or at least punch holes in it with an iron bar or dig deep enough with a poaching shovel. This will allow excess water to drain through to the subsoil and allow paths for the plant roots to expand through.
The next thing you need to do is fill the planting hole with water. This is simply to check the drainage. If it takes more than an hour to drain the hole, you still have caliche preventing drainage. Get the water out of the hole, and try punching through the caliche.
Do not choose a site where the new trees will be in the shade or competing with roots of existing mature trees – the newly planted trees will struggle to grow.

  • A public meeting or meeting of enthusiasts can bring together a host of ideas, dispel concerns and build support. Such meetings require a good chairperson and need clear objectives from the start.
  • Questionnaires or site plans placed in a local library or shop allow people to put forward their own ideas and keep up-to-date without attending meetings.
  • A three-dimensional model will help people visualise the woodland.
  • A ‘community planning’ exercise can help people to understand the costs, opportunities and constraints involved in site design.
  • Fliers posted through doors of adjacent houses will inform neighbours of plans and seek their views.
  • Newspaper articles can draw in specialists or interested parties from further a field, while keeping locals informed of progress.
  • Keep local councillors and community representatives informed of progress as they will be asked about the tree-planting scheme at meetings.

The three underpinning factors to consider throughout the design process are environmental impacts, creation costs and maintenance costs. Planning permission is not required for woodland creation, but the Forestry Commission and Forest Service may require an Environmental Impact Assessment for larger schemes.
Aside from this grant requirement, any responsible body or group should carry out an environmental assessment for each operation considered, screening for potential adverse impacts on the existing environmental features of the site and its surroundings, such as badgers, birds’ nesting sites, ground flora and watercourses. Consider the operation itself and the time of year it will be carried out. To lessen an impact, it may be possible to relocate a path route, alter the timing of an operation or reduce the use of a chemical.
Think about how the planting will look both in the short-term and way into the future. Also consider the layout within the wood itself and how it blends into the surrounding landscape, drawing the design on to an aerial photograph will help with this. Assess, at this stage, how much maintenance each feature will require, and design with safety in mind such as locating paths away from roads, steep drops and water.
Some of the specific issues you could consider at the design stage are as follows:

  • In a woodland setting, single species are best planted in blocks of a minimum of 25 trees, feathered at the edges to blend into the next  block; intimate mixtures can be difficult to manage.Try to avoid unnatural, geometric patterns.
  • Straight lines of trees are easier to maintain in the short-term but can look regimented, planting in wavy lines can reduce this formal appearance.

However the trees will thin themselves over time and develop a more natural pattern, perhaps aided by thinning or restructuring during the maintenance period.

  • Scalloped woodland edges blend more naturally into the landscape and the edges themselves are important wildlife habitats.
  • Remember how wide a tree or hedge will grow. Where you plant that tiny twig will be the centre of a 15-metre diameter mature parkland tree or a 1-metre-wide hedge. Bear this in mind when planting beside roads, boundaries or paths.
  • Open space can be important for wildlife, landscape and recreation.

However remember it will have to be maintained.

  • Blackthorn, holly, gorse and hawthorn provide effective natural barriers, such as at path intersections or on the outside of bends to guide and deflect walkers. Gorse however can be prone to arson.
  • Shrubs and smaller trees planted along paths and boundaries will give a wood a more diverse and colourful appearance, as well as providing a graded edge that more closely mimics natural woodland.
  • Large, standard, specimen trees can be planted sparingly to accentuate viewpoints and create early structure and impact in a newly planted wood. But remember the smaller trees will eventually become the same size.
  • Design good access for maintenance vehicles. For large sites consider laying out a network of rides for timber extraction.


  • Remember that signage will attract vandalism-is it required at all? However most funding bodies will require a credit somewhere on site and the public may need to be reassured that the woodland has open access.
  • Woodland ground flora can be a spectacular sight in springtime. Ancient semi-natural woodland supports a rich community of wild flowers, mosses, lichens and fungi. It is not possible to re-create this natural diversity, and on an urban site you are likely to be starting with a bare area of grass with your newly planted whips pokin out of the ground. If the site was wooded in the past, flowers such as bluebells or wood anemones may appear over time. Plants will also colonise from surrounding hedges or be transported by animals, but many prefer shade and will not appear until the canopy has closed.Wild flowers can also be introduced as seed or small plants. Daffodil, snowdrop and crocus bulbs, while not native, will provide early spring colour in urban settings.

