In partnership with the University of Minnesota and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, Volunteer Tree Stewards are learning how to care for saplings planted in tubes and perform data collection. Learn more about this project in our previous post University Nursery Reared Saplings Planted at Nokomis.
Training session participants were given a brief background on the tube tree planting method and its benefits, then were walked through the maintenance tasks to be performed by stewards, in addition to data collection. Before checking on the tree, the encroaching turf and weeds were pulled back to prepare for application of new woodchips.
The first disassembled tube appeared to be entirely colonized by weedy invaders…
But at the base of the stake, the white oak (progeny of a Theodore Wirth Heritage Tree) sapling was found! Stunted, but surviving. Removing the other plants that have started to grow in the tube frees up nutrients for the sapling and eliminates shading of the sapling’s leaves.
This sapling was doing much better, as weed growth in the tube was minimal, however the turf had encroached and thus the mowers were mowing closer to the tubes, pushing the mulch against the base and crushing the tube- crowding the tree and reducing airflow making the sapling more susceptible to disease.
Proper replacement of the tubes leaves the top of the leaves facing the sun for photosynthesis to occur.
Proper mulching (minimal mulch at the base of the tube with a berm around it- looks like a cone volcano) prevents competition with grasses, eases watering, and helps retain moisture in the soil to promote growth of the sapling.
Park Commissioner and FLN Board Member, Steffanie Musich, gets some pointers on securing tube nets from U of M researcher Chad Giblin. The nets dissuade birds from flying into the tubes and becoming trapped.
The next tree steward training session is scheduled for Wednesday September 30, 2015 at 6:30pm. Meet by the large pile of woodchips between the biking at walking trails across the parkway from the stairs at 52nd.