Sunday, April 19, 2015

Unintended Cuttings. 4.19.15

This winter I used rods cut from tree trimmings to hold edging in place.  These are plums that started growing from the rods.  I don't know if they will continue.  The one on the right was eaten by rabbits.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Pawpaws and Persimmons. Progress Report. 4.18.15

Pawpaw blossom.  Sunflower pawpaw.  4.18.15

Saijo Persimmon with frost damage.  4.18.15

Yates Persimmon with frost damage.  4.18.15
There was a small frost.  Some damage occurred for new shoots and new leaves of grapes, some figs, Saijo persimmon, Yates persimmon sapling, Illinois Everbearing mulberry.  The plums and apples do not appear affected.  I'm not sure about the peaches, might be some peach leaf curl or other condition.  For the most part, I think the effects look minor and the plants should recover without problems.

Nikita's Gist Persimmon has nicely greened swelling buds, but they still look too tight to have been affected by the frost.

The first flower on the first pawpaw has opened and begun to color.   This is on Sunflower.  Too early to collect pollen and there are no other pawpaw flowers open to pollinate, yet.

Apple Grafts. Progress Report. 4.18.15

Keepsake Apple whip.tongue onto Jonared stock tree.  4 weeks.  4.19.15

Apple varieties whip/tongue onto Jonared stock tree.  4 weeks.  4.19.15
 The apple Fedco whip and tongue grafts from last month look good.  Most have swelling buds with leaves still smaller than a mouse ear.  Redfield, Porter, Priscilla, and Keepsake all have evidence of growth.  Granite Beauty is not there yet but is also not dehydrated so there is still a good chance.  This will be my sampling  / experiment tree, with a branch of each variety.  Very pleased so far.

I looked at the Fedco scion list again.  They are not selling more this year.  There are a couple of apple varieties that look interesting for next year - a long way away, and who knows what will happen.  The ones that I liked this time were King David and Sweet Sixteen, for interesting sounding flavors and disease resistance, and for the stories.
Jonared Apple with 4 whip and tongue grafts.  4.18.15

Jonagold W+T graft on M27 at one year.  4.18.15
The Jonagold that I whip and tongue grafted last year on M27, and planted in ground late winter, has bloomed nicely.  I've played the honeybee and pollinated with other varieties, especially Prairie Fire.

The unkown apple from the neighbor, on M27, shows no evidence of growth so far.  The Redfield on M27 has leaves the size of a baby mouse ear, but I'm not sure the rootstock is viable so it may be lost.

Plum Grafts. Progress Report for T-buds and Whip and Tongue Grafts. 4.18.15

The plum whip and tongue grafts that I did last month are looking good.   Buds are swelling for most of the grafts.

Of the Fedco grafts, Ember on Hollywood rootstock is almost leafing out.  Ember top-worked onto unknown plum, buds are swelling nicely.  Both Hanska top-worked onto unknown plum are greening and swelling.  One LaCrescent is doing so, the other one does not look dehydrated, so still has a chance.

Ember whip/tongue onto 1-year Hollywood rootstock.  4 weeks.  4.19.15

Of bud grafts from last summer, they were worth the wait.  Most are growing nicely.  Hollywood top-worked onto  several other trees, is growing.  One of the Prunus cerasifera buds bloomed and set fruit.   The other is growing leaves and stem.  I think I'll leave the fruit there, curious to see how they turn out.  I want only one branch of P. cerasifera, so if the fruiting bud-graft does not grow further, that's fine.  Shiro top-worked onto various trees is also growing on all, with some vigor.

I read several references recommending bud grafting for plums.  Clearly  bud grafting works for plums, but it looks like whip and tongue can also be successful.  There is still some growing to be done before I know for certain.  The advantage of whip and tongue is that budstock can be obtained as I did, in late winter/early Spring, and it does not take the long wait to see if they take.  That is also true in some cases for June budding, such as the Shiro and P. cerasifera buds that grew several foot after I June grafted them last year.

