We are absolutely loving our newest addition to the campground - trees!
We have gained a lot of new skills during our building process, and after this past week, we can add arborists to the list! Okay, maybe I wouldn’t hire us anytime soon, but there is no question that we now have some great experience planting trees. So you might be wondering, how many trees did we plant? 31 new trees!
We visited several different tree farms and gardens before deciding where to purchase our trees and landing at San Juan Gardens in town. They not only had the best bulk pricing for trees but their plants and trees also looked the healthiest. The owners are also some of the nicest people, which is always an added bonus!
When we decided it was time to add some trees to the campsites, we really had to sit down and think about what types of trees we wanted. We knew that we wanted spruces that are native to Colorado, but we weren’t exactly sure what other trees would be a good fit. Luckily, we have started working with Paige from Online Landscape Designs who took the time to come with us to the gardens to share her knowledge of which trees would thrive in the area we are in and pick out which trees looked the healthiest at the gardens when making our selections.
After a couple of hours, we selected nine junipers, seven blue spruces, ten crabapples (a mix of white and red), and five maple hot wings. It was so fun picking out all of our trees, but once the easy part of the process was complete it was time to dive into the challenging part – planting the trees!
Between researching online, watching YouTube videos, and getting advice from Paige, and Gail and John from San Juan Gardens, we felt fairly confident about properly planting the trees. Some of the trees we purchased were in pots and others were in the ground. We learned that the trees that were coming straight out of the ground from the gardens needed to be planted back into the ground within 24 hours. We did our best to get all the holes dug with the backhoe before picking up the trees, but unfortunately, we didn’t get all of them done in time. Of course, without luck we were hoping to have some cloudy and cooler days to plant the trees, but since we can’t control the weather we just had to work with what we were given…which was 75 degrees in the full sun. If you have been to Colorado before you know that the sun is more intense out here due to the higher altitude, so 75 and sunny really feels like 85 degrees and the burning factor is strong! This also meant that we were even more determined to get these trees into their new homes in the ground as soon as possible to get them watered!
For those who have never planted or moved trees before it is good to note that they are super heavy – even the trees that appear light have root balls that are a lot heavier than you may imagine. The nursery refrained from watering the trees the day before so they would be lighter during the transporting and transplanting process, but they were still extremely heavy! The backhoe loader definitely came in handy during this whole process, from digging holes to transporting the trees into their new home, there is no way just the two of us could have moved them without it!
After hours of heaving and hoeing, we were able to get all 20 non-potted trees safely into their new home! Okay, well, we maybe dropped one and broke a couple of little branches, but that’s not too bad for first-time tree planters if you ask me!
Once the trees were all planted, it was time for the next (highly important) step – putting together a drip system. When planting new trees it is super important to make sure they get the proper amount of water to thrive and grow in their new space. Trees need a lot of water, but the key is to give them water on a slow drip to be sure the roots get completely saturated. Putting the barbed tee pieces into the piping was a lot harder than we were expecting it to be, it took some serious muscle to get the pieces pushed into place – which I suppose is good because you certainly don’t want those coming apart!
The last step was to add mulch to the base of each tree. Adding mulch provides benefits for the tree such as moderating the temperature of the soil, helping keep the moisture in, slowing evaporation, and improving the structure of the soil. This step was by far the easiest and the most satisfying to see because you knew your hard work was complete!
Now keep your fingers crossed that they all stay alive and thrive here at the campground!