[nafex] mowing-voles-mulch-grafting

Gord Hawkes logcabinorchard at cyberus.ca
Mon May 7 10:14:58 EDT 2001

Greetings Del.  We put down hay mulch around newly planted trees until they
are able to fend for themselves (five years), with great success (just
finished spreading about 200 bales).  This mulch moderates soil
temperatures, reduces moisture loss and feeds the trees gradually.  With
mature trees we allow the grass to grow under the tree canopy and sickle mow
it around the first cutting of hay in our area and let it decompose in
place.  We sickle mow again just before harvest.  After leaf fall we flail
mow under the tree canopy to break up fallen leaves and remaining grass

I suspect your mower does not mow under the trees but rather shoots the
clippings under the tree canopy from the rows.  To decrease vole habitat you
might consider raking the mulch/clippings into your rows in fall and then in
early spring mow the clippings back under your trees.  This will help break
up the leaves and reduce scab spore load.  To assist in breaking up the leaf
litter and mulch you might consider mulching blades for the mower.  Last
point, we used fibreglass screening for the first time this past winter with
great success - no damage whatsoever.

Best regards,

Gord Hawkes
Log Cabin Orchard
Osgoode, Ontario
Canada, EH?

-----Original Message-----
From: del stubbs [mailto:pinewoodel at hotmail.com]
Sent: Monday, May 07, 2001 9:00 AM
To: nafex at yahoogroups.com
Subject: [nafex] mowing-voles-mulch-grafting

	No, we're not mowing here yet!, but I was reading in the Pennsylavnia web
site Gordon just posted in their section about voles, and the disadvantage
of a sickle mower making habitat for the little monsters.  When I'm done
planting  I'll have about an acre of fruit trees to care for. I acquired a
16 horse massey with a 4' 3 blade belley mower and, proudly went out and
found a 4' side sickle mower to adapt. My thinking is to use mowed 2' green
hay as mulch-soil builder on our heavy clay hills.
	However, the article recommended a flail mower instead , and i understand
they also have importance in chewing up leaves in the fall for disease
prevention?  I've never seen a flail mower for a garden type tractor... has
anyone ? Is a flail mower that much better than a rotary mower?
Now that i'm adding window screen to the trees hopefully the vole problem
will be licked, but I'd hate to propagate them. Does anyone out their lay
down fresh cut hay for mulch? Use a flail mower?
	Just put out 25 of the apples I grafted onto prunifolia, some grafts grew
4' last summer, and some grafts I had to get out reading glasses to be sure
there was a graft.  The miracle of grafting is such a marvelous thing! This
is a 30 year dream come true, thanks for all the help.   Mn. Del
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