Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Salamander's Orchard: Grafting and Mowing

The new trees in the East row are grafted to Nova Spy.  The middle two rows are Enterprise.  The West row is Honeycrisp (you are welcome, Salamander).  I grafted the G.935 rootstock I planted earlier this year.  I also grafted trees where the entire top died out and it was pushing suckers...thirteen trees if memory serves.
First dandelions.  230 degree days B42F.
A couple of grafting shots.  I got busy and forgot to take them.

This is one of the trees that died out and pushed suckers.  It is in the west row so it is being grafted to Honeycrisp. I like being able to stand up and graft.  Kneeling is good for the soul but kneeling in nettles makes my knees tingle.

Wrapping.  Three tricks to wrapping with a rubber band.  Start at the bottom.  Keep tension on the rubber band as you wrap.  Terminate the wrap by putting the last wrap over the tip of your thumbnail and flipping it over the end of the band on the final wrap.  Books tell you to stick the end of the band through the loop but that takes three hands.
We planted fifteen fruit trees in Salamander's Orchard and another twenty five persimmons planted in the swamp this year.  Even though we did not get the entire 2017 plan executed I still feel like we had a successful spring.  I expect every tree in the orchard survive and two-thirds of the trees in the swamp.

Planting trees throws along shadow.  God willing, those trees will still be there thirty years from now and will produce fruit most years.


Yeah, a hand mower.  If you are going to hit a rock or a stump it is better to lunch a $135 hand mower than an $800 PTO driven mower.
Before.  The grass was not very tall but mostly I was mowing to discourage nettles, autumn olive, blackberries, raspberries, multiflora rose, mulberry seedlings, poison ivy and the like.
After.  The blue tubes are "tree tubes".  They hasten growth and discourage deer and rabbit browsing.  The tree tubes mark where I grafted the G.935
I got three quarters of the orchard mowed.  Then I packed up and got to Eaton Rapids High School two minutes before Kubota walked out the door.  Mrs ERJ's minivan is in the shop being repaired so I got to pick him up.

Cattail note:
Cattails are between 4" and 6" tall.  They are almost invisible due to the standing, dead, brown cattails from last year.   This would have been a good day to spray cattails because the wind was blowing toward the shore.  Any spray drift would be pushed to land rather than out into the water.

Cattail control will have to wait for another day.  The shoots are just not tall enough and the water level is high.  There is no way to put herbicide on them without some getting into the water.

A "hack" for applying herbicide to fussy areas is to put on a pair of latex gloves followed by a pair of fleece gloves.  Dip your double gloved hand into the diluted herbicide up to the knuckles (no thumb) and then hand apply to the leaves of only the plants you want gone.  You will be surprised at how precisely you can apply especially after you get the knack of using your thumb to guide protected plants away from your fingers.

A more "production" version of this is to use a paint roller and to roll the diluted herbicide onto the offensive plants.  This technique demands that surfacant, i.e. detergent, be added to the herbicide to ensure good wet-out.

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