For the most part, digging up our front lawn was not too arduous. We encountered several mighty roots and rocks when we dug near where the old maple trees used to be, but all in all, the soil was in decent shape. Our holes were about 2 feet wide and 20 inches deep. When planting out our trees, we replaced the soil in each hole with high quality soil mix obtained from a local landscaping company and firmed it well. I also mulched the top several inches of each planting hole with some amazing leaf mold taken from the neighborhood compost pile behind our home. We've had quite a bit of rain earlier this week, which I'm sure helped greatly to settle the soil around these trees.
We encountered much more resistance when we went about planting my row of high-density apple trees in a spot to the side of our home where a row of cedars used to be. The topsoil was virtually nonexistent and filled with lots of large rocks and tangled roots. It took us a good 45 minutes to dig each hole and by the time we reached the depth desired, there was nothing but shale.
Here is the pile of rocks we removed from the first three holes alone.
Ideally for this growing method I would have planted un-pruned trees with many short feathers, but unfortunately, this was not an option with the nurseries I'd purchased from. I will most likely miss out on a first harvest next year because of this, but to have apples within two years of planting is still an accomplishment.
Because of the tight spacing, each tree will be supported by a 10 feet length of medal conduit driven two feet into the ground. I still have to tie my trees to the poles and bend down any existing branches to focus most of the tree's energy into growing the leader, but other than that, most of the hard work is now done. I really liked how this project turned out and am looking forward to seeing how this particular growing method performs in our small home orchard. As for now, I can only imagine the wall of different apples that might one day come into fruition.