Archive for July, 2011

heat, rain, pole pruner

July 29, 2011

After a brutal spot of hot weather, a nice week with moderated temps and now a nice rain. Haven’t been up to 5isl in a bit, but I have to get up there soon to do the bush-hogging of the fields and fight the weeds back from the electric fence. At home we’ve been busy with work, but I did acquire a Stihl 131 pole pruner, a really fantastic machine for rehabilitating the menagerie of overgrown wild apple trees in the woods here. Purrs like a kitten and plenty of power, at least as much as you want 12 feet over your head. It’s also great for general neatening up, and stripping off the lower branches of young trees to upgrade the saw timber (20 years down the road…). Tomorrow I’m going to a workshop to learn how to do bud grafting, since the halting attempt I made last year didn’t get very far. That’s another reason to get up to 5isl – there’s a handful of plum rootstocks in the inter-rows to be grafted over to peaches.

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Trying to keep up

July 17, 2011

If I have any regular readers, they have my apologies for long absence – there hasn’t been a lot of time for orcharding, let alone documentation. But, I did get a couple hours in the orchard today, and things are OK. There are a handful of apples on the same two precocious trees as last year (Roxbury and Yarlington), as well as a handful of peaches (most of which I snipped off), and the trees appear to be making a decent season of growth. I went around with the string trimmer and beat back the grass around each tree, though what they really need, and I haven’t had time to make them, is mulch. Maybe I’ll get the Jari mower up there in a couple of weeks and cut the grass again, and use the cuttings to mulch the trees. But it won’t be long before it’s time to pull the mulch back to limit rodent habitat this fall.

I also thinned the squash and pumpkins between rows down to three per hill, which I hope will make the crop size up better than last year. Things are starting to look a bit dry in the orchard, but I haven’t got time to do much watering. Pops’ trees have a moderate crop on them, and the pears are looking good, except a couple that look like they might be blighty – need to research pear varieties with resistance to fireblight. Fortunately, the pears are not contiguous with the orchard.