It is essential to decide at the design stage whether you wish to provide public access through your planting. It gives people the opportunity to enjoy the area, however, it will also open the area to vandalism, probably become your largest maintenance cost and require public safety considerations. If you decide to provide public access, consider the following:

  • Paths should follow existing ‘desire lines’ where people traditionally walk through the area. Official Rights of Way are the responsibility of the local council. Consult their access officer, as these will need to be incorporated at the design stage.

In rural areas existing woodland can be expanded or adjacent new woods created by natural regeneration, but this is seldom an option in urban areas. In choosing the type of trees to plant consider:

  1. Which species

The most suitable tree species should have become evident in the site survey. It will depend on soil type and moisture content, aspect and local climate. Take advice on suitability from a local tree supplier, look at what grows well in the neighbourhood or seek further information from one of the recommended books on page 23.

  1. Size and growth rate

How large will the trees become when they are mature? Will they suit the space available, shade houses or the roots affect foundations and roads. How quickly do you want the tree to grow and how long would you like it to survive? In general the quicker the growth rate the shorter the lifespan.

  1. Colour and flowers

Flowers, berries, autumn colours and green needles in winter, what effect are you looking for throughout the seasons? Also consider bark colour and tree shape.

  1. Local provenance and native trees

Native trees grown from seed of local provenance will have a pattern of flowering and fruiting more in tune with the lifecycles of our native birds and other wildlife and will therefore be of greater benefit. Ideally seed should be gathered from a local ancient wood (with permission), come from the next closest source for collection or be available at the local tree nursery. Local seed can be gown in pots or sown directly on site. In an urban wood, however, there may be merit in not being too purist. Introduced trees, such as horse chestnut, walnut or a giant sequoia, can add interest.

  1. Food and wood products

Would you like to produce a crop from the trees? Conkers from the horse chestnut, apples from an orchard, cones from a pine, elderberries or sloes to make wine, wood for timber or firewood, willow for craftwork, hazel for bean poles or spruce for Christmas trees.

  1. Evergreens

Yew and holly are usually bought in pots and are therefore more expensive. They make lovely evergreen features but may well go missing and end up in people’s gardens.

  1. Leaf drop

It is wise not to plant trees that drop large amounts of leaves too close to small ponds or playing fields. Different tree varieties require specific conditions but good ground preparation prior to planting can improve the success rate and reduce the need for maintenance and replacement. Trees require a suitable soil substrate, water, light and nutrients to grow. The ground can be prepared to improve soil drainage and structure and to decrease competition for light, water and nutrients from other plants. It is particularly important where the soil is compacted, drainage is poor or where a dense and high grass sward exists; these will reduce tree growth and survival rates. If you are planting on a ploughed field, consider preparation to help establish ground cover, on other sites you may choose simply to plant straight into the ground.

  • Ripping can be a useful method for large areas. It breaks up densely compacted soils that are often found in urban areas, but be aware it can break up land drains and unearth services.
  • Mounding can reduce weed competition in the first year.A mound of soil is created using a digger and the tree planted into this.This can also be useful in poorly drained areas, however, there is the danger of the pile of soil becoming too dry and the roots being ‘fried’ in the sun.
  • Drain creation can improve the drainage across the site.
  • A dense grass sward can be mowed prior to planting to make the job easier but the resultant rapid growth will increase the competition for nutrients and water. Mowing a wavy row for planting or spot strimming is preferable to cutting the whole site.The latter is the most labour intensive but the best option where vandalism may be a problem as the temptation to walk along a row of cut grass and pull out each tree is often great.
  • Spot spraying with herbicide prior to planting is an alternative to grass cutting. It removes all competition for light, nutrients and water, and allows the tree to be planted more easily into the ground, while mowing only removes competition for light but makes planting simpler. Spraying the whole site may be less effort, but a dead, brown area is particularly unattractive and the overuse of chemicals should have been identified as unreasonable in your environmental impact assessment.
  • It is particularly difficult to establish trees in areas of bracken, laurel or rhododendron growth as they leave noxious chemicals in the soil. In this situation, and on sites where an agricultural crop was previously grown, it may be wise to re-seed the area with a low vigour grass mix, and leave it to establish for at least a year prior to tree planting.This will greatly reduce the need for weed control once the trees are planted.


Planting techniques and stocking densities


  • To plant specimen trees, determine how far apart you want the trees to be when mature. Then decide whether to plant the exact number required or a group that will be thinned in the future retaining the most healthy individuals.
  • To create a hedge, plant trees in a staggered double row 20cm apart.
  • To create an urban wood, the size and the planting density of the trees will depend on whether you want instant impact or slow evolution that might be missed by vandals.

