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  • Subject: Re: [nafex] Pin Cherry question
  • Date: Thu, 27 Dec 2012 11:52:57 -0500 (EST)

In a message dated 12/26/2012 11:27:45 PM Eastern Standard Time, writes:

> A professor at the University of Alaska - Fairbanks told me that Pin
> Cherry trees, Prunus pennsylvanica L., that grow there were imported from
> the lower 48. That area typically gets -40 F in Winter. A former NAFEXer
> in that area grows them and claims that they bear fruit every year.
> I have Pin Cherry trees, here in Pequot Lakes, Minnesota, where the
> temperature rarely dips that low and my trees bear fruit only once or
> twice
> in ten years. So what is the possibility that Pin Cherry requires
> bitterly
> cold weather to bear fruit? Anyone have an idea???

Hi Jim,

Any ideas? Here is my thought.

Prunus puts on the flowering buds the previous year to flowering. With
cherry, peach, plum, apricot (all Prunus) the flower buds break bud shell
and flower early. Wide swings in early spring temperatures can cause early
development of the flower pistils then a deep drop in temps will damage the
stigmas preventing pollination.

I checked the average high temps of Minneapolis and Fairbanks for February,
March, April and May. Fairbanks the average highs are in Fahrenheit is 8,
25, 43, & 60. For Minnesota (near you) 29, 41, 58, & 69. I suspect your
higher early spring temps are awaking the pistils and then damaging them. Or,
the average high at Fairbanks in March is 25 while in your area 41. 41F will
cause Prunus to break flower dormancy.

Here in Indiana pin cherry flowers very early.

Other thinkers? Anyone disagree?

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Subject: [nafex] mulching blueberries
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I pretty much agree with you Lee, although I can imagine an advantage to
finer mulch in that it would tend to decompose more rapidly than courser
stuff- this would presumably increase the release of humic acids and also
speed the presence of organic matter in the soil itself- I just haven't
been convinced by Michael's explanations that this is in any way
established in actual research- he's spoken of but not directed us to any
of this- nor has he provided his own theory of why sawdust would be
superior to a courser product. Knowing why is so important in actually
putting information to work effectively. What if you have easy access to
free arborist wood chips and not to sawdust? Some scale is needed to make
decisions in management.

Also, in my own plot, I've resorted to woven landscape fabric which I cover
with course wood chips (scraping off and replacing every couple of years,
putting the old chips below) and experienced no obvious change to their
growth and production, but it does apparently slow the poison ivy and
bindweed that I haven't been able to irradicate from the plot. Is there
any research to back up the liability of landscape fabric that you
mention? I have noticed that soil sometimes get very soppy immediately
under fabric.

Funny, I sent Michael a private e-maill a couple days ago and made the same
point as you do in your last sentence. I had thought he'd respond to my
last post by saying that the drainage had been diagnosed at the low points
and found equivalent to the rest of the field.

Lee's comments >"In my experience and understanding of what's going on
in the soil, over time there shouldn't be much difference on the effect
between any of the organic mulches. High C/N mulches do not tie up N
because their breakdown rate is mostly at the soil-mulch interface, so is
slow, with the subsequent mineralization rate about matching the rate at
which N is tied up. This theory matches my 30 years experiences with
mulching blueberries with various organic materials. I do add soybean meal,
1-2 pounds per hundred square feet to keep the plants vigorous; yields are
very good, about 11 quarts per plant.

I think the important thing is to mulch with any weed-free organic
material, without fussing between whether to choose one material or
another. A fabric weed barrier not only is usually ineffective for long
term weed control but also is counterproductive, interfering with
biological activity at the mulch-soil interface.

Also, chlorosis due to pH that's too high or poor drainage is the same.
Iron is not available to the plant in either case, with the resulting
interveinal chlorosis of youngest leaves first."

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