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Absolutely no one believes this is possible here (Wyoming)

 
elle sagenev
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I have planted a large variety of fruit and nuts trees already. So far so good though I'm noticing an awful lot of black walnut tree death. Fruit trees seem fine so far though. Anyway, everyone I talk to about growing fruit in Wyoming believes it to be impossible. They say that for my trees to be alive I must live in a much warmer part of the state than they are or have special something or other. We have really been brainwashed to believe we can't do anything but cows and wheat here. I ache to prove them all wrong. My husband is even a doubter. He is not sure that I can make money doing this. I say that if I do this I'll be an attraction state wide, even our neighboring states of NE and CO will come to see this. Never mind the value of our property if I manage to do the impossible and grow fruit trees here. Re-sale value will sky rocket.

So how do you all manage to be freaks where you are? To have everyone believe you are crazy and doomed to failure? I must admit that the more people who state it is impossible the more I doubt whether it is. Encouragement please!!!
 
D. Logan
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Everything is impossible until someone does it. Climbing Mt. Everest was said to be impossible until someone did it. They then revised that climbing it without oxygen was impossible, but then someone did that as well. We don't even bat an eye now at the idea of climbing the mountain. Most people don't do it, but we accept that it can be done. For permaculture, men like Fukuoka and Holzer have done things everyone has said was impossible. Look at the reasoning that those around you say is the source of the impossibility and then assess how much truth there is to it. If there is indeed something that makes it harder, find ways to mitigate those difficulties. Sometimes it is as simple as adding a thermal mass wall nearby or just recognizing the microclimates that work best for each type of plant. Stick to it and keep learning as much as you can to aide you in proving out what you know to be true. These are my suggestions.
 
Andrew Mateskon
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All kinds of trees will grow in Wyoming Zone 5. Many of them hold fruit and nuts. As long as you build soil, and hold all the water you can, you should be good to grow Apples, pears, peach, apricot, plum, and hardy pecan, chestnut, hazelnut, yellowhorn, and many others. Even the Wyoming extension has recommendations for fruiting trees. http://www.uwyo.edu/uwexpstn/centers/sheridan/_files/2013-field-days-pdfs/growing-fruit-trees.pdf

Go for it!
 
Bryant RedHawk
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The biggest part of this endeavor will be building your soil. The previously mentioned trees will be able to adapt for the most part. The biggest hurdle is to just start doing it. I have plans to grow some citrus trees in Arkansas, every one I know just shrugs. They know that I can do it because of my background. I will just have to build some winter time green houses to erect over the trees so they don't freeze when we have a cold snap. Piece of pie, easy as cake! Just plan and do it!
 
elle sagenev
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Andrew Mateskon wrote:All kinds of trees will grow in Wyoming Zone 5. Many of them hold fruit and nuts. As long as you build soil, and hold all the water you can, you should be good to grow Apples, pears, peach, apricot, plum, and hardy pecan, chestnut, hazelnut, yellowhorn, and many others. Even the Wyoming extension has recommendations for fruiting trees. http://www.uwyo.edu/uwexpstn/centers/sheridan/_files/2013-field-days-pdfs/growing-fruit-trees.pdf

Go for it!


I did take UW's recommendations for my first tree purchase. I know they are currently experimenting with heirloom apple trees at the research center. But, I don't think I know a single person who is growing a food producing tree. Tons of crab apple trees around here, and I know you can eat those but yuck, but no real fruit. I suppose no one has tried it. I guess I'm going to be the first.

P.S. I even have nectarine.
 
elle sagenev
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:The biggest part of this endeavor will be building your soil. The previously mentioned trees will be able to adapt for the most part. The biggest hurdle is to just start doing it. I have plans to grow some citrus trees in Arkansas, every one I know just shrugs. They know that I can do it because of my background. I will just have to build some winter time green houses to erect over the trees so they don't freeze when we have a cold snap. Piece of pie, easy as cake! Just plan and do it!