High stocking rates can be used to speed up the canopy closure and gain ‘control’ of a site more rapidly, especially on weedy sites to keep down maintenance costs or where rabbits may cause high losses. One to two year-old trees (40–100cm) planted at 2–2.5 metre spacing is the most common ‘formula’ providing reasonably rapid canopy closure. Older, taller trees will cost disproportionately more, grow more slowly when first transplanted and have a lower survival rate. They are also targets for vandals and may need to be secured to prevent them falling over.
There are many books (including those on gardening) that describe tree-planting methods in great detail. Plant single trees using either pit planting (digging a big hole) for larger trees or notch planting (cutting a slit in the ground and poking the roots in) for smaller trees. Large areas can be planted mechanically.
The most important points to remember are:

  • Don’t let the roots dry out while trees are waiting to be planted.
  • Ensure that the tree is planted to the same depth as in its nursery soil.

Maintenance and establishment
It is prudent to consider the maintenance of the whole area at the design stage. Who will maintain the trees, any tree protection, paths and visitor features? If none of the trees survive, those involved will be disappointed and you might be required to pay back any grants received. The first five years are crucial for establishing the trees themselves. During this period they are most vulnerable to competition for light, nutrients and water, and provide the most juicy and tender meal for animals. After this time the canopy will shade the ground reducing competition from other plants and


