2023-02-19 Airtime

Published: Sun 19 February 2023
By Goran

In Blog.

Airtime for the chestnuts

Now that the polytunnel is up, I can plant the chestnuts in a protected environment, without hard frosts and no wind chill.

The best roots develop when you plant a chestnut on the location where the tree will stand the rest of it's life. However, most people want to purchase a grafted tree to replant into their garden or agroforestry system. Therefore, I want to grow trees with lots of roots in all directions, so that they have a high success rate when transplated.

The best way I know is to use "air pruning beds" or "air-pots". The principle is that the roots grow down onto a grid, where it encounters free air. This makes the tap-root stop growing and the seed starts to shoot out new roots in different directions. After a year, these trees can be planted out in the ground, to gain more strenght, and one or two years later be re-planted by the customers at the final location.

This year, I built an air-pruning table out of some leftover lumber.

. The leftover lumber and some steel mesh

. The frame was screwed together.

. The table, in the high tunnel. Ready to be filled with soil and chesnuts

. The chestnuts have been stored in buckets with sand over winter.

. Some of the chestnuts have already sprouted, here K. is helping me to plant.

. The chestnuts are covered with 5 cm of soil and lightly watered.

In the summer, the table will be full of little trees.