I spent a ton of money on various cover cropping seeds and tilling radishes. So I hope the soil will be ok. I did plant in just our regular old soil, bermed, last year. I found it amazing what a difference a berm made to the whole enterprise.
 
elle sagenev
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D. Logan wrote:Everything is impossible until someone does it. Climbing Mt. Everest was said to be impossible until someone did it. They then revised that climbing it without oxygen was impossible, but then someone did that as well. We don't even bat an eye now at the idea of climbing the mountain. Most people don't do it, but we accept that it can be done. For permaculture, men like Fukuoka and Holzer have done things everyone has said was impossible. Look at the reasoning that those around you say is the source of the impossibility and then assess how much truth there is to it. If there is indeed something that makes it harder, find ways to mitigate those difficulties. Sometimes it is as simple as adding a thermal mass wall nearby or just recognizing the microclimates that work best for each type of plant. Stick to it and keep learning as much as you can to aide you in proving out what you know to be true. These are my suggestions.


Thank you! I suck at micro climates though. Needing more training. Plus my land is pretty much completely flat with no surface water.
 
Ann Torrence
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What are you doing for wind protection? And you might need to water new trees in the winter once or twice.
 
Dan Boone
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Paul Wheaton seems to be a huge fan of making flat land into "unflat" land in order to create microclimates. I believe his preferred tool is a honking-big excavator, but there's plenty that can be done at the hand-tool scale also. I've even been able to take some benefit from the holes and ditches my dogs dig while chasing gophers. The resulting fractal chaos creates tiny areas with diverse patterns of sun, shade, and moisture, so when I hand-scatter cover-crop seeds, some always seem to come up, which is very much not the case if I just broadcast onto the existing level (and less-disturbed) surfaces.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Hau, elle sagenev,

It sounds like you are off to a great start. I am sure all the apple trees will grow in your area, as will the nectarine. You may need to plant some type of tree(s) for wind breaks, adding some berms is a great idea. To help everything along, think about some companion plantings that can go in the same area as the fruit trees (be sure to leave the fruit trees at least a 3-4 foot diameter ring to deep mulch) things like comfrey, clovers, peas, hairy vetch, and other plantings can be used to help create wonderful soil and also help with keeping moisture in the soil for the tree roots.

If you have a source for manure, you can compost it and then spread that as part of your mulch rings. Everything you can put on as mulch will not only help condition the soil, keep moisture in place but it will also improve the nutrient levels. Constructing Berms is a great way to hold moisture where you need/ want it on flat lands. It is also a good idea to think "rolling hills contours" when you are constructing your orchard grounds. Like Dan mentioned, trees seem to really love undulations, the reason they do is that they help water to sink into the soil and remain there. If you have it, you can even add rotting wood inside the berms and that will help with the moisture available to the tree roots as well.
 
elle sagenev
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Ann Torrence wrote:What are you doing for wind protection? And you might need to water new trees in the winter once or twice.


I'm coming late to the game in food forest planting. This has actually been a good thing as our property already has established wind breaks. We have a variety of trees and bushes in various places to aid in wind protection. I also painted the trees, which I have no idea if it'll help but it made sense in my head at the time. I will admit that some of my fruit trees are leaning a bit. I'm going to have to straighten some of them out this spring. Winter sucks.

As for water, I've been checking. We've had snow, though not much. The excellent thing is that it's blown, as it always does. This year it's blown right into my swales, and then been protected by the berm. Thus I've had snow melt watering all of my plants. It's wonderful!
 
elle sagenev
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Dan Boone wrote:Paul Wheaton seems to be a huge fan of making flat land into "unflat" land in order to create microclimates. I believe his preferred tool is a honking-big excavator, but there's plenty that can be done at the hand-tool scale also. I've even been able to take some benefit from the holes and ditches my dogs dig while chasing gophers. The resulting fractal chaos creates tiny areas with diverse patterns of sun, shade, and moisture, so when I hand-scatter cover-crop seeds, some always seem to come up, which is very much not the case if I just broadcast onto the existing level (and less-disturbed) surfaces.


