Since the time I started my life in the slow lane, I have been planting trees. Sometimes fruit trees, sometimes forest trees, sometimes just bushes or shrubs. This has become an activity that I am thinking of most of the time or planning my day around it. Yes, it always gives a wonderful feeling. Planning all the fruits that I may enjoy in future, the shade from the trees under which I can sit and read a good book on a summer afternoon, a pair of thick trees that may support my hammock in future, or the tall chestnut and walnut trees that will provide nuts for the generations to come.

I frequently get totally engrossed in this simple task of planting trees. Maybe it is mindfulness, maybe it is meditation, or maybe it is my love for nature that I also find my Ikigai in this activity.

The fruit trees that I buy are usually sold as bare-root trees, in their state of hibernation. These are planted in winters. There is a method to planting these trees as well. I soak the roots in a bucket of water for around 4 hours in the morning. After that I take these out and plant them in planting holes that I would have prepared well in advance, filling the soil back while holding the tree upright in the center of the hole.

The height of the fruit tree in the planting hole is also a matter of discussion. Most of the fruit trees available nowadays are grafted ones. Some people recommend keeping the grafting joint above the soil. This prevents the diseases affecting the joint and also enables the scion (the grafted upper part) enjoy the properties of rootstock (the base on which the grafting is done). Some rootstocks are chosen for their disease-resistance while others for their effect on final tree size. On the other hand, there are some horticulturists who recommend planting the grafting joint just under the soil. Doing so helps establish roots from the scion part as well, which in turn enables a larger and more beautiful looking tree. I use both the methods, depending on what kind of tree I have at hand and the desired outcome.

For shrubs and bushes, I soak the roots for around an hour and then plant them. Recently, I planted some raspberries. They bear fruit within a year or two, and so I am already imagining the fresh juicy berries on my breakfast table. In my opinion, no fruit orchard is complete without some kind of berries.

Apart from the bare-root trees, some nurseries also sell trees growing in small pots or plastic bags. These are my second choice when it comes to buying trees. The advantage is that such trees can be planted all round the year. However, I don’t like them much. First of all, these are expensive. The plant nurseries charge exorbitantly. Maybe due to the fact that most of these nurseries are located in places of easy accessibility and rich people are their usual patrons. Another reason why I don’t prefer these is because the trees get used to the soil in the pot/bag. The soil carries its own signature (nutrients, consistency, microorganisms, fungi, and lots of other factors). Once transplanted, the roots of such trees seem reluctant to leave their comfort zone of old soil and so the tree grows slowly. Transplanting is also a shock for the young tree. Still, the fact that these trees can be planted at any time of the year or can be transported long distances and for a long period before transplanting, makes such plants quite attractive.

Regardless of the type of tree, planting is always a welcome activity for me. Today, I planted some fruit trees and a couple of oaks too. What a lovely feeling it is. We all are indebted to mother nature for providing us with everything, therefore it is also our moral duty to give back to the earth. Planting trees is one such activity that can repay a part of our debt. If you have a place where you can plant a tree, do it !