Saturday, May 27, 2017

Trees Please

Remember when I talked about planting some trees on Earth Day?

Well I placed an order from Stark Brothers Nursery. And this is a completely unsolicited response on my part... They have AMAZING customer service. Stark's was incredibly communicative. I received emails every step of the order process, who promptly fulfilled the order and shipped. I ordered April 9th, had a shipping confirmation on April 11 with delivery on April 14. And this was not a paid expedited shipment. Color me impressed!

Ok--a funny and cute anecdote about the post title "Trees Please". When my daughter was a toddler, she loved broccoli, except she couldn't pronounce broccoli. She would ask for "trees please". haha

Since these were bare root saplings, I soaked the roots for 24 hrs after they were un-packaged.

And this stuff--coconut coir-- is the shizzle!

It is a SUPER hard, compressed block of coconut fibers. But when you add water, it is oh so magical. This is an eleven pound block.  Add water and it expands substantially. I failed to estimate exactly how much of this stuff I would end up with from that compressed block, ha. This is my 4 cubic feet garden cart. Soooo, yeah, lots of coconut coir. Fear not, I have put it to good use--more on that later.

I mixed the coir and an organic garden soil in a 1:3 ratio. The coir is a great soil conditioner. It helps with water retention, air circulation and adds organic matter to the soil while having a neutral pH.

I purchased 3 Heirloom variety Apple trees--Antique Treasures Collection. The collection contained 3 semi dwarf bare root trees of  1 each Cox's Orange Pippin Antique -an English cultivar dating back to 1835; Orleans Antique-a NY cultivar dating to 1924; Ben Davis-this is a US cultivar dating back to the 1800's.

I also purchased Peach tree seedlings--the Burbank Choice Peach Tree Collection. Saplings? Or should I say whips? Because they have no branching yet. This collection consisted of  2 dwarf trees-1 each July Elberta Peach and Starking Delicious. The July Elberta is heat resistant, originates in California and dates back to the 1930's. The Starking Delicious is frost hardy Elberta type, originates in Arkansas and dates back to 1949.

I currently have 2 Redhaven dwarf trees. Errrr... 1 tree and a bush?   Redhaven's  originate from Michigan and date back to the 1930's. Not sure what happened to the 2nd tree/ bush.  I thought it died but apparently not. I am debating whether to keep the "bush" or not. I need to see if  the shoots are above the graft.  I am not certain if these are suckers or water sprouts.

All of my peaches are self pollinating, freestone with a July harvest. And in case you were wondering clingstone vs. freestone refers to how the fruit flesh clings (or doesn't) to the fruit pit when cut in half. The tree on the left is 2-3 years and needs a bit of pruning. See the large "V" branch on the front of the tree? I think that should be pruned off. I am worried once fruit laden it may split. The tree/bush was planted last year.

  I started all my bare root saplings in 5 gallon buckets  because I haven't had much luck in the past years with my trees. Too many variables with weather, soil conditions, deer (gggrrr), or unfortunate incidents due to the weedwhacker. I decided I put too much money in to lose another set of saplings. And as you can see by the pictures,  the bucket saplings are growing quite well. The big question is should I plant them this year?

Fruit trees should be planted in the Spring but I really wanted to give the trees a chance to grow. If I were to plant them in fall I would need to plant them by the 1st week of September to make certain they can acclimate. I could mulch the roots and wrap the trunk prior to the onset of cold weather. The biggest damage for trees in cold weather is when the sun warms the trunk and the temperatures drop rapidly after the sun goes down.

I know it is only May and I am already talking about winter prep. If I overwinter them, should I keep them in the 5 gallon buckets? Or  make root balls and wrap them in Burlap? I can over winter them in the garage--which is cinder block and uninsulated.

I really, REALLY don't want to lose any more trees. I have lost all of my apple trees (a total of 4) and 3 peach trees.  Not to mention multiple ornamentals.  It is time consuming and expensive.  What say you, my bloggie friends? I am open to advice and suggestions.

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