I have a tractor with a bucket. My plan for this springs planting is to plant in something similar to infiltration basins. It'll be a lot of work though.
 
elle sagenev
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:Hau, elle sagenev,

It sounds like you are off to a great start. I am sure all the apple trees will grow in your area, as will the nectarine. You may need to plant some type of tree(s) for wind breaks, adding some berms is a great idea. To help everything along, think about some companion plantings that can go in the same area as the fruit trees (be sure to leave the fruit trees at least a 3-4 foot diameter ring to deep mulch) things like comfrey, clovers, peas, hairy vetch, and other plantings can be used to help create wonderful soil and also help with keeping moisture in the soil for the tree roots.

If you have a source for manure, you can compost it and then spread that as part of your mulch rings. Everything you can put on as mulch will not only help condition the soil, keep moisture in place but it will also improve the nutrient levels. Berms are great ways to hold moisture where you need/ want it on flat lands. If you have it, you can even add rotting wood inside the berms and that will help with the moisture available to the tree roots as well.


the problem with mulch here is the wind. I have to weigh mulch down and even that isn't enough sometimes.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Wind is truly a bummer and hard to think around sometimes. I have laid mulch down on orchards then come back on top with a thin layer of gravel, even though it isn't something I like using, it can work and it is better than seeing all your mulch blow away. One other thing that can help with wind blowing is landscape cloth used as a cover and pined to the ground with long spikes or pieces of heavy wire bent like bobby pins.
 
elle sagenev
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:Wind is truly a bummer and hard to think around sometimes. I have laid mulch down on orchards then come back on top with a thin layer of gravel, even though it isn't something I like using, it can work and it is better than seeing all your mulch blow away. One other thing that can help with wind blowing is landscape cloth used as a cover and pined to the ground with long spikes or pieces of heavy wire bent like bobby pins.


It is indeed. As an aside, have you seen the Tree Tpee? It was on a TV show and my husband thought I'd like to see it. It's an innovation to keep citrus from freezing. You should look it up!
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Yes I saw it on Shark Tank, it's a great product.
 
Jd Gonzalez
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Try using hardy succulent plants as living mulch. I can think of plenty of Sedums, and Sempevivumns that grow from a couple of inches to up to 24".
geoff lawton mentions using succulent plants to slow the wind at ground level and to trap organic matter and build soil in wind swept arid regions.
 
Miles Flansburg
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You can do it!
Looks like there are a couple of places in Wyoming that sell fruit.

http://www.pickyourown.org/WY.htm

I had a couple in Rock Springs that did OK. Not a lot of fruit but they were still young when I finally moved. They were next to a "sunscooped" rock wall. With caragana as a windbreak. Irrigated.

Elle I added Wyoming to the title so it will be easier to search for later. Hope that is OK ?
 
elle sagenev
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Miles Flansburg wrote:You can do it!
Looks like there are a couple of places in Wyoming that sell fruit.

http://www.pickyourown.org/WY.htm

I had a couple in Rock Springs that did OK. Not a lot of fruit but they were still young when I finally moved. They were next to a "sunscooped" rock wall. With caragana as a windbreak. Irrigated.

Elle I added Wyoming to the title so it will be easier to search for later. Hope that is OK ?


Ah that must be updated. Last time I looked there were no fruit tree farms.
 
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Apricots love high dry windy places. Here in Ladakh, locations up to about 12,000 feet can grow both wheat and apricots; above that and it's no wheat or fruit anymore, only barley. Here I find that wheat is an indicator that apricots will do okay too. The very best varieties of apricots don't quite ripen fully and get sweet and juicy at the highest places in their range, but they do grow and bear, and some earlier varieties do fine. Apples grow around here too but I'm not as clear on their upper range. Down at balmy 10,500 around here (maybe zone 6? or 5?) they produce plenty.
 
