Once You Go Lumberjack

Orchard expansion project

Discussion in 'Hobbies and Interests' started by Firewood Bandit, Dec 19, 2015.

  1. Firewood Bandit

    Firewood Bandit

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    Well the time has come to redo my orchard. The trees were standards and 25 years old. As apple trees age they get way to big, the quality of the fruit goes down as does size. So it was time for them to go and get with the modern way of growing trees which is the vertical axis system or tall spindle system. This presentation is excellent but long, unless you are interested in apples you might want to skip.





    First the old trees had to go so a felling, dragging burning day got things started:

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    After:

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    Next the stumps had to go, so mini Cat excavator did a nice job.

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    Then the root balls, so I used my neighbors Cat 277 with a grapple and got a 20 yard roll off container.


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  2. Firewood Bandit

    Firewood Bandit

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    Well that got things off to a good start. But then the BIG project was constructing 1000' of 8' deer proof fencing. The first stage was dismantling 1100' feet of deer fencing I bought used from a guy who raised red deer for meat until CWD ruined the venison market. I didn't take any pics of that but trust me, it was a pretty big project and ended up with pulling 63 twelve foot posts, 4 gates 16' long and all the wired. The wire weighs 440#s per 330 feet, so it's heavy.

    I put all the posts in by hand with a Seymore post hole digger which works amazingly well. Took about 4 min. a post.

    seymour post hole auger - Bing images

    After getting the posts in and corners braced I had a crew to help with the wire. Stretched it with a homemade fence stretcher and the winch on the ATV. (had to chain the end so it wouldn't move)

    After:

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    The project cut into my normal passion which is wood cutting, but I managed to get 29 loads in so far:

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    Can't forget the boys, Yatt & Kade:

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    Kade is begging for ball tossing:

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  3. Firewood Bandit

    Firewood Bandit

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    Back yard is going to look a lot different in the future. I have 468 trees ordered over the next 3 springs, but have room for quite a big more than that.
     
    clay shooter, 1964 262 6, XXL and 8 others like this.
  4. Minnesota Marty

    Minnesota Marty

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    Firewood,
    You are one ambitious man. Looks like you have the equipment to make the job go a little better. The auger should make the planting of the 468 trees go good. What varieties are you going to put in?
    What is it 3-5 yrs. before your first crop?
     
    1964 262 6, wildwest, XXL and 3 others like this.
  5. Firewood Bandit

    Firewood Bandit

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    Thanks for the kind words. BTW, I play 18 holes of golf every day in the summertime, walking no sissy riding around in a cart after the boys get their 30 min. run.


    For the tree planting, even a 3 point tractor mounted auger isn't good enough. I will use the Cat 277 skid steer again with an 18" hydraulic post hole digger. A machine pushing 80HP aught to dig holes in short order.

    On Bud #9 rootstock you can expect 5-10 apples per tree in the second year. Leaving a small # of apples like this reduces vigor and makes the tree set more fruiting spurs for the future.

    Most of the trees will be Honeycrisp and Premier Honeycrisp. The latter known as DAS - 10 isn't going to be commercially available but I lucked out when ordering and got 36 coming in the Spring.

    An early Honeycrisp debuts


    About a third will be Royal Cortland, Zestar, Linda Macs with a small # of Granny Smith and Wolf River.
     
    1964 262 6, wildwest, XXL and 6 others like this.
  6. Minnesota Marty

    Minnesota Marty

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    I have never tried the Premier Honeycrisp, Linda Macs and the Wolf River..... interesting.
    Well in a few years I will have to take the short road trip down toward Lacrosse to check out your trees. The drive down along the river is great anytime of the year. I especially like in late winter to get some great eagle photos.
     
  7. Firewood Bandit

    Firewood Bandit

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    Your welcome anytime Marty.

    I have other apple trees too, I didn't wipe them all out. The 3 year old trees are producing and these will in the 2nd year.

    These trees are now 3.5 years old.

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    Have to keep these critters out, the reason for the fence.

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  8. bocefus78

    bocefus78

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    My oh my! One day I hope to have such an awesome orchard...and the time to maintain it. Great pics!
     
  9. Elderthewelder

    Elderthewelder

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    did you process the trunks of the trees for firewood or burn the entire tree?
     
    M2theB, 1964 262 6, wildwest and 3 others like this.
  10. Firewood Bandit

    Firewood Bandit

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    Drug them all down to the burn pile with the lawn mower and burned them up. Absolutely nothing left, but it took three days for the coals to truly burn down. Everything on the cutting day was done in about 6.5 hours including lunch. I have a lot of hardwoods and only process red & white oak plus hickory. A little cherry too, smells good.

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  11. savemoney

    savemoney

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    I really enjoyed that film about the new way to grow fruit trees. I gave up planting trees years ago because I considered myself too old to live long enough to get any crop. This guy is saying a crop in 2-3 years. Uses very little space.
     
    M2theB, 1964 262 6, wildwest and 2 others like this.
  12. Firewood Bandit

    Firewood Bandit

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    Yup, where I live there are quite a few orchards. This is the new method they are using. I went to a seminar this Summer and a local orchard just put in 40,000 trees this way.

    The other thing is as I get older, that climbing around on 10' ladders above the dreaded "RED" step is to be avoided. I fell off it once when the ground was thawing.
     
  13. NH mountain man

    NH mountain man

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    Great pics, you have such nice property and awesome stacks. The apples looked some good I just wanted to reach and pick one. Enjoy your wonderfull Orchard!
     
    savemoney, 1964 262 6 and wildwest like this.
  14. Firewood Bandit

    Firewood Bandit

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    Thanks for the kind words.

    Nary a track in the fenced area, the fence even keeps the dogs out. The deer are emptying the bird feeders nightly and broke off a branch one was hanging on.
     
  15. NH mountain man

    NH mountain man

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    How about the bears? My SIL had a small ten foot apple tree here and a bear bent it right over to ground to get the apples.
     
    1964 262 6 likes this.
  16. Firewood Bandit

    Firewood Bandit

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    Haven't had bears yet. They have been seen within 15-20 miles of here though.
     
    1964 262 6 and NH mountain man like this.
  17. NH mountain man

    NH mountain man

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    Hope they don't find you, they can raise hell. I've seen it many times.
     
    1964 262 6, papadave and wildwest like this.
  18. XXL

    XXL

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    You don't hear much about Wolf River apples and they are hard to find. My wife loves the for baking (as do I :whistle:) but we only have one supplier and we live in orchard country. They peel, slice and freeze very well for future pies and apple crisps:drool: :yes:
     
    1964 262 6, papadave and wildwest like this.
  19. mike bayerl

    mike bayerl

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    Great looking dogs!
     
  20. Firewood Bandit

    Firewood Bandit

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    Had Kade, the younger one down to a game farm today and shot some pheasants. Kade thought this was a very good idea.