Normally I’ve made raised plantings with some kind of equipment, but for the 20 buckets I mentioned above I was referring to 5 gal. buckets. I had about 7 buckets in the back of my pickup and every time I’d go to the farm, I’d fill them, then bring them home in the evening and dump them around the peach trees. I can’t remember exactly how many trips it took per tree, but probably 4, so maybe the mounds I built by hand had closer to 30 buckets of soil.
It takes a lot of work to build mounds by hand. Here are some pics of the puny mounds I built by hand with approx. 30 buckets per mound. The pictures don’t show it, but the mounds are probably a foot high or a bit taller. I just stepped outside and took the photos.
They are pictures of bud grafts I moved in Nov. I haven’t beheaded the trees yet, but the grafted buds still look alive. I apply white paint around the grafted buds, so it’s easy for me to spot where they’re at.
The second pic has a bunch of suckers. What was there previously was a large cherry tree on it’s own roots. I cut it down and placed the peach tree right over the stump (never done that before, so I don’t know how it will work). Then I piled buckets of dirt around the roots of the budded peach tree. The cherry tree suckered a lot. I’m a little behind on cutting those suckers off.
Thanks for the link you posted about the dance. The personification in the story makes it easy to remember.
I have read wood chips tie of nitrogen in the root zone, if they are incorporated in the soil. I’ve also read wood chips tie up nitrogen at the soil mulch interface, if they are used as a top dress.
In the case of trees, I don’t think wood chips used as a mulch would be able to pull any N from the root zone of the trees, but could pull N from supplemental N added on top of the mulch. Perhaps that’s what you were referring to. That it might temporarily tie up supplemental N added on top of the mulch.
In my experience, wood chip mulch seems to add vigor to trees on balance. My theory is that the rain filters down through the chips and creates a sort of “compost tea” which does make it down to the root zone. The downside of wood chips is that if the trees are suffering from water stress because of poorly drained soil, wood chips will exacerbate the problem.