LeRoy Martinez
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elle sagenev wrote:I have planted a large variety of fruit and nuts trees already. So far so good though I'm noticing an awful lot of black walnut tree death. Fruit trees seem fine so far though. Anyway, everyone I talk to about growing fruit in Wyoming believes it to be impossible. They say that for my trees to be alive I must live in a much warmer part of the state than they are or have special something or other. We have really been brainwashed to believe we can't do anything but cows and wheat here. I ache to prove them all wrong. My husband is even a doubter. He is not sure that I can make money doing this. I say that if I do this I'll be an attraction state wide, even our neighboring states of NE and CO will come to see this. Never mind the value of our property if I manage to do the impossible and grow fruit trees here. Re-sale value will sky rocket.

So how do you all manage to be freaks where you are? To have everyone believe you are crazy and doomed to failure? I must admit that the more people who state it is impossible the more I doubt whether it is. Encouragement please!!!


Hi,
I'm north of you in Montana (they call it zone 4 but when I buy trees I'm looking for zone 3 trees) We have various apple, pear, Evans cherry, and plum trees.
There are people here that have apricot trees and have had them for years. I would really like to find a variety of peach that would do well here.

I lived in Casper for several years and the wind here is just as bad. We had a tornado here a year and a half ago and it did a lot of damage to buildings and trees.
We had real old cottonwood trees over 3 foot in diameter that got blown over. They are cut up and split and getting slowly buried in my first attempt at HugelKultur.

An old river channel runs along one side of our property so any trees we plant we have to wrap the lower 3 foot or more with wire to keep the beavers from logging them off.
Then we have the deer that can be a real nuisance. And we have to beat the birds to the cherries. We have a greenhouse mostly for melons and tomatoes.
Worst of all is the wind and 35 and 40 below.
I think you should do well with the fruit trees. I have not known of anyone planting nut trees in our areas so I hope that does good for you.

Oh, and then there is the Sea Berry bush. A very tough bush in more ways than one. BIG THORNS, very invasive, bjrd's love the berries. I read where they have roadside stands in Russia or Siberia (or both) where they sell the juice. Juice tastes as good as orange juice or better. I also read where they just cut the branches off and that makes it easier to harvest the berries.
Anyway good luck with your trees.
LeRoy
 
Cj Sloane
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elle sagenev wrote:But, I don't think I know a single person who is growing a food producing tree. Tons of crab apple trees around here, and I know you can eat those but yuck, but no real fruit.


You can graft apples onto crab apples. That would give you fruit pretty quickly.

I just started cold stratifying some Antonovka Apple seeds. They are supposed to be a great cold hardy & versatile variety. Worse case scenario if you don't like the fruit it's popular as a grafting stock. 10 seeds for $2 it's worth the experiment for me!!! http://www.myseeds.co/antonovka-apple-malus-pumila-antonovka-seeds-excellent-rootstock-used-for-grafting-very-cold-hardy-down-to-zone-3-minimum/
 
Ivan Weiss
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Dan Boone wrote:Paul Wheaton seems to be a huge fan of making flat land into "unflat" land in order to create microclimates. I believe his preferred tool is a honking-big excavator, but there's plenty that can be done at the hand-tool scale also.


My experience coincides with Paul's. To make flat land unflat, my "tool" of choice is 10 to 15 hogs. Turn them loose, let them root to their heart's content, and reseed when they're done.

I don't know what part of Wyoming we're talking about, but Mari Sandoz' memoir of her father, "Old Jules," might be helpful. The Sandozes homesteaded in western Nebraska, near Chadron, and the book describes Jules Sandoz' successful efforts to grow fruit trees commercially there.
 
elle sagenev
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Ivan Weiss wrote:
Dan Boone wrote:Paul Wheaton seems to be a huge fan of making flat land into "unflat" land in order to create microclimates. I believe his preferred tool is a honking-big excavator, but there's plenty that can be done at the hand-tool scale also.


My experience coincides with Paul's. To make flat land unflat, my "tool" of choice is 10 to 15 hogs. Turn them loose, let them root to their heart's content, and reseed when they're done.