A properly planted tree or shrub will be more tolerant of adverse conditions and require much less management than one planted incorrectly. Planting technique impacts water quality as it minimizes water, fertilizer and pesticide use. When making decisions on planting techniques, one should consider how the plant was grown in the nursery, the plant’s drainage requirements, the soil type and drainage characteristics, and the availability of irrigation water. The plant should be specifically appropriate to the site, or the site should be amended to specifically fit the plant.
The Challenge: Horticulture researchers have estimated that 75% of the roots may be lost when digging field-grown nursery stock. Cultural practices by the nurseryman, such as root pruning, irrigation, fertilization, root-ball configuration, and digging techniques, influence the percentage of harvested roots. Water stress, due to removal of most of the water-absorbing roots, is the primary cause of transplant failure. Most water absorption capability within a transplanted root-ball results from very small diameter roots. These fragile roots are the first to suffer from excess water loss in newly transplanted landscape plants.
Sources of Plant Material: Landscape contractors and home gardeners can choose from a wide variety of plant material in North Carolina. Plants are grown by various production methods, e.g. bare-root, balled and burlapped, fabric container and plastic container. Some large landscape trees are mechanically dug with a tree-spade and placed in wire baskets. Each of these harvesting and growing techniques is acceptable, but requires a specific planting and management technique.
Bare-Root Plants: Advantages of planting bare-root plants are mostly economical. Plants are less expensive to produce because of the ease of harvesting, storing and shipping. Many species respond well to bare-root harvesting. A greater portion and longer roots are retained after harvesting and roots are easily inspected at planting time. Damaged roots can be trimmed and girdling roots can be removed before planting. Bare-root plants should be planted while they are completely dormant. Landscape-sized bare-root trees usually require staking.
Balled and Burlapped Plants: Larger landscape plants are traditionally harvested as “balled and burlapped” (B&B). A major advantage of B&B plants is that soil types can be matched, thereby reducing any interface problems that might inhibit water movement between the rootball and surrounding soil of the landscape site. There is an acceptable, standardized formula for sizing rootballs, which is the American Standard for Nursery Stock. The main disadvantage of B&B material is that a large portion of the roots may be severed at harvest time. The amount of roots harvested depends upon soil type, irrigation practices and root pruning during the production period. Plants moved B&B are subject to seasonal constraints. The most favorable seasons are when transpiration demand is low and root generation potential is high, such as in fall, winter and early spring. With the much-reduced root system, water is a critical element in the successful transplanting of B&B material.
Container-Grown Plants: The advantage of using plants grown in containers is that 100% of the roots are in the container. Thus, the plant goes through limited transplant shock if given adequate follow-up care. Container-grown plants can be planted into the landscape year-round. Plants produced in containers, in a soilless medium (usually bark and sand), are much lighter than B&B material. This is very helpful to home gardeners who may not have large equipment to handle the heavy plants.
The main disadvantage of container-grown plants is the possibility of deformed roots. “Rootbound” plants have roots circling inside the container. The entangled roots are a physical barrier to future root growth and development. If this condition is not corrected at planting time, the plant may experience slow growth and establishment because of the girdled roots. Some form of root mass disturbance is recommended before planting.
A relatively new production system is the use of fabric containers or bags. Plants are grown in the bags, placed in the ground, with a soil backfill. The advantage to this production technique is purported to be a means of harvesting a greater number of roots while using field production practices. The fabric must be removed at transplanting time. This can be somewhat of a problem when the roots have become attached to the walls of the bag, or if roots have escaped through the fabric.
What Size Plant Should You Choose? Smaller plants live better and establish faster than large plants and are more economical. Many consumers, on the other hand, want the “instant” landscape look. Demand for large, landscape-size trees has certainly increased over the last decade. With large mechanical digging equipment, 6- to 8-inch diameter trees can be moved. Large diameter trees are often trans-planted for instantaneous effect, but post-transplant stress and costs increase with the size of the tree.
Planting Procedures: Correct planting technique begins with the loading of the plant at the nursery or garden center. Home gardeners and landscapers should be very careful with plant material. Always protect the roots, stems and foliage during transport. The plant tops should be shielded from winds. Never pick up a plant by the trunk. Trees are particularly vulnerable to damage if growth has started. In the spring the bark is easily injured. B&B trees are very susceptible to this type injury because of the weight of the root-ball. Lift plants from underneath the rootball with the appropriate equipment.
Container- grown plants should be handled by the container and never by the tops of the plant. If plants must be held or stored on the landscape site, it is best to place them in a location protected from the wind and sun. Do not let the roots freeze or dry out during this time. If the delay in planting is more then a few days, one should “heel in” B&B material by covering the roots with bark or some other mulch. Supplemental irrigation is critical for the nursery stock during the growing season.
The Planting Hole: A current trend in landscape design is to plant trees and shrubs in large beds. When this design concept is followed, preparation of the entire plant bed area and not just individual holes is recommended. In many urban areas, gardeners will find that the soils are compacted and sometimes poorly drained. In these situations one should create a good rootzone by amending the beds with a sandy-loam topsoil and aerifying the soil as deep as possible. The addition of organic matter provides little or no advantage to the planting hole in good soils. Backfill should, in most cases, be the soil removed from the planting hole: “what comes out…goes back in”. This is especially important for B&B material and bare-root planting stock. An exception to this would be where entire beds can be amended to create an homogeneous root-zone. The organic matter, e.g. compost or composted pine bark, is uniformly mixed with the soil. This makes room for future growth and increases aeration to the backfill.
In very poorly drained soils, drain tile under the beds is necessary. If a french drain or tile drain is installed, be sure that it drains downhill at a 2% minimum slope and there is an outlet on the downhill side. When setting plants, be certain to plant them high. If the poor drainage condition cannot be corrected, don’t plant a tree or shrub in the area, unless it can tolerate these conditions.
If the soil is sandy and moisture is difficult to hold, a heavier topsoil can be added. Organic matter in this situation will be valuable as it improves the water-holding capacity of the sandy soil. After planting, add a 3- to 4-inch layer of organic mulch on the soil surface around the plant. This will conserve moisture, discourage weeds and moderate soil temperatures. Also be sure to consider the aesthetics of the mulch.
The most important consideration in planting trees and shrubs is the planting depth. Don’t plant too deep. It is better to plant in a raised manner so the roots will not drown or suffocate. Dig planting holes 2 to 3 times wider than the rootball and the same depth. Locate the rootball on solid soil and not loose backfill. Wire baskets do not need to be completely removed from large field grown trees. Cut and fold down the top half of the basket, fold back the burlap, and remove nylon strings. Be sure to remove plastic liners or synt etic burlap type materials. For the most efficient use of water, construct an earthen dam 4 to 6 inches high around the dripzone area of the plant after planting. Water will have the ability to collect in this saucer and move slowly down into the planting hole. Runoff will be minimized.



