Once the field has been smoothed using a disc harrow, the field is ready to be planted. Planting is done in the spring as early as the nurseries we deal with can get us the plants. We prefer to plant larger transplants (2-2, two year seedling, two years in a transplant bed, or a 4 year old plant). Due to the more developed root system we have a higher percentage of survival. Trees are planted with a maximum of 12 rows per block.
Immediately after planting, sometimes the same day, a cover crop (usually a small grain) is planted between the rows of trees. Many of our fields are on slopes and are subject to erosion. A cover crop reduces the risk of erosion. We like using oats because the germination is less than a week and gives instant cover to the susceptible soil surface. Throughout the life of the trees, vegetation between the rows of trees is controlled by mowing. In most years the rows are mowed 3-4 times.