I don't know what part of Wyoming we're talking about, but Mari Sandoz' memoir of her father, "Old Jules," might be helpful. The Sandozes homesteaded in western Nebraska, near Chadron, and the book describes Jules Sandoz' successful efforts to grow fruit trees commercially there.


Thanks for the tip! Chadron is nearish to me. I'm near Cheyenne.

I also have some new field trips to see the other fruit tree U-picks here!
 
Peter Ellis
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An awful lot of "that can't be done" really translates as "I wouldn't put in the effort". Looking about a bit on growing requirements, it looks like you may be pushing the limits on the conditions needed for black walnut - but that may mean you need to look for a particularly hardy strain, or that you need to provide a little extra TLC to get the spot(s) where you plant your trees shifted a little into a favorable climate for them.

Things like sun scoops, swales and wind breakes in their various forms could make all the difference. Naysayers will then say "why would anyone go to all that trouble?" once you've proven that you can, in fact, grow the trees they said were impossible to grow where you are...

Once in a while you can convince someone that a thing is actually possible and get them to adjust their perception. Frequently, they will adjust their negative commentary, but not their baseline perception. Just part of how people work, some see the world in negative terms. Don't let them define your view
 
Nick Kitchener
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Or they'll say "oh yeah, EVERYONE knows you can grow fruit trees doing it THAT way..."

You can't win the argument so better to spend your energy in more productive ways.
 
Aljaz Plankl
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What is your avarage winter temperature and weather?
 
Bill Erickson
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Elle, I know you can do it. You have a tractor with a bucket - this allows you to help the land attain its rightful fruitfulness - that is the awesome.
 
David Goodman
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"You can graft apples onto crab apples. That would give you fruit pretty quickly. "

I was just going to type that - you beat me to the punch.
 
mike mclellan
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Elle,
I have replied to your questions concerning groasis on that thread but just wanted to encourage you in your endeavors . I was a three decade resident of Casper before moving up north so I'm familiar with the wind and the blowing snow. It sounds great that you've had snow collecting in your swales. Are there any simple snow fencing options you could employ to increase the snow collection? I was always amazed how green it was on the lee side of the snow fences I'd see down in the Shirley Basin. That grass was green until July most years. If fencing could help you capture more water from snow, I'd encourage you to consider that.

You state you've got windbreaks already established. Praise be!! Do pay attention to them so that they will help moderate your climate. Keep them healthy, and full of plant material that's actively growing. This puts you ahead of the game in many ways.

Have you considered trying Pinyon pine out your way? I saw many growing in Cheyenne in some pretty harsh, non-pampered situations. Check them out on the west side of the Holdiay Inn parking lot near the I-25/I-80 interchange. I collected seeds from several of them a few years ago but have since lost them. These appeared to be thriving and they had zero wind protection. I would second Sea Berry (Hippophae). Mine have done reasonably well so far without much TLC. I would second the Evans cherry (also called Bali Cherry in the trade). They seem to be tough as nails.

Don't let the naysayers stop you in the least. A couple of old-timers up here think I'm nuts too. I'm trying black walnut as well. Most of the land around me is irrigated alfalfa or beat to death horse properties. Man, what a mess. Most of my black walnuts died back to the roots last season as did my black locust. The -20 in early March likely did the trick. Then we got slayer hail in mid June. Neighbors .4 miles away go nothing. Ya never know what the weather will throw your way except you can always count on that wonderful Wyoming wind. Can't say I miss that much!! Good luck.
 
Miles Flansburg
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Hey Mike, thanks for the heads up on the Pinyon pines there in Cheyenne, I will have to make a rest stop there and collect a few to plant at my place.
When are they usually ready to harvest?
 
LeRoy Martinez
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Miles Flansburg wrote:Hey Mike, thanks for the heads up on the Pinyon pines there in Cheyenne, I will have to make a rest stop there and collect a few to plant at my place.
When are they usually ready to harvest?


Mike and Miles,
As a kid 70 some years ago I spent quite a bit of time in southern Colorado and recall fondly family members spreading
blankets under the pinyon trees and the tree climbers in the family shaking the trees to drop the seeds. Then they were
gathered up in big flour sacks, pillow cases or the big lard buckets and taken home to roast in the oven.

