Secret Santa

Phase 2 of orchard project

Discussion in 'Hobbies and Interests' started by Firewood Bandit, May 25, 2016.

  1. Firewood Bandit

    Firewood Bandit

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    Well I have started phase 2 of the orchard project. Last fall all the old trees were removed, burned, stumps pulled with an excavator, area renovated with a power box rake, fertilized/seeded and 8' deer proof fence installed.


    Orchard expansion project | Firewood Hoarders Club

    Phase 2 is now underway. This entailed planting 251 trees, then building a trellis utilizing 12.5 gauge high tensile wire to support the trees. 1/2" EMT Conduit is then installed and wired to the support wire to stabilize. Then the trees will be tied to the conduit with a banding machine, (hasn't come in yet) and the limbs tied horizontal to the high tensile wire.

    Drain tile was installed around the trees to keep herbicide off the trees, keep mulch off the trunks and stop rodent damage in the Winter. Mulch will be applied next week. Here is some pics of the progress:
    This was 4/22

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    Pics today of conduit installed and wired:

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    The little devils are flowering, not good they will get sprayed with thinner to knock the blossoms off.

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    Old area reseeded and will get more expansion in the future. Grass didn't come in well due to extreme dryness.

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    Last edited: May 25, 2016
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  2. Minnesota Marty

    Minnesota Marty

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    Firewood Bandit,
    I admire your hard work. The trees and the orchard look great.
     
  3. savemoney

    savemoney

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    I'm facinated by this project. I'll be watching for your updates.
     
  4. Eric VW

    Eric VW Moderator

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    Looking good, Sir!
    Is there something to planting the trees so close together?
     
  5. Firewood Bandit

    Firewood Bandit

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    Well there will be more, I have trees ordered for 2017 & 2018.
     
  6. Firewood Bandit

    Firewood Bandit

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    This is normal spacing for high density tall spindle planting systems. This is THE WAVE OF THE FUTURE in orchard design. All the commercial orchards are going to this way of growing.

    This video explains it much better than I can, it's long but excellent.


     
  7. Woodwidow

    Woodwidow

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    I was wondering how your project was going. It sure is a lot of work. I like your hole boring machine.
     
  8. Jeffrey Svoboda

    Jeffrey Svoboda

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    That is a long video! Lots of information there though. It reminds me of how they grow hops around here. Just a way bigger trellis.
    What size trees did you end up going with? Are you doing this to make money or as a hobby?
     
  9. Firewood Bandit

    Firewood Bandit

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    The first run of 94 holes took 35 min.

    I run that machine all Winter plowing snow at a local school with it. It's a Cat 277.
     
  10. Firewood Bandit

    Firewood Bandit

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    I've had apple trees since 1991 and have a chemical applicator's license. The standard trees were past prime and the quality of the apples was going down hill. This will be a lot more efficient and use much less chemical for the volume.

    I always order the largest trees they have which would be 1/2" and up feathered. A lot of what I ending up getting is 3/8" whips.
     
  11. Jeffrey Svoboda

    Jeffrey Svoboda

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    I assume this means that it's more of a hobby. I didn't watch the whole movie but did catch the part about planting and size of trees to start with. I would be kinda upset if I didn't get what size I ordered. Seams like more time and chemicals the smaller they are. I guess it really depends on the price too :)
     
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  12. Firewood Bandit

    Firewood Bandit

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    This will produce a substantial amount of apples in two years and a lot more than that within 4 years. I am doing this over 3 years because of the logistics in getting all the trees properly trellised and trained.

    When one orders from nursery often times you get what they have. There are about 40 varieties of apples they sell and each of these has about 10 different rootstocks. Now factor in half a dozen different sizes and the amount of inventory would be staggering. Once they graft the trees they don't always grow at the rate they expect particularly if the field in use has had apple stock in the past and hasn't rested 10 years. Right now if it is not uncommon for big orchards to order 10,000 trees at a time and sometimes orders in the 100,000 - 300,000 range.

    I was notified the trees weren't going to be what I ordered so one is faced with the choice of taking a smaller tree which will be way bigger next year than the one I ordered, or take a chance and order more two years from now which is how far out orders are placed in this business. My normal orders have been 18 months to two years in the future. The smaller 3/8th" whips are about 35% cheaper.

    Here is a view from the top of the hill of the remainder of the area to be planted:

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  13. Jeffrey Svoboda

    Jeffrey Svoboda

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    Nice. Was not aware that you had to place orders so far in advance. 2 yrs that's crazy. :hair:. Thanks for answering questions. May be something I'm interested in in the future.
     
  14. RCBS

    RCBS

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    Love me some fried burrito!
    I have always thought it would be awesome to have an orchard. What type of apples you growing there?
     
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  15. Firewood Bandit

    Firewood Bandit

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    About 3/4 will be divided between 3 strains of Honeycrisp, Regular, Premier (DAS 10) and Firestorm, (a redder variety)

    DAS 10

    An early Honeycrisp debuts


    Also will have Linda Mac, Royal Cortland right now, next year a few Granny Smith and Wolf River, and Buckeye Gala. 10 Indain Summer crabs for pollinators.
     
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  16. RCBS

    RCBS

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    Love me some fried burrito!
    Honey Crisp is my absolute favorite apple! I have heard they took it a step further with a new one called Pixie Crisp but I have yet to lay hands on one.
     
  17. Firewood Bandit

    Firewood Bandit

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    I have not heard of Pixie Crisp, a new apple around here is Swee Tango which is a club apple that only a select few orchards are licensed to grow.

    Honeycrisp has been the one apple in great demand. Unfortunately there are several problems with it that do no lend itself to the backyard gardener.
     
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  18. Firewood Bandit

    Firewood Bandit

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    Well I just got done spraying the new trees with a thinner to make sure they do not try and bear any apples this year. Next year the feathered trees will be allowed to have 5 - 10 apples each. This amount will slightly reduce vigor and get the tree set more fruiting spurs rather than just growing wood.

    In a couple hours after this is dry, all the trees will get the 2nd cover spray which will be a fungicide, insecticide, 10% calcium solution, Borosol, and a non ionic surfactant that also buffers the solution. It's supposed to rain late this afternoon and the heat and high humidity make them vulnerable to scab. The IPM, (Integrated Pest Management system) they are on is spray every 14 days.
     
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  19. RCBS

    RCBS

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    Love me some fried burrito!
    When I first encountered the Honey Crisp at the stores, they were Yuuuuuuge. Now they all seem to be average sized. Literally 1 apple was basically a lunch.

    I think I was incorrect on the Pixie Crisp...its actually Pixie Crunch that I heard about after looking it up. Was told that they are sweeter than the Honeys and just as crunchy.
     
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  20. Firewood Bandit

    Firewood Bandit

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    The size of the apple can be controlled by the grower. Complex carbohydrate models are now used. A tree has a finite amount of carbs it can produce so the decision is to make a lot of small undesirable apples or a fewer # of larger apples. By using thinners the tree gets out of boom and bust cycles of having bumper crops which have small fruit, break branches and stress the tree greatly. A bumper crop is followed by bi annual bearing where the next year nothing is produced. Thinners in the long run are better for the tree as it also has enough energy to set more fruiting spurs for future years.
     
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