Tree and Shrub Establishment Protocol

Welcome, on this page, you’ll find the tree and shrub establishment protocol.

This protocol is specifically designed to help you grow and maintain your woody perennial food crops. It outlines the specific tasks you need to do, the order in which you need to do them, when exactly you need to implement them, and provides an implementation guide for each step of the process.

The protocol consists of five tasks to be executed in this order: 1. Sheet mulching >> 2. Bare root planting >> 3. Mulching >> 4. Adding soil amendments and fertilizers >> 5. Foliar fertilization.

The first step (1. Sheet mulching) helps with preparing the soil before planting. This step is performed either 6 or 12 months before your planned planting window in the fall or spring.

Following the soil preparation, and after the required sheet mulching period, you plant your trees and shrubs (2. Bare root planting) and mulch them (3. Mulching). This is done during the plants’ dormant period – late fall, winter, early spring, with late fall being the ideal planting window.

The remaining two steps (4. Adding soil amendments and fertilizers, and 5. Foliar fertilization) are yearly maintenance tasks to ensure productive growth, health, and production. You’ll be adding soil amendments and fertilizers in early spring and applying foliar fertilizers throughout the growing season.

Reference the food forest calendar to see when is best to perform these tasks according to your climate.

From now on, every time you have new trees and shrubs to plant, refer to this protocol and the calendar to see the exact order and timing. Use the implementation guides to successfully prep the soil, plant, and then maintain your woody perennial food crops.

How to clear the ground from unwanted low vegetation and have a nice, clear, weed and competition-free patch/row for your food forest/orchard plants.

How to plant trees & shrubs the right way so that you can rest assured they will flourish.

How to mulch the newly planted or already established food forest trees and shrubs (woody perennials).

How to add soil amendments and fertilizers to bolster production and replenish the harvested nutrients.

How to supply nutrients directly to plants when they need them. 

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