  • Canal bank plantation enhances the beauty of the landscape and provides a ground frame for the creation of a network of tree shelter belts for the protection of farm crops against the prevalent hot, desiccating and dust laden winds
  • Planting Technique on such sites provides a considerable quantity of timber, fuel wood, and other minor products
  • The total length of canals is about 31,800 miles, 9250 of which is already planted _ Champion, Seth and Khattak

Site Conditions:

Much of the conditions like of climatic and edaphic are similar to that of irrigation


General Considerations:

  • To reduce siltation of dams
  • Rising of water level in river beds due to siltation
  • Reducing floods
  • Timber and fuel wood production

Site Condition:

  • Slopes are either wet slopes and dry slopes
  • Wet slopes are found in cold region eg Temperate dry slopes in areas of 15in – 20in rainfall
  • On dry slopes, no or thin soil is found except depressions
  • Soil is shallow, stony and poor in nutrients
  • Completely exposed to sun and no retention of water
  • Diseases are more and mortality is high

Choice of Spp:

  • Indigenous spp are selected
  • Spp should be hardy, having coppicing power and should cover the ground eg Ailanthus spp

Soil Preparation:

  • Since soil is in undulations, spacing can not be recommended
  • Sowing should be in patches
  • For ridge and trench sowing shallow pits are to be dug
  • Planting and sowing is cracks and near boulders is favorable


  • Weeding is done to reduce transpiration
  • Weeding is not done in interspaces
  • Mulching is also done to reduce evaporation
  • Protection against grazing and browsing is very important
  • Grass cutting can be allowed


General Considerations:

  • Main purpose is shade
  • Other purposes include:
    • Camouflage
    • Beautification
    • Timber Production
    • Soil compaction
    • Shelter belt, etc

Site Condition:

  • Highway run through dry tropical as well as temperate zone
  • Mostly pass through populated areas and usu water is available
  • There may be some inhospitable sites like waterlogged and saline areas

Choice of Spp:

  • Adaptable as well as indigenous spp should suit to available space
  • Select a spp which shades on road as well as on strip
  • Always plant two to three avenues
  • tree which are moderately fast growing and provide dense shade should be selected
  • The trees selected should provides shade not on the side, but also in the centre of the road
  • trees with an umbrella or sub-umbrella crowns like Neem, imli, and Mango are more suitable then trees with linear elongated crowns
  • Brittle trees and thorny should be avoided on the road side avenue because brittle trees have weak wood and break easily in the wind storm. The result is the heavy block of traffic for considerable lengths of time and during a storm
  • This tees as a positive be avoided as their thorns are nuisance for the pneumatic tires of small cars, cycles and motorcycles.
  • Trees should be fruit less
  • Trees should not be planted over pipe lines, transmission or phone lines


  • It is needed in arid areas
  • Best method is flow irrigation, in some areas trench irrigation is also used
  • In scarcity of irrigation, water tanker can be used and manually irrigation can also be done


  • Supervision is required against children, grazing animals, offender, etc
  • The fixture of drum around plant or open brick alls with holes are also frequent
  • Thorny bushes and mud walls are also used for the purpose.



  • Riverine and inland are two forests in Sindh
  • Forests lying in vicinity of Riverine Forests are called Inland forests
  • Similarly forests situated near the border of sea are coastal forests. These are sandy so called Coastal lands
  • Coastal sands have moderate temperature, high humidity, water table near the surface, and more lime content in comparison with inland.
  • Salinity of water is less if it is close to mouth of river,
  • Instability is frequent, the sands are blown away by winds or from other areas accumulated here

General Consideration:

  • These coastal sands are the result of the deposition of the silt and sand particles
  • Same is the process with Cholistan and Rajhistan Deserts

Soil Preparation:

  • On sea coast make pits for planting for holding irrigation water
  • In desert no need of pits just removes the grasses and weeds around the plant but not from interspaces because these help in protecting form wind pressure.


  • The first step in this direction is the growing of grasses and shrubs like Acacia jaequemanti, Tamarix spp, Calligomium spp, Saccharum spp, etc are preferred.
  • Plant everything across wind direction.
  • Sometimes gully bags are hanged across wind direction.
  • Oil or tar coal or bitumen can be sprayed over sand. Once soil is stabilized then spp are selected.
  • Near sea, Casuarina equisetifolia is planted while in Sindh Coconut is successfully planted.


