I have almost maxed out the number of Florida torreyas (Torreya taxifolia) that can be reasonably planted at my North Carolina home. Eighteen are now in the ground, mostly along both sides of the driveway and a few around the edge of the yard. One is from the 2010 seed crop, five from the 2011 seed crop, and the twelve planted this year from the 2012 seed crop. My previous torrey blog posts document the first six (2010 + 2011) that were transplanted into the ground in past years, and the present post documents the last twelve.
All have 4-foot tall, cylindrical 2x4 wire cages around them for protection from deer. The following series of photos represents the steps I go through when planting Florida torreyas. First, I rake leaf litter away from the chosen spot:
I then shovel the 2-inch-thick root mat from the ground and set it aside (to the lower right in the second pic, at the base of the wire cage). Next, I thoroughly chop up and mix organic fertilizer and dolomitized limestone into the soil with a shovel to at least the depth of the shovel head:
The seedling is then transplanted into the prepared ground:
The wire cage is then placed over the plant and I try to screw it into the soft, prepared ground. This seats the cage several inches into the dirt, which enables forest roots over the next year or so to grow through it and fasten it to the earth. Then, I place long, thin branches through the wire cage to hold additional fastening materials:
Larger logs are then placed on top of the branches to weigh down the cage:
Next comes mulching with local leaf litter:
I photograph the finished product with a nuance:
Notice that this last photograph was taken from the perspective of the fifth horizontal cage wire. The first wire is seated about 2 inches in the ground. Count the horizontal wires from that invisible first wire to the fifth wire; that distance represents 5 x 4 inches, or 20 inches. You can see that the seedling is about two inches below that level, so this photo tells you that this seedling is 20 inches (wire height) minus 2 inches (first wire in the ground) minus 2 inches (below the fifth wire) equals 16 inches tall. This is a handy way to document seedling height growth until the cage is removed.
I re-transplanted the 2010 seedling this year because it was in the way of house construction. Only a few roots were growing through the cage after one year, which was disappointing. It apparently will take several years for good root-cage fastening to occur.