Sunday, May 1, 2011

Planting trees, day 6

Wait, for real, six days of this? I wonder how I survived. Today was a day to wrap up loose ends, but there were a lot of them. First we measured and recorded the circumference of all the trees either just above their graft union or at ground level (I measured some heights too before being reminded of what comes next). Then we pruned. We pruned a lot. It was a very uncomfortable experience. We cut back every apple and pear tree to 36" and no branches. We cut back every cherry and plum tree to 28" and no branches. It's a little stick orchard now. If we did it all right, then maybe we'll see some leaves next year. Next we grafted ten scions brought by Jericho's parents from their home orchard. We grafted on to Malus Antonovka (aka antonovka rootstock). This is the same rootstock all of the other apple trees came grafted on to. It's a standard rootstock, which means it wants to grow a 30' tree. In this zone, hopefully it will come out more like 15' - we'll see! We planted these little guys down by the garden with their roots wrapped in t-shirts. In a couple years they should be big enough to join the rest of the apple trees. After that, we whitewashed all the other fruit trees. If this lasts through winter, it will help prevent sun scald. Until then, it will make apple borer damage more visible which should help head off the worst of it. After that, we spread the last of the ramial chipped wood. The smeared out pile from yesterday actually came to almost a cubic yard (probably about 22 cubic feet), which is about what we needed to mulch all of the trees that got landscape fabric instead of gravel. This was an unexpected win; the pile looked much too small to cover everything. Now we won't need to buy woodchips and spread them in June.

And... that's it! All told, now growing outside are four hardy kiwis, two walnuts, two pears, three cherries, four crab apples, seven plums, and 26 apple trees (plus the ~forest that was here before - but I won't count that).

2 comments:

  1. Good job! And interesting reading.

    p.s. Btw it spells Antonovka :)

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  2. Glda you enjoyed it. Thanks for pointing out the spelling error. :)

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