Here in Montana we and others I know have found them up in the Tobacco Root Mountains but only a few trees. This may
be about the northern limit for pinyon but then again there may be some more growing in protected pockets in Montana?
 
mike mclellan
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Miles,
I collected the seeds at exactly this time of year. Seems like those were Pinus monophylla, the one needled pinyon. Seeds were pretty good size, cones small with maybe three or four whorls of scales. Check underneath the trees as those seeds are heavy and won't blow too far away, even in those Cheyenne land hurricanes. People think I exaggerate but little do they know!!

Leroy, Good info there. Those would be the seeds to collect to try to establish them farther north and east. Like so many things, this is one species that would benefit many if we found adapted varieties for farther north. If you come across seeds from this population, I'd love to trade you for a few! Bet I've got something here you might be able to use.
 
Lisa Paulson
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I doubt I am bucking any traditions here in coastal British Columbia but it is Canada and people here are trying things. Personally I grow the fuzzy kiwi and oriental kiwi and have a lime I haul in and out of the house . I and others here are successful with figs but mostly I grow a lot of stuff that is not really pushing any new boundaries in regard to fruit and nut trees . Here you see a few microclimates getting good fruit on passion fruit vines and the odd bananas get small fruit without a greenhouse but they are not amounting to much . But pockets here are commercially growing olives , tea , and the Duncans in Saanich on Vancouver Island are famous for being successful with a number or citrus both outside but usually in a poly house . An exciting trial to me, here, is they have located high elevation avocado from around the globe and trialing to see if we might be successful producing fruit . So there are some bucking the trends for sure. Our grape growing regions are pushing new varieties as a lot of speculation is taking place , even the USDA say California will lose 70 % of their production capability before 2040 so it seems BC is all in to produce wine and champagnes . Hops have made a comeback commercially here as well. So people are definitely pushing to grow things in BC that may be more common in more southern regions . Once I get relatively successful growing our own food , I will get a little braver.
 
elle sagenev
Posts: 1261
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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mike mclellan wrote:Elle,
I have replied to your questions concerning groasis on that thread but just wanted to encourage you in your endeavors . I was a three decade resident of Casper before moving up north so I'm familiar with the wind and the blowing snow. It sounds great that you've had snow collecting in your swales. Are there any simple snow fencing options you could employ to increase the snow collection? I was always amazed how green it was on the lee side of the snow fences I'd see down in the Shirley Basin. That grass was green until July most years. If fencing could help you capture more water from snow, I'd encourage you to consider that.

You state you've got windbreaks already established. Praise be!! Do pay attention to them so that they will help moderate your climate. Keep them healthy, and full of plant material that's actively growing. This puts you ahead of the game in many ways.

Have you considered trying Pinyon pine out your way? I saw many growing in Cheyenne in some pretty harsh, non-pampered situations. Check them out on the west side of the Holdiay Inn parking lot near the I-25/I-80 interchange. I collected seeds from several of them a few years ago but have since lost them. These appeared to be thriving and they had zero wind protection. I would second Sea Berry (Hippophae). Mine have done reasonably well so far without much TLC. I would second the Evans cherry (also called Bali Cherry in the trade). They seem to be tough as nails.

Don't let the naysayers stop you in the least. A couple of old-timers up here think I'm nuts too. I'm trying black walnut as well. Most of the land around me is irrigated alfalfa or beat to death horse properties. Man, what a mess. Most of my black walnuts died back to the roots last season as did my black locust. The -20 in early March likely did the trick. Then we got slayer hail in mid June. Neighbors .4 miles away go nothing. Ya never know what the weather will throw your way except you can always count on that wonderful Wyoming wind. Can't say I miss that much!! Good luck.


I will have to go look and see how the pines are doing there. Pines are not currently doing well in Wyoming. I see more and more pines dying every day. That drought and wind burn, it's deadly!
 
