|Stone Fruits. Image via Vintageprintable.com|
Today I did some orchard chores.
Last year I planted 3 blackberry cultivars, 5 plants of "Prime-Ark Freedom", a thornless primocane upright blackberry, 3 plants of "Ebony King", a reduced thorn standard upright blackberry, and one plant of "Columbia Star", a new thornless trailing blackberry. Most were in the fig tree row, and were subjected to deer and rabbit foraging. Prime-Ark Freedom was much loved by rabbits, while all of them were chewed, chopped off, and pulled up, by deer.
Yesterday and today I prepped an orchard bed, which consists of the mini-dwarf "Liberty" apple and dwarf "Jonagold" that I moved from Vancouver earlier this winter, and extends to a semidwarf "Winecrisp" apple that I planted bare-root in early 2016. This bed was squashes and tomatoes in 2016. I fenced it off, using 1-inch mesh plastic fencing. This fencing is better to avoid deer browsing, because they cant pull leaves and stems through the mesh, unlike metal 2 x 4 inch fencing.
There was room for a row of the 3 Ebony King blackberries, and separately for the "Columbia Star" blackberry, which will need a trellis. These are not protected from rabbits, who only seemed to like the "Prime-Ark Freedom" variety. In a separate bed, with fencing that should also protect from rabbits, I planted the "Prime-Ark Freedom" plants. Some of these look like they had significant freeze damage.
|Persimmons. Image via Vintageprintable.com|
I also worked on deer fences in the main orchard. Mostly, I now have larger cages for several of the trees, which were subjected to deer browsing via pulling stems through the larger fencing openings. Most got the 1 inch plastic mesh. I have about 5 trees remaining that need some deer cage adjustments, mainly making the cages bigger.
Most of the deer cages are as big as they will ever need to be. As the trees grow larger, most will be too high for normal deer browsing. The deer cages are a hassle, and make it more difficult to mulch, weed, prune, and otherwise maintain the area. Over the next few years, I hope to remove several if not most of the cages, and change to just mowing between trees.