[nafex] Each year you learn something new . . .

Michael Phillips mphil at together.net
Sun May 6 08:40:50 EDT 2001

We are coming into tight cluster here in northern New Hampshire just now . .
. spring has become intense with finishing the pruning, planting new trees,
and spreading compost.  Most incredibly, we finally got up an 8-wire deer
fence around the hillside orchard and will soon complete a fence for the new
block as well. Nothing like a state fencing grant deadline from Fish'N'Game
(to keep out their cloven devils!) to get that job done.

Anyhow, before the memories of this past winter's deep snows fade, I have
some questions to pose to all you southerners (which is something I can say
about almost all of you except Victoria Caron and our Canadian members). I
lost most of the lower branches on my three-year-old M.9 trees, simply
ripped off the trunk anywhere from three feet down by the icy pull of
crusting snow. I had thought I'd do more damage going out and trying to free
the buried branches. I was wrong. Does anyone else in snow country have
suggestions for future deep winters? My youngest standards also lost some
branches but there's room on those to grow ever higher. I'm assuming the
gaping tears will heal over and the trunk can recover structurally. The M.9
trees have a 6' rail stake for support. Any suggestions for a bark healing

The bigger shocker occurred in the nursery. I had whip-grafted 50 MM.111 and
50 M.26 rootstock last spring. My daughter's baby goats nipped them in
midsummer, but each recovered enough to have a 2 to 3 foot whip going into
winter. The crushing snow took every one. And most broke just above the
healed splice of the graft . . . but generally close enough for me to think
any scion buds are gone. Here's a case where the latent buds of the
rootstock were stripped off regularly last summer. I don't know if I'll be
having a chance to bud on to new growth or not this summer. I didn't think
the snow would wipe away single vertical shoots. Ironically, this was the
first year we had no vole damage whatsoever.

The best lesson I can figure (seemingly as always) is to move to a more
hospitable climate!
Michael Phillips
Lost Nation Orchard
Heartsong Farm Healing Herbs
RFD 1  Box 275
Groveton, NH 03582

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