Friday, April 20, 2012

Tree Cuttings

Tree Cuttings
When we moved here in Sept. '08 there were no plants or trees around the house. There were large mature trees on the hill and down the driveway, but nothing near the house. I don't like emptiness so I had to begin filling in all that empty space!

Around the house itself I planted red & white roses along the front porch, and Burning Bushes on the southwest side. Along the fence line in the front yard I planted 2 Curly Willows and a Contorted Filbert. On the hill I planted 6 of those multi-fruit trees - only 3 of which are still alive; 2 doing very well (the 5-apples), and 1 (the 5-plums) that is a bit "iffy". And down on the other end of the corn crib, I planted a gorgeous deep red/purple Chinese Plum tree, which I can't wait until it gets bigger! Sadly, I didn't take a picture of it when I planted it last year. Honestly, I didn't think it would make it.

Each year I've taken cuttings from the Curly Willows, then the next year planted those that rooted. I have 3 planted elsewhere around the hill. They're fast-growing trees, so those first ones we planted 3 yrs ago are now over 10' tall and just about as wide. Here are their before & after pics:

Tree #1 Before (Spring 2009)

 After (Spring 2012)

 Tree #2 Before (Spring 2009)

 After (Spring 2012)

 The Contorted Filbert hasn't grown quite so much. LOL It hasn't gotten any taller, but it has gotten wider. Go figure. Not sure if it's because it's a slow growing tree or if it's just the tree's location. Either way, it's still a cool looking tree!

Before (Spring 2009)

After (Spring 2012)

This year I decided to thin all 3 trees out (the Contorted Filbert always gets really thick around the base). The Chinese Plum I learned has to be kept trimmed back a bit at first or it will get all spindly and unattractive. So it got a pruning as well. 

Previously I'd only take a few cuttings here & there of the Curly Willows, but this time I went to town. They were definitely thanking me that they could now breathe easier! Of course, the Curly Willows quite talkative anyway. The Contorted Filbert is a rather quiet stodgy ol' character, never really expressing himself much, so his response was a rather stoic "ok, thanks" kind of thing. But I got the definite feeling that he feels much better as well.

The pruning was the easy part. Now, the fun began: haul out the long folding table so I could work outside (too gorgeous out not to!), brought out the planters for the cuttings to be planted in, brought out the fertilizer, a large tub, the hose, my hat to keep the sun off me and I was ready to begin.

I laid out each of the individual tree types in their own pile, stripped the leaves from the branches as I cut them into 8" + sections. These were then placed in the tub which I'd filled with water and some of the fertilizer, so I had a kind of "fertilizer soup". Once the branches of the tree I was working on was cut and in the tub I began getting the pots ready for them: soil, fertilizer, more soil, water, then placed the cuttings, then more soil, then more water. Then place the planter on the plant shelf I have that is attached to the back steps (next to the new Herb Garden Wheel).

This whole process took me about 4 or 5 hours. I had far more cuttings of the Curly Willows than I had soil and pots to place them in, but I think 52 is enough to get at least some of the cuttings to root! LOL

My total cuttings were:
7 Chinese Plum
9 Contorted Filbert
52 Curly Willow
My shelf of cuttings (the top planter is Lavender seeds)

Next year I should have a few trees to sell! If I hang on to some of them for another year, then I'll have even larger ones to sell. Maybe, just maybe I can convince hubby that I really do need a greenhouse! :) 

A greenhouse & bees are my next projects-to-be!

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