Monday, December 30, 2013

Tree moving day

If someone were to ask me what the very first thing that they should do when they buy a farm is, I'd say something that would probably surprise you:   Plant trees

Trees, particularly fruit trees, are something that requires years to grow and get some value from, and you might as well get that clock started ticking as soon as you close on your new property.  

In my case the farm had a variety of trees, but there's a problem:  

County road on west side of property
 The fruit trees that were planted here were actually planted basically on the property line; which meant that the county would end up "pruning" these trees with their road equipment several times a year.  That means that they'd use their brushcutting gear and basically saw off half of the fruit trees randomly.

That's not great for fruit production, or tree health... so what to do?  Well, this is the time of the year that fruit trees are dormant, and I do have a small excavator...  so dig up the root balls of the trees and move them back 20' from the road and fence.   I was as careful as I could be to retain roots and structure, but I did prune the trees back a bit to balance the loss of roots in the move, and I'm hoping that they survive.  They are mostly italian plum trees and produced a pretty good crop last year.  We'll see if they survive.  If not, I'll replace with new trees, consistent with my advice to plant trees as soon as you can.
Trees moved back 20' from fence.
 The second problem I've got is something I have no experience in.  The plum tree in the picture below has some sort of problem that appears to basically have covered the tree and is distressing it.  On the other trees I pruned off all of the growths, but this tree has a massive infestation.  I'm going to see if I can find someone locally to give me an opinion on what it is, but if I can't figure it out I'll probably just cull this tree and try again.
black growths appear unhealthy

closeup of black growths
The growths appear to be in the bark, and cause the bark to ulcer.  With this tree there isn't a branch that doesn't have some of this stuff on it.  On the other trees I'd see one or two growths on the entire tree.  Just to be safe I pruned off any affected branch, but I'd basically have to prune off this entire tree.   If it can be saved I'd like to, but sometimes just removing and restarting is the best option.

UPDATE:  Black knot it is.  I'll cull this tree and watch the others carefully.  You guys are on it!


ellie k said...

My son in law has citrus groves, they have something called green disease and have to be pulled out and burned, this is over 6000 trees. He can replant but not see a crop for at least 5years. He will still have expense of up keep every year. At least he has other crops to fall back on. Sorry about your trees. Happy New Year.

October Rose said...

Looks as though it's got a case of Black Knot:
Good luck

Joanne said...

Looks like you have Black Knot. Do a search with your favorite engine.

When I bought my new place a little over a year ago, it came with a couple of apple trees. One has Woolly Apple Aphid (WAA) and I had to go searching for info on that. Turns out the cure for mine is Hover Flies, which are attracted by Allysum, so I'm going to be hanging baskets of that all over the tree.

Looks like you're in for a lot of trimming, spraying of fungicide or just culling the tree. Good luck.

October Rose said...
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