Longsnows Moon
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I am in Colorado in a zone 5 also. I am also planting trees this year and have spent a great deal of time learning, observing, and reading everything I can get my hands on. Books could and have been written on this topic of trying to grow various fruit trees or fruits in general in our climate, and have been. Like you, we see warm temps in the day and very cold temps at night with huge temperature swings. We get crazy warming spells in Feb, Mar, April that kick trees into bud and blooming only to be frost or snow killed. So it can be very tough to grow when we have such wide temp swings.

As you already noted your university extension is a great place to start with known varieties that can be grown in your area. However note that much of the advise I have seen from these programs has been based on "conventional wisdom" which sometimes isn't really all that accurate. Secondly we know that our area of the country gets late frosts and last year I even had snow on May 1st. Fruit trees that start to bloom due to the crazy weather cycles here are frozen and we lose the blooms for fruit. I had 1 of my two apple trees that lost all it's blooms last year due to the late freeze and snow. My second tree somehow managed to keep some blooms and produced some apples for me, but I really didn't expect it after that crazy freeze and snow. Apples are hardy for our zone so if the apples are having a rough year then your likely going to have a rough year for other plants that already struggle with our climate.

Now the known fruit trees that they say will grow are apples, pears, tart cherries, and plums. The ones they tell you that are likely to grow, but not produce fruit or produce very sporadically if at all are peaches, apricots, nectarines, sweet cherries and others that like to bloom early and bring early fruit during the season. Now while this is true in a conventional wisdom sense, there are things you can do to influence your fruit growing capabilities.

Pick your varieties carefully. Look for late blooming varieties when it comes to plants they say are not reliable or cannot be grown. The later the bloom the better chance you have of getting them through the late frosts and snows. Secondly like all things in permaculture we have to be observant. This means looking at your landscape. Note where the snow stays on your land longer, where the sun does not shine much in the winter months. These will typically be northern exposures. Make sure they are not shaded year around, but mearly shaded like this due to the low sun angles during the winter months. This ground and these areas are going to be slower to warm up, less sun exposure during the crazy Feb, Mar, April warming spells that drop back into freezing temps. These northern exposure areas can be good places to put your peach, apricot, nectarine, cherry trees. The lack of winter sun, and colder temps in those areas should delay the trees coming out of dormancy. And the third thing that can make a huge difference is in mulches. Mulch deep! Pile on the wood chips, straw, hay, whatever you can find. I prefer wood chips. The wood chips or mulches will hold in the moisture, start the decomposition process to feed these trees. For wood chips I am using a nitrogen and manure feeds on the top to act as a catalyst to break down the chips faster and build the soil faster and of course feed the trees. This can be done for your annual garden beds too, but works extremely well for our trees.

So here are the basics:
1. Pick your varieties looking for late bloomers
2. Pick your locations in northern exposure areas and looking at the ground to see where snow stays longest or accumulates first
3. Deep mulches to insulate the plant from the wild temp swings and retain moisture as it feeds your trees.

If you follow these steps you should be able to delay bloom on these hard to grow varieties and potentially get them through the crazy weather swings we have.

Here is a web page that lists some of the later varieties of peaches and the number of cold days they need and they also note if they are late bloomers. Using the late blooming traits with good site location and mulching could help you grow trees and produce fruit where they say you can't do that... Observation and careful study can be your friend and produce fruit where they say it cannot be done.

http://extension.usu.edu/carbon/htm/fruit/peavar

Note the hours of cold, and the late bloom factor when choosing. There are other varieties I have seen listed that also claim to be late bloomers, but we really need this kind of data to determine those characteristics and if they might work for us. For other tree types you will want to try searching for "late blooming <name your variety> and see what you can come up with. I am putting new trees in this year in my urban landscape so I will be doing a lot of learning here myself. I am fortunate to live on a sloping site midway on the side of a hill so the heat rises and cold falls past my location. I do have a northern exposure side of my house so I am going to be trying to tuck my cherry, and peach in on that side of the house and I have a sheltered area next to my fence in the back where a neighbors pine tree casts a nice northern shadow. I have been watching the ground and noting the sun exposure angles and where the snow stays the longest. This placement should help delay the trees from waking up from dormancy too early and producing blooms that will be killed. I will be putting a apricot in that location near the fence. My plums and pears I don't have to be quite so careful with and will be using later blooming varieties were possible, but again relying on deep mulches to moderate temperature and moisture levels.

