Fall is our favorite time of year for many reasons, whether it’s rooting on your favorite football team, breaking out the snuggly sweaters, or everything pumpkin spice! If trees and shrubs could talk, they would shout that Fall is also their favorite time of year, and the best time for planting! Trees and shrubs provide us with so many benefits! They reduce pollution, produce oxygen, create privacy and shade, beautify our property, provide a habitat for wildlife, and offer a yummy year round root buffet for voles and gophers…...wait, WHAT?! That’s right, voles are vegetarians, they don’t hibernate, and they love fresh roots to munch on, especially in the winter when other food sources are scarce. But no worries, read on to learn how Vole King can help you proactively protect all of your plants, trees, and shrubs!
Whatever your reason for planting, the cooler Fall weather means less stress on new plants. The soil is still warm enough for their roots to actively grow, while foliage production dwindles, providing the perfect opportunity for the plant to focus on developing a healthy root system. The milder temperatures and wetter weather mean less watering. Another great bonus: Fall planting supports pollinators, such as birds, bees, and butterflies, by providing them with food and habitat in late Fall and early Spring, and provides a place for them to overwinter.
To get started, determine where you want to plant, and gather your supplies. You’ll need a shovel, your selected tree or shrub, and a Vole King basket. Choose a basket that is the same size or slightly larger than the container the tree/shrub comes in. For example, for a 2 gallon or 3 gallon plant/tree/shrub, choose our 2-3 gallon Vole King basket. For a larger tree, we have 5, 7-10, and 15 gallon baskets. Size up if you are in-between sizes, to ensure you can cinch the top of the basket around the base of the tree. We always recommend wearing gardening gloves for protection.
It’s important to dig a wide, shallow hole, rather than a deep hole. Measure the root ball, and dig the hole at least 3 times the diameter, and no deeper than the root ball itself. Roots will grow through the top 12-18 inches of the soil, and will spread horizontally. Make sure the soil is loose enough to allow root growth - break it up if necessary. This is especially important if you live in an area with hard clay rather than soil. Amend the soil with compost, organic matter, or peat moss if needed. The roots will eventually adjust to the native soil.
Next, remove the tree or shrub from the burlap or container, and gently loosen the root ball. Insert the root ball into a Vole King basket. Lower the tree into the hole by the root ball -- do not lift the tree by the trunk. The crown of the root ball should be level with the surrounding ground. You want approximately 2 inches of wire mesh to be exposed above ground, cinched around the base of the tree. This will protect from voles and gophers burrowing down from above.
Straighten your tree with a stake if necessary, then backfill the hole with soil to the height of the root ball, or just below. Do not mound the dirt around the base of the tree, and don’t compress the soil. Fresh roots need loose soil to spread and get established quickly. Spread a 2 inch layer of mulch or bark to retain water and warmth during the cold of winter, still making sure to leave 2 inches of wire mesh exposed around the base. Water with an open hose to get those roots the jump start they need. Your tree is now ready to flourish, and protected from burrowing rodent damage!
We would love to see photos of your Vole King protected trees and shrubs! Tag us on social media @vole__king or #voleking, and subscribe to our Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube channel for tips and promotions! Happy Planting!