Operation Mulberry - Underground Pampering
No-one likes feeling crowded; it hinders our movement and even our breathing. It’s the same for trees. In order to grow and live long lives they need space that will allow them to put down roots, move and breathe. A special planting project that took place recently at Ramat Hanadiv pampered 7 mulberry trees like princes, and we will benefit from them for many years to come.
Every day we receive enthusiastic comments from the many visitors to Ramat Hanadiv. The choice of vegetation, the design, the diversity, the atmosphere – all these have turned the gardens into a unique location that people come to visit from all over the country. Nevertheless, most visitors enjoy a ‘finished product’ and only a few are aware of the work procedures invested in making this place so unique.
This time, we decided to share a little bit of what goes on ‘behind the scenes’ of one of the most fascinating and innovative procedures that was conducted recently near the entrance gates to Ramat Hanadiv – a process of laying down infrastructure and planting 7 mulberry trees that welcome those entering the gates of Ramat Hanadiv.
These are fruitless, relatively young white mulberry trees, which when young were trained to create a horizontal canopy. Planting them near each other creates a kind of natural pergola that provides shade from the summer sun and in the winter allows penetration of the sun’s warm, illuminating rays.
A view from outside the plaza and beyond the trees shows that the trees create a kind of frame around a live picture of the wadi and Hanadiv Valley. The innocent, beautiful, finished look does not reveal the procedure that preceded it. The mulberry trees received a prince’s pampering from the gardening staff, in order to facilitate their easy acclimation and good establishment in the soil, and to allow us to enjoy them in the long term.
However, as we mentioned at the beginning, the interesting story actually took place under the ground:
It all begins with the pit – the trees’ new home
In order to plant trees, a 1.3-meter-deep pit over an area of about 90 square meters was dug into the soil – this provides a volume of almost 130 cubic meters to 7 trees! For comparison, let’s take for example ornamental trees that the local council plants in the city’s streets; a pit with a maximum volume of 1.5 cubic meters is dug for each tree. The life time of such trees is between five and seven years. The pit that was dug for the mulberry trees, together with laying down infrastructure, were intended among other things to ensure full, long lives, so that our grandchildren will also be able to benefit from them.
And there is also internal padding
The base of the pit was padded with a layer of gravel on which we placed “TreeParker” bases made from recycled plastic, which were imported especially from GreenMax TreeBuilder in Holland by the Israeli representative, Ganron, in Atlit. These cells can be filled with planting substrate and can also be covered with tiles or other covering, and they are capable of withstanding heavy weight and even vehicle movement above them.
And how can we breathe without a snorkel?
Between the bases passes a perforated hose wrapped in geotechnical fabric that prevents penetration of roots and soil; the purpose of this hose is to allow aeration of the root system and gas exchange with the atmosphere – a kind of snorkel through which the roots receive oxygen.
And why exactly do they need this pampering?
In this system it is possible to create an upper footpath without causing soil compaction. Thus we can combine the option of movement infrastructure from above and a life of partnership underneath – a suitable habitat for the trees growing in the same unit of land. Thus, the trees will be able to ‘speak with each other’ and transfer important survival information among themselves. Thus, for example, if one of the trees is sick it will warn the trees that will in turn look after themselves. In addition, they will be able to transfer essential gases among themselves for their continued growth. Here is a link to an animated video that explains about the importance of tree growth without separation.
Filling and covering
We filled the bases with planting substrate – local ditch soil combined with compost produced on site. Subsequently, we covered them with perforated plates in order to create the first layer of paving. Geotechnical fabric used for stabilizing and preventing transfer of building substrates was laid down over the entire construction.
It’s time to plant
In order to prevent horizontal growth of the roots in the upper soil layer, we installed a root barrier to a depth of 30 cm around the periphery of the planting pit. This is a type of fabric that does not allow root penetration; thus the upper roots are directed downwards and when they reach a depth of 30 cm they can grow freely.
Following planting we laid down walking substrates, and at this stage we could move ahead without damaging the trees’ habitat. These trees receive optimal conditions for spreading their roots and indulging themselves at least as if they were flying business class…