Popular Mechanics (South Africa)

Dig a square hole


In the article on planting a tree that ran in the March issue of PM earlier this year, there was a recommenda­tion to ‘dig a dish-shaped hole that’s twice the diameter of the root ball’.

Many years ago, when

I was planting trees on my farm, a horticultu­rist friend told me that this method is incorrect. It causes the tree roots to grow around and around in the dish-shaped hole and will, in the future, not provide the tree with sufficient anchorage when it has grown in size, resulting in it potentiall­y falling over during high winds.

Rather, he suggested that you should dig a square hole, slightly larger than the tree root ball, ensuring the bottom of the hole is larger than the top, and deep enough for the whole root ball to be placed in the hole, which is then filled with soil and compacted.

When the tree’s roots spread out into the corners of the square hole, they can’t turn back or go around, and so instead they gradually break through into the surroundin­g ground. The result is that they develop a powerful network of roots, ensuring the tree never falls over in the event of a violent storm.

Many thanks for a great magazine that I have enjoyed reading for many years.


That’s a really interestin­g update on our tree-planting feature, Mike. Thanks for sharing. With the powerful storms we had in Cape Town this past winter, we would’ve benefitted from more of our city trees having been planted in that fashion! Hope you enjoy the prize for your winning-letter contributi­on. – Mark, Editor

outlive Methuselah to recoup any great proportion of the outlay. However, the resultant reduction in consumptio­n costs of between 30- and 40 per cent is pleasing.

As some sort of a reference, our house is 760 m² and our energy requiremen­ts are quite high, given the need to operate the following: driveway gate, garage door, alarm system, WiFi, a full-electric stove, microwave, two refrigerat­ors and a deep freeze, aside from the usual lights, plugs, TV, hi-fi, DStv, and so forth.

The system is working well, and despite the depletion (or should I say, ‘eviscerati­on’) of our piggy banks, we are pleased with the results.


I’ve received notes from many readers recounting their experience­s with installing solar-power systems in their homes, and it has all been very interestin­g. Thanks for your input – I’m confident that it’s helpful to other readers who might be considerin­g this financial outlay.

– Mark, Editor

 ??  ?? popularmec­hanics@ramsaymedi­a.co.za
 ??  ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa