Steps for Planting a Landscape Lychee Tree in Your Yard
By Krystal Folino and Bill Mee
1. Find a nice spot for your lychee tree in your front or back yard that has full sun, adequate irrigation, well drained soil, protection from wind and enough room to grow.
Don't plant right next to your house (less than 10 feet) unless you are absolutely sure that you want it there. While you may want the cooling shade that a lychee tree can provide, your house will shade the lychee tree and this can inhibit growth and fruiting.
2. Dig a hole about 6 inches wider and about 2-3 inches deeper than the size of the container the lychee tree is currently growing in.
If you live in an area with shallow soil or little to no top soil, like southern Dade County Florida, you should increase the soil depth by planting the tree on a mound. Due to the increase in drainage and runoff that occurs with mounding, you will have to increase irrigation and fertilization appropriately.
3. Remove your lychee tree from its container and aerate the roots. This is an important step. If the tree has been growing in the container for an extended time period the plant may be "root bound". This situation can prevent the roots from absorbing water and nutrients in the soil which will stunt or kill your tree.
A root bound plant has a mass of intertwined roots growing circularly around the inside of the pot. Make an effort to unwind some of these roots and if the mass is very dense you should make several vertical cuts to allow aeration into the center of the root ball.
4. Treat with mycorrhizal fungi (like Myco-Stim) by shaking it into the hole and onto the roots of the tree. You won't need NPK fertilizer for about 4 weeks because the Myco-Stim already contains an organic fertilizer from fish emulsion and kelp. Mycorrhizal fungi will help your newly planted tree to establish a healthy root system and to adjust to your trees new location.
5. Back fill the hole with the remaining soil. If the soil is composed mostly of rock, sand or gravel with little to no organic matter you can mix some topsoil or potting soil into the material that you back fill into the hole. Be careful not to bury the root crown of the lychee tree.
6. Mulch heavily out to about 1-2 ft past the drip line of the canopy of the lychee tree. Don't put mulch closer than 6 inches from the root crown.
The mulch will provide organic nutrients, as it deteriorates, to the roots of your lychee tree. Mulch helps to reduce the daily temperature stresses to the lychee's root system and provides an excellent growing environment for mychorrhizal fungi, earthworms and beneficial insects, bacteria and other important soil organisms.
By covering the root zone in mulch you will help to slow the growth of plant species, such as grasses and weeds, from becoming established beneath the leaf canopy and competing with your lychee tree for important nutrients.
7. Soak down really well with water. Water the freshly planted tree 1 - 3 times per day for about 3 - 4 weeks until it becomes established. Then irrigate regularly depending on your irrigation system, rainfall, humidity and soil drainage characteristics.
8. Spray the leaves with liquid phosphorous fertilizer (like our Phyto-Fos) until runoff. Foliar spraying of phosphorous acid is recommended for supplemental use when there are high demands for phosphorous, such as transplanting, new root and shoot growth, flowering and fruit production. This gives your lychee tree an energy boost while it is adjusting to it's new location. If you decide not to use mycorrhizal fungi you should also apply a good time-release NPK fertilizer at this time.
This article was last updated on: December 3, 2003
by Bill Mee & Krystal Folino - Lychees Online
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