Let us know what you decided to do and how it all went.
 
LeRoy Martinez
Posts: 12
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mike mclellan wrote:Miles,
I collected the seeds at exactly this time of year. Seems like those were Pinus monophylla, the one needled pinyon. Seeds were pretty good size, cones small with maybe three or four whorls of scales. Check underneath the trees as those seeds are heavy and won't blow too far away, even in those Cheyenne land hurricanes. People think I exaggerate but little do they know!!

Leroy, Good info there. Those would be the seeds to collect to try to establish them farther north and east. Like so many things, this is one species that would benefit many if we found adapted varieties for farther north. If you come across seeds from this population, I'd love to trade you for a few! Bet I've got something here you might be able to use.


Mike,
I just found this article by a local guy. Well semi-local, he lived here in Silver Star and recently moved back to Pony. It sounds as though they found quite a few of them on this side of the Tobacco Roots.
If you get over this way (I'm in Twin Bridges) look me up.
LeRoy
http://www.hollowtop.com/journals/jtobaccoroots.htm
 
Ron Duft
Posts: 14
Location: Alberta,Canada US Hardy:3b Annual Precipitation: 15" Wind: 62mph Temperature:-45F to 86F
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food preservation forest garden hugelkultur
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East Central Alberta,Canada. Elevation 3000'. US Hardy:Zone 3, Annual Precipitation: 15" Wind: Max 62mph, Temperature:Min/Max -45F to 82F.
3rd generation farm we are working on a Permaculture/ food forest demonstration site & have planted over 4000 trees/shrubs of over 10 species in the last 4 years. Okaneese poplar, Seabuckthorn (nitrogen fixer), Bur Oak, Choke cherry, Saskatoon (service berry), white spruce, Evans cherry, Manitoba maple, Hawthorn, Mountain ash, Nanking cherry(Prunus tomentosa) , Boyne raspberry, four apple and 3 crab apple variety's.
Rainwater harvesting anything with a roof catch it & store it barrels, tanks, ponds, Hugelkultur swales & beds. Can't stress enough build soil & mulch mulch mulch. Leaves, grass clippings, hay, straw whatever is available. Don't have mulch grow it, Comfrey, local weed species Pioneers for chop & drop. Our problem is that with too much mulch come spring the ground under the mulch will take a long time to thaw.
Fruit tree issues, winter thaws cause budding and then refreeze and cause die back.
Winter winds cause severe drying <20%RH. Use pallets to make wind break fences usually get them for free. Depending upon your local rodent types & population (include deer, moose woodpeckers & Porcupines) wrapping/mulching may help but we have voles and mice which can get into the mulch and ring the new trees and kill them. Plastic spiral Tree wraps and several other wrap types can help. Tie pieces of the smelliest bar soap you can find to branches/trunk to deter high and low nibblers refresh as needed.
Grow Zone 5 as annuals get hardy zone 3 & 4 perennials and you should be fine.
Best of luck.
 
John Polk
master steward
Pie
Posts: 8010
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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If you need more fruit/nut trees, I highly recommend St Lawerence Nurseries
They are in zone 3 (Potsdam, NY)

Better hurry though, as they have announced that 2015 is their retirement year.
(I am hoping that somebody takes over for them.)

EDITED to add: It appears that former employees have taken over operations.
They still exist. (14 July 2016)
 
Ray Moses
Posts: 74
Location: Brighton, Michigan
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I'm wondering why black walnuts won't grow out there. I don't think it's a temperature issue since we have -30° here every once in a while and our black walnuts do fine. I wonder if it's more of a moisture issue in dry arid climates and soil insulation from snow as a possibility.
 
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