More fruit trees

We got two new fruit trees to replace the tree that died last year.

Late 2013, we ordered three trees through the mail, and two of those trees are doing fine.  I wondered if there was a problem with the delivery.  We could have got our money back, but it was only $30, and didn’t seem worth it to me.

This January Lowe’s got in a LOT of fruit trees, and among them were the dwarf varieties that we like.  We still want to train trees in espallier style along the North fence in our front yard, and dwarf trees would be good for this crowded area.

So I picked up another White Nectarine to replace the one that died.  I also picked up a dwarf cherry tree, to try something that Wendy is excited about – potted trees.

Unfortunately I didn’t take photos of me planting the cherry tree in a pot.  In another post, I’ll show the results, and what I plan for that.

I followed the instructions for planting the White Nectarine.  So far, so good.

A week after planting, the buds on the tree seem different.  The tree is still wintering along with my other fruit trees, but they seem otherwise healthy.  I’ll need to wait for warmer weather for their budding.  I expect the two other trees will be fine, and I hope for good things from this little guy too.

Next, while I was taking care of the trees, I took the time to put Tanglefoot on all of their bases.

I’ve mentioned before that we have problems with the Argentine Ant.  These pests are the downfall of my garden.  They do more damage than all the other bugs combined, because they farm aphids and scale insects, actually increasing their populations past what it would be normally.  They also tend to sort of “nest” in my plants, where masses of ants will rest in the shady side of the plant until it is time to move again.

Spring of 2014 I noticed that the ants had a superhighway into my orange tree.  They were raising aphids and scale insects like crazy.  So I put a Tanglefoot barrier around the base of my orange tree to stop this behavior.

Ooops.  I made the mistake of doing this during the day, trapping about a dozen million Argentine Ants in the tree.

The ants ran down the trunk of the tree, came to the Tanglefoot barrier, and couldn’t go any farther.  They stayed on the shady side of the trunk. (And who wouldn’t?  It was hot!)  They just sort of massed there.

After several days, about half of the ants had grown tired and fallen off the tree.  They never tried to bridge the barrier.  So I dusted the rest of them with Diatomaceous Earth and in a day or two the remaining ants sliced themselves apart on sharp little pieces of silica.

If you decide to do this when the weather is warm, during the daylight when the Argentine ant is active, you’ll get similar results.  It is better to do this in the winter, or in the summer at night.  Winter is better when the colony is reduced and sleeping.  Summer night is better because fewer ants will be, “tending the herd”.

So I tanglefooted all of the trees.  Let the ants go hungry.