So far this looks like this year has great potential for plums and for grafting plums.
Hollywood Plum bud graft, approx 10 months.  4.18.15

Prunus cerasifera bud graft at 10 months.  4.18.15

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P. cerasifera plum T-budded onto unknown stock.  8 months..  4.19.15

La Crescent Plum whip/tongue top worked onto unknown plum  4 weeks.  4.19.15

Hanska whip/tongue onto unknown plum.  4 weeks.  4.19.15

Shiro T-bud onto unknown plum.  8 months.  4.19.15

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Crimson Pointe Plum Fruit Set. 4.11.15

Crimson Pointe Plum Fruit Set.  4.11.15

Crimson Pointe Fruit Set.  4.11.15
 Crimson Pointe plum has impressive fruit set this year.  Last year there were none at all.  The year before, about 3 or 4 plums.

I'm not sure what changed.  I did hand pollinate with flowers from Hollywood plum and Shiro.   I left those branches in the tree for insect pollination, too.   Maybe that was it, or temperature / rain difference.

Looks like potential for a great crop.

There is Charlie, always nearby.

Bearded Iris Challenges. 4.12.15

Irises in mixed border.  4.11.15

Irises in mixed  border.  4.11.15

Irises in raised bed.  4.11.15
I'm convinced I've been going about growing bearded irises all wrong.  It's not for lack or reading or following advice.  But I think the advice has been all wrong.

I have bearded irises in 4 main locations.

Most of the advice that I have seen is:

They need good drainage.
They should not be mulched.
Plant with rhizome on top of soil.
They need full sun.
Don't over fertilize.
Keep weeds out.

In the various locations -

1.  At the Vancouver yard.  I've been moving those to the Battleground place.   Of the onese that remain, they are not mulched, they are in semi-sunny to shady locations, they don't get fertilizer, and there is a lot of grass among them.  Those do ok.  Not great, but no diseases, and they bloom every year.

2.  At Battleground.  Scattered around the place, no care, growing among weeds and grass, sunny to shady.  Mos of those also do OK.  Not great, but no diseases and they have some flowers. 

3.   At Battleground.  In the front perennial borders. I planted those 3 years ago.  I had heavily amended the area with compost.  The weeds were difficult to manage.  The irises did not thrive.  I didn't care much about there.  Finally I gave up and mulched with a thick layer of wood chips.  I figured they would just die off, and I could plant other plants.   Some had a think layer of pine needles, then a thick layer of wood chips.  Those are growing like crazy, big thick stems, strong growth,  no diseases.  They have big fat flower buds.  There are almost no weeds, on account of the mulch.  A few, not many.

4.  At Battleground.  In raised beds.  These are mostly historic varieties.  There are some repeats from the other beds.   They are in raised beds for better drainage.  No mulch.  I pull the weeds manually.  Last year, these had a lot of bacterial rot.  I attributed that to over-rich soil, dug out a lot of the soil and replaced with unamended soil.  This year, bacterial rot is less but still present.  Some died completely.  Some came up from below ground.  They were looking good, but with recent rains have been covered with fungal spot disease.  Many leaves are dying off.  They look bad.  Some look like they might bloom.

So I've given up growing them correctly.  The irises that get neglected, mistreated, and covered in mulch thinking that would kill them so I can grow other plants - they are doing great.  The ones that I coddled, hand weeded, no mulch  - terrible. 

This weekend the local arborist left another truckload of tree chips on the driveway.  These are fir chips, with a lot of needles mixed with chipped branches.   I removed the major weeds that I could, and covered all of the soil in the iris raised beds with about 3 or 4 inches of chips.  If they live, they live.  If they don't, then those beds will have good rich soil for other plants.  I speculate, the diseases are spread by rainfall on wet bare soil that contains fungal spores and bacteria.  With the wood chip mulch, the fungi and bacteria don't get so much chance to grow on the surface, so rain drops won't spread disease.  I don't know if I'm right, but nothing else has worked.

This was prompted by receipt of 2 more varieties from Old House Gardens, ordered last year.  I don't plan to add more.  I had ordered these before I gave up in frustration.  So I planted those - Monsignor and Flutterby.  Covered with wood chip / fir needle bark mulch.  Enough of that.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Plum & Apple Grafts at 3 weeks. 4.11.15

Ember Plum Graft.  4.11.15

Redfield Apple Graft.  4.11.15
The first of the Fedco scion are out o dormancy.  I grafted these 3.21.15.  It's too early to say for certain, that they fully took.  I think they probably have.

The stems can contain enough reserve carbohydrate and moisture,  for some bud expansion.  I'll feel more secure when leaves are fully unfurled.

