Monday, June 8, 2015

Preparing Another Nursery

As your probably already suspect by the picture above, I wasn't referring to the baby human kind of nursery. I am starting my own tree nursery. When we moved into this place almost three years ago, our move coincided with two harsh droughts that had been preceded by six extremely wet years. As a result, many of the oak and black cherry trees in the area were stressed which led them to be susceptible to oak wilt disease. Our property consists of two acres and one of those acres had been thickly wooded until about ten years ago. At that time the occupant had bulldozed out the under story leaving behind the biggest trees. The problem with that is the larger trees all grew up in crowded conditions and none of them were specimen trees. In fact most of them looked pretty sickly. All this is to say that in the last three years, I've cut down around 30 of those trees as they died off from the oak wilt.

I love trees and want to replant some trees now that the under story has been cleared and for the most part, the over story too. Buying small trees from a nursery is very expensive with the average rate for a four to five foot tree being $100 - $150 a pop. With lots of deer in the area that are willing to mug somebody for the slightest thing green to feed their addiction, I didn't want to feed the deer such expensive stuff. So I looked for alternatives. As I mentioned before, I am trying to cultivate some redbud trees from seeds which can be seen in the two larger pots on the left side of the picture. They haven't sprouted yet but have only been "planted" for less than a week. For the rest of the trees, I joined the Arbor Day Foundation and with my $10 membership, I got ten "free" trees shipped directly to my door. I thought they might arrive this fall since I signed up after the optimum time for planting trees of early spring. I also thought that they would give me some sort of notice so that I could be prepared. Instead, I went out to our mailbox, the day after our mail was delivered, and found an envelope of trees stuffed inside and with roots that were drying out. I quickly put them in a bucket of water to rehydrate and the directions warned me not to let them soak for more than 6 hours or I might kill them. So instead of spending the rest of the day trying to put them in their future homes and protecting them against deer hoodlums only to have them later not show any signs of life, I stuck them in pots with some leftover soil I used for our large deck planter.

Thus far about half of them are showing signs of life so perhaps they will live. If they do survive through to this fall, I'm going to have to decide what my next move is. I don't know if I should plant them or wait another year to let them get larger. I don't know how well trees can overwinter in pots on a deck. For now though, I am just going to roll the dice and see how things go until then. It will also give me a chance to figure out where I am going to plant all the various trees.


sage said...

Planting a tree is an investment in the future... and deer are a problem!

Ed said...

Sage - I love planting trees so as far as these go, it is cheap entertainment!

ErinFromIowa said...

Google how to DIY tree nursery. There's always someone willing to tell you how to DIY. ;)

Ed said...

Erin - I most definitely use Google as a learning tool!