March cleanup and planting

Orange Tree

The oranges have been harvested. You can see the northern privacy fence in this photo, behind the pluot and white peach trees.

There is still a possibility of a freeze, so I haven’t gone all out in planting as yet.  Right now, I’m doing clean-up.

However, this is the right time of the year to plant new trees, so I’ll be doing that too.

First, the orange tree.

At this time of the year I’ve harvested all of the oranges off of the tree.  The next step is to haul out the ladder and trim the tree back into shape.  I like the tree to stay somewhat compact, and I don’t allow suckers to grow any lower than about 6 feet.  The idea for me is that the tree won’t block my view… so no foliage lower than about 6 feet.

Also, the longer, newer growth from the top of the tree gets frostbitten and wilts or dies.  Together with being shaggy looking, I’m happy to trim it back.

While trimming, I can see that the orange tree is getting ready to bloom.  (sigh)  I have a love/hate relationship with orange blossoms.  They smell soooo good.  And I’m allergic to them.  Worse, since I’m in an area that has orange orchards everywhere in the valley, the whole season is just miserable for me.  Time to break out the anti-allergy meds!

After I trimmed the tree, I broke out the Tanglefoot.  This is an insect barrier that is proof against the Argentine Ant.  I’ve written before how this ant has decimated my crops in the past.  They will also swarm my orange tree, causing it unnecessary stress.  A border of Tanglefoot around the base of the tree keeps them out of my tree entirely.

I also tanglefoot my other trees, and any planters I might use.

Tanglefoot

Tanglefoot around the base of the orange tree.

Also, if you feed a pet outdoors, use Tanglefoot along the outside of the dish so that pests can’t crawl into the bowl.  I’ve placed a Tanglefoot barrier around the base of my pluot, white peach, and white nectarine trees to the north of the yard.

W.Nectarine

White Nectarine blossom

The other fruit trees are just starting to come into bloom now.  The blooms for the white peach and the white nectarine are very lovely, as you can see from these images.

On a side note, you can open each image by clicking on it to get a bigger image with better detail.  I’ve left the images of the fruit blossoms at the same resolution that I took them, so you can see them in their full glory.

wpeach

White Peach blossom

And finally, I’ve got to say that I was so happy with the way that the dried persimmons came out, that I decided that I would try to grow my own.  I’ve been buying persimmons from the local farmer’s market, and will probably continue to do so as my persimmon trees get established.

So from my research, a single persimmon tree does fairly well on its own, but the crop yield is greatly increased when there are two or more persimmon trees planted together.  Since my local home improvement center had some good persimmon trees available, I got two.

This leaves me with a problem… where do I plant them?

I’ve been learning that my potted trees are not doing very well.  I’m not completely sure why.  I’ll be exploring that this spring to figure it out.  So for now, I won’t be planting the persimmons in a pot.  I’ll plant them in my yard.  But where?

As you can see from my yard’s plan, the back yard is out of bounds for a new tree, as is the northern dog run.  I won’t plant a tree in the driveway either.  This leaves the front lawn, and the grassy strip between the sidewalk and the road.

My property does have a short privacy fence just to the north of the fruit trees, so kids and strangers are not encouraged to walk across my yard… this means that my fruit trees are relatively safe from poaching.  But I think that having fruit trees on the strip of grass would be putting too much temptation in front of people.  Not that I mind other people having some fruit, but I prefer to give it to them.  Also, I’m more cautious when I harvest, so I am less likely to damage the tree or harvest the fruit too early.

Persimmon

Persimmons from Lowes

I started looking speculatively at the privet tree (Ligustrum lucidum).  There it sits in the middle of my yard, producing nothing but shade, and a great spot to hang my bird feeders.  I do like this tree, but perhaps not that much.

I planted the persimmons on each side of the tree, one to the North, and one to the South.  My plan is that as the trees mature, I’ll slowly prune back the privet until it is nothing but a trunk.  The wood is good, so I’ll cure it and use it in my woodworking.

Right now the persimmons are just sticks, with an additional two pieces of wood used to support their trunks in case of wind.  I applied tanglefoot to their base so that the ants can’t get to them either.

And that’s all I have for this update.  See you again, later.