These are about 3 weeks.  Pretty good. 

I did bring these inside during the evenings, the past few days.  I read warmer temperatures encourage cambium merging and improve the rate of take.  That may also be why they broke dormancy.  The outdoor grafts on the in-ground trees, are expected to be slower.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Apple progress note. 4.9.15

Prairie Fire Crabapple.  4.9.15
 Most of the apples are blooming.  The Prairie Fire Crabapple that I bought as a pollen source for other apples, is in full bloom.  Using the paintbrush to remove pollen from flowers, there is generous pale yellow pollen, plenty for all of the other trees.

Of the little columnar trees, Golden Sentinel has 2 flower clusters and Red Sentinel has about 6.  Not a lot of apples.  I should prevent them from fruiting so they get more growth, but I like getting a taste.  Karmijn is in full bloom.  The Jonagold, grafted last year onto M27 is 3 feet tall and covered with flowers.  I may want to keep that as a single cordon, looks nice.  Honeycrisp on M27 is blooming.  Honeycrisp is too slow growing for such a non-vigorous, mini-dwarfing rootstock.    I have a more vigorous rootstock start for next grafting year.

Of others, the 3-graft on M106 is blooming nicely.  Pristine is first, and most.  Rubinette is 2nd, then Queen Cox.   With the more vigorous rootstock, these have potential for a lot more fruit in later years.

In the Vancouver yard, North Pole has only 3 flower clusters.  Either due to overbearing last year, or over-pruning of spurs on my part, or both.  Liberty is in full bloom.  Liberty is in lavish full bloom, as is Jonagold.  Both are on M27.  Jonagold is about 8 foot tall, Liberty maxed out at 5 foot tall.

Jonagold 1 year after graft, M27.  4.9.15
 I played the honeybee and transferred pollen from Liberty to Jonagold and North Pole.  I used the meager 3 flowers on North Pole as suppliers of pollen for Liberty.  There may be neighborhood apple trees that I don't know about, to provide more.

Golden Sentinel Bloom.  4.9.15
 Of the apple grafts, in early March I top-grafted from a yellow columnar apple, onto the grafts I made last year from North Pole.  Both have started growing.   One in a container, which had only a tiny tuft of roots, is growing nicely.  The plan for these is a columnar tree with red apples on the lower couple of feet, yellow on the next couple of feet, then another type of red.  The trees would be self pollinating and colorful.

Karmijn on M27.  4.9.15
 The graft from Fedco, of Redfield, onto a home grown M27 rootstock, is starting to grow.  I kept these grafts inside for the past few days to see if I could speed them up.

The neighbor apple graft hasn't started to grow yet.  It is at Battleground.  I moved it into the sunroom.

Jonared at one year old does not have flowers yet.  This is described as dwarf, but the rootstock is not listed.  Given the number of grafts I added from Fedco, I expect at most a bowl or two of apples of each type, in a few years.  That's if the grafts take.  Currently they look unchanged, no sprouting but not dried out.
Liberty on M27.  4.9.15

Yellow Columnar Apple graft on red columnar.  4.9.15

Time to thin genetic dwarf peaches. 4.9.15

Peaches after thinning.  4.9.15  El Dorado genetic dwarf.
Today I used a kitchen scissors to thin the peaches on the containerized El Dorado genetic dwarf peach tree.  I removed about 90% of new peaches.  Looking at the photo I probably should remove just a couple more.  They are growing fast.  This is awesome - my first genetic dwarf peaches with no leaf curl. 

The genetic dwarf peaches have very short internodes, so can be left closer together compared to normal-length internode peaches.  It's not the distance, so much as how many leaves are needed to support each leaf. 

This article states that 30 to 45 leaves are needed per peach for the best production.  That is not on genetic dwarf peaches, which tend to have smaller fruit.  I don't know when it needs to be 30 to 45 leaves - early or near harvest.    I need to find some more articles - that # of leaves seems like much more than I recall.

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Peaches have set. 4.2.15

Genetic Dwarf Peach Set.  El Dorado  4.2.15
Peaches have set on the containerized El Dorado peach tree.  It looks like there could be a big bowl of peaches from this tree.  That's all I need.

I kept it out of the rain all winter, under the eaves, north of the house.  Looks like it worked  - I don't see any leaf curl at all.