Orchard Expansion 09

Maybe it would still really be spring even if I weren’t planting more fruit trees. I’m still a glutton for punishment in the form of tree planting, though. I have, however, found that a mattock is a good supplement to a spade for digging holes to plant in, especially in northern New England ground. I say “ground” rather than “soil”, because to me “soil” is something made of clay, sand, and loam, not rocks. Ground is the natural stuff you can stand on, including rocks. In this case, consisting largely of rocks.

As I did last year, I posed for a tree-hugger picture:

That’s six trees, two cherries, two Seckel pears, and two — all right, it’s four trees and two bushes; the last two are beach plum, which is going to be more of a bush than a tree.

The cherries are one White Gold and one Northstar. Maybe I’ve lost track of which is which, but I think this is the White Gold:

… and this is the Northstar:

I definitely forget which of them is a pie cherry and which is a sweet cherry, but I do know there’s one of each.

The pears I’ve wanted to grow are Seckel, little tiny pears that you can eat two or three of for a snack. I put in a tree two years ago, but it’s too close to the driveway and was damaged by the snowplow. I bought two more trees this year and planted them closer to the other pear trees — maybe too close, if they really grow, but it will be a long time before that’s a serious problem. Here’s one:

Here’s the other. It arrived broken. I looked up “grafting fruit trees” on the internet and followed these directions as best I could. That black splotch halfway up is the repair, taped with electrical tape and sprayed with an asphalt pruning sealer paint. I’m keeping my fingers crossed, but I’ll be surprised if the tree really makes it.

By now I’ve put in seven pear trees. One of them was much more severely damaged by the plow than the first Seckel, so I’ve almost given up hope for it. Two of the first batch, a Bartlett and a Bosc, are doing very well. The Bartlett even has a couple of blossoms this year. Eagletree, the Colette pear I planted last year, looks good. That leaves the three Seckels. We’ll wait and see!

Besides the fruit trees, we had over 25 baby Fraser firs to plant. We had put in about 50 evergreen seedlings in the fall, 25 Fraser firs and 25 Colorado blue spruce. The spruce all look good, but none of the firs seemed to have survived. The nursery (nurseryman.com) replaced them and we planted them. They’re small, about six inches above the ground and a foot or 16 inches of roots, so they’re lots easier to plant than the fruit trees.

I neglected to take pictures of the beach plums. I put in two beach plum bushes last year, much later in the season than this. They looked like dry bunches of sticks for months before they put out any leaves, but did eventually start to grow. The new ones should be in better shape than the first two were when they went in, so I’m optimistic about them.

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