General Considerations:

  • This is not meant for planting trees instead of agriculture but to help the later
  • For instance, in dry areas to reduce loss of moisture
  • However, following purposes are our objectives:
    • Conservation of soil moisture
    • To stop erosion in arid areas.
    • In dry areas, seedlings are killed by sand blast
    • To neutralize the condition for animals and working people in fields
    • To obtain additional income
    • Trees are necessary against deposition of sand

Site Conditions:

  • Comparatively favourable

Choice of Spp:

  • Trees should be deciduous
  • The line of trees should be like a wall against wind directions
  • Taller the trees, better the safety (it height is 10ft it will protect 200ft; if ht is 20ft, then it will protect 400ft)
  • Trees should be single because mixed spp cause management problems
  • Trees should be valuable like Dalbergia sissoo in irrigated areas whereas Tamarix spp in dry areas. Acacia spp can also be used

Site Preparation:

  • No need as soil is already worked

Method of Stocking:

  • Shisham is raised in pits from Stumps
  • Tamarix from root cuttings
  • Poplar from second stage nursery
  • Trees are planted in belts perpendicular to wind direction
  • Areas where wind direction is not constant, cross belts serve the same purpose (separated by a distance of 40 times the height of tree)
  • If trees are in single row, they are Wind Breaks and obviously the Shelter Belts when grown in multiple queue


General Considerations:

  • Waterlogging: When land is thoroughly soaked with water, it is called water logged. Water logging has two categories:
    • Perpetual Waterlogging:

Land remains water logged all the year. Water table merged into surface soil and accompanied by salts at times. Perpetual Waterlogging and salinity together occur in an area which receives less rainfall. The salts creep up the surface. These salts accumulate and form a pan. In perpetual Waterlogging, no spp can be grown. This also depends upon
of salinity that may make possible to grow something.

  • Seasonal Waterlogging:

In some areas, it is confined to few months via water table sinks down or water drained away. Here some spp can survive like Willow spp.


  • Situation for Waterlogging is drainage
  • Deep channels should be dug to take away water.
  • Irrigate the area to dissolve salts and decrease salinity

Planting Technique of Saline Earth:

  • Salinity is due to Na, Mg, and K.
  • It depends upon nature of Salts.
  • In less saline areas, Tamarix is grown
  • For heavily saline areas, first get rid of salts by irrigation and the plant
  • Pseuda fruticosa, Salix spp, Terminalia arjune and Syzigium cumuni, is also grown.
  • In deserts, salts are thrown away first then Ricinous communis etc are grown


General Consideration:

  • The collapse of part of a mountainside or cliff so that it descends in a disintegrating mass of rocks due to the movement of underground water and earth is called land slip.
  • If vegetation is removed, then slopes are suspected to move downward causing erosion.
  • The main agent involved is underground water which when causes upper layer of soil to slide downward aided by gravity.
  • We can plant trees to increase transpiration and to remove subsoil water.
  • Engineering techniques may be helpful
  • Diversion channels, Nalahs and channels should be lined with stones
  • Check dams will be constructed but the bottom bed or foundation of check dam should reach the rock
  • Breast walls to hold the uphill slope
  • Make slope less steep

Choice of Spp:

  • All engineering works should be accompanied by Planting Technique and reforestation practices
  • Selection of indigenous flora is logical to decrease the wetness of sub-soil layer.
  • Spp will be fast growing, deep rooted and evergreen and hardy as well
  • Vegetative growth like from stakes, root suckers, cuttings, etc should be preferred like for poplar, willow, robinia, etc
  • Prevent from grazing and browsing.


6.     S.H. Anderson, D.K. Cassel, Statistical and autoregressive analysis of soil physical properties of Portsmouth sandy loam, Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 50 (1986) 1096-1104.
7.     S.E. Atkinson, M. Sivapalan, N.R. Viney, R.A. Woods, Predicting space-time variability if hourly streamflow and the role of climate seasonality: Mahurani Catchment, New Zealand, Hydrol. Process. 17 (2003) 2171-2193.
8.     K. Beven, Changing ideas in hydrology–the case of physically-based models, J. Hydrol. 105 (1989) 157-172.
9.     T. Burt, D. Butcher, Stimulation from simulation? A teaching model of hillslope hydrology for use in microcomputers, J. Geog. Higher Ed. 10 (1986) 23-39.
10.  P.G. Cook, G.R. Walker, The effect of soil type on groundwater recharge in the mallee region, Centre for Groundwater Studies, Australia Report No. 28, CSIRO Land and Water, South Australia, 1990.
11.  Champion, Seth and Khattack, Manual of Silviculture
12.  Dr. K. M. Siddique, General Silviculture

Naeem Javid Muhammad Hassani is working as Conservator of Forests in Balochistan Forest & Wildlife Department (BFWD). He is the CEO of Tech Urdu ( Forestrypedia (, All Pak Notifications (, Essayspedia, etc & their YouTube Channels). He is an Environmentalist, Blogger, YouTuber, Developer & Vlogger.

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