Saturday, 15 August 2015

Más Frutas

                More fruit is on the way as I have just recently planted 14 more fruiting trees at my grandpas farm this week! I planted five dwarf apple trees (“dwarf” allows more trees per acre and fruit that is ready in less years that normal sized trees), two pear trees, two more crab apple trees, three apricots and two plum trees.  Thanks to my coworkers at Jeffries Nurseries for supplying great quality trees!

                I have learned that there are a few things to keep in mind when planting trees in general. Water is the most important element to control. They should be watered at planting and then watered every two days for about a month. After that, about every week or in very dry conditions and finally, watered very good right before freeze up. When the tree is freshly planted, the surrounding soil around the newly planted root ball acts like a wick and sucks away all moisture from it leaving it very dry. So people who plant a tree on a Friday and come back on a Monday from camping can sometimes see a somewhat sick or drying tree. I should also mention that it seems like planting can happen anytime right up to freeze up.

                If I back up for just a second, I should mention a thing or two about the actual planting first. You just need a large enough hole dug so that the root ball can fit and have its soil line just a bit lower than ground level (so that water flows to the roots, not away.) It is also recommended that you use potting soil to fill in the space between the root ball and ground soil. After the tree is in the ground, and the potting soil is used and packed in and on top a bit, make sure a sort of water bowl is constructed so that when you water heavy (never water light, you really want the water to penetrate the whole root ball), that the water flows and stays on the root ball and not to the surrounding ground.

Clockwise starting top left: Apricots, Pear, Pear/apples, Dwarf apple

                A couple other things to think about before even planting are which varieties to choose and where to plant. Check to see if the variety of tree chosen needs a pollinator in order to set fruit. If so, that means that you need to also choose a genetically different tree to plant as well. Many fruit trees will not self-pollinate themselves or pollinate with another tree that is that same variety. As for the planting site, planting in sheltered areas is always preferred with fertile, well-drained soil. Make sure you also give it space to grow on all sides. It may look small now but you have to think about the potential. Some may have a 20’’ radius when fully grown.

                I had plenty of crab apples to go around this year from the trees that were planted many years ago (as you can see from the top picture). You can also see from the pictures that the strawberries, raspberries and blackberries are getting some great plant mass and will hopefully be less vegetative and more productive next year.  I plan to plant perhaps 10 more apples, two more of each other kind of tree and also expand into saskatoons, cherries and sea buckthorn and haskap next summer. We’ll see how it goes.   Cheers!

Left to Right: Raspberry, Blackberry and Strawberry plant

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