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Apr. 17th, 2014

Hey! I'm not dead, and I'm trying to get back into the habit of posting again, even though I never really have much news except what is going on in the garden/yard. Today I spent most of my outdoors time today trying to prune apple trees, removing large dead limbs. It's really late for that, but thanks to our very late rains everyone had to prune late this year. I think my handsaw needs sharpening though, it was tough work. I tried a new kind of sealant, stuff you spray out of a can. I thought this had to work better than painting it on out of the bucket, but it's still a work in progress. The first time I got some on my hand, which required quite a lot of soap and washing to get off. The second time I said, very well slightly drippy can, I'll just put a plastic bag over my hand when I spray you. Take that! But then I was spraying it on a cut just above my head, and the wind picked that moment to shift. I put my hand up in time but it still blew through my fingers and managed to get my face! So both my hand and face were speckled black until scrubbed thoroughly.

Sadly these trees seem to have been neglected for many years, so many of them are turning out to be hollow in parts of the trunk and in some of the large branches! I'm not quite sure what series of events in this orchard's past has caused this, but the trees need serious rehabilitation, and I think at least three need to go bye-bye and get replaced with new trees. The drought was a little too hard on them, one is all the way dead-dead and the other two appear on their way out. One of the almost dead ones was the Golden Delicious, which worked as a pollinator for the Gravensteins, so hopefully bees will fly in from other nearby pollinator trees and I'll still get some apples off those. I still can't tell what some of the varieties are. Some of the apples are eating quality but some are so old that the tiny apples taste mostly like sugared tannin, and I can't really tell by looking at them what they're supposed to be.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 18th, 2014 02:59 pm (UTC)
I had no idea apple trees were so complicated. My parents have some, but they hire a guy to take care of them.

I am not laughing at the image of you with sealant on your face. Honest.
Apr. 19th, 2014 10:42 am (UTC)
Hey, you can laugh at me! I do.

Hiring someone would be the easiest option- except there's 14 of them (I think?) I keep forgetting, and they're on a slope that's steep enough that it makes ladders difficult so things would be slow and extra expensive, and really more expensive than would be affordable. However, I think someone will have to be hired for a few things, there are branch questions on a few of the good trees that I'm not sure about, and I think someone who knows needs to look and tell me if the balance of the tree will be wrong if certain branches are removed (some of these trees have already started to lean, and a few have had branches split off because of weight and slope I think).

My old apple trees were easy to upkeep (they got yearly pruning, thinning and water) and never had any problems, but I think what has happened here is that they were neglected and it looks like maybe someone was doing major branch removal and not using sealant. I see old sealed marks, but then the ones which have turned into holes do not have any tell-tale sealant darkening. It's possible a fungus got in that way? These trees have problems I've never seen before, so I don't really know. I'm definitely learning things though I guess?
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )