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Should we take our trees with us?  RSS feed

 
Sarah Milcetic
Posts: 19
Location: Shepherdstown, WV
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My family will be moving from an urban yard to a small farm/homestead this year. We have planted 10 fruit trees in the last four years. Every time a house on our block sells we watch the new owners remove most of the existing gardens and dump the chopped up pieces out for the organic waste truck pickup.

My husband is guessing that when we sell our house most of the plants will probably be destroyed. Would you try bringing them? Or would you start over and try to find a buyer who wants and edible landscape/urban homestead? (Or some other option?)

We have 2 cherries, 2 mulberries, 2 pear (both multi-grafted), 1 multi-grafted Apple, 1 plum, 1 quince and 1 peach.

The biggest is our peach tree, at about 12 feet wide and 15 feet tall. The trunks range from about 1" diameter to about 3".
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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Seems like a huge expenditure of money and labor to move such large trees. I'd rather spend that money starting over.

 
Tyler Ludens
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Ideally I would try to find a buyer who wants an edible landscape.

 
Casie Becker
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Location: Just northwest of Austin, TX
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You're probably at a good point in time to find someone interested in keeping an established edible landscape. I think to attract the right buyer you would definitely have to advertise the fruit trees, though. Maybe market it as a small urban orchard.
 
Michelle Bisson
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Location: Quebec, Canada
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Your mulberry you can start taking cuttings to make new plants.  They root fairly well and hopefully will already be rooted when you move.  Other plants, you could dig up and put into pots.

It is risky trying to move some of the trees, but it still is possible. 

Once your house is sold, then if there are any plants & young trees that the new owners do not want, you might be able to negociate coming back to dig them out while they are still dormant during the late winter early spring.  That is the best time to transplant with the highest success rate now that you are mid winter in NY.  If you dig out dormant trees, you'll need to prune back the roots, so also prune back the branches so that there are not too many new leaves come spring when you do not have enough roots to support them.  The goal the first year is not too much new or old growth to support on top to give you trees the season to grow a strong root system.  It will need the complete season to get over the shock of such a drastic transplant.  When you prune the top, keep your main scaffold branches and prune the smaller branches to an outward growing bud close to the scaffold bud.

Keep us posted with the results if you go ahead and transplant.
 
Craig Dobbson
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Location: Maine (zone 5)
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If you ordered root stock that would be compatible with the trees you have, you could just take cuttings of scion wood from your trees in the dormant season and graft them to your new root stock in the spring once you move.  The old trees might get ripped out... maybe not though. In either case you'll have your trees and you'll be able to take them anywhere you can carry a cooler.

For example:  Take scion wood cuttings from your apple trees and pack them for storage.  Wrapped up and refrigerated, they will last quite a long time.  Order the proper root stock from a nursery.  Fedco Trees has bundles of many types of root stock.  I think you can get ten dwarf apple root stock plants for $30.00   Graft your scions to your new roots and plant them out. 

Take enough cuttings to make multiple grafts in case you have failures and maybe consider selling the rest of whatever scion sized wood your trees can produce.  That's a good way to offset the cost of buying in new tree root stock.

If you end up with more trees than you need, due to very successful grafting, sell them.  


Maybe the old trees will live but either way, you can keep your trees genetics and possibly even make a few dollars in the process.

By the way...  What kind of apples do you have?

 
 
Sarah Milcetic
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Location: Shepherdstown, WV
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Craig, I knew someone on these forums would think of something I didn't think of! Thanks for the idea. I will have to learn about how to do that. If we waited until fall could I plant some apple seeds now and use those roots or would they be too little?

The apples we have are not rare. There's Granny Smith, Red Delicious, Empire and something with yellow skin. Can't remember which one right now.

The peach tree is the one I'm going to miss the most. I have so many photos of my son next to it and it quickly outgrowing him in just a couple of years LOL.
 
Craig Dobbson
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Location: Maine (zone 5)
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Sarah Milcetic wrote:Craig, I knew someone on these forums would think of something I didn't think of! Thanks for the idea. I will have to learn about how to do that. If we waited until fall could I plant some apple seeds now and use those roots or would they be too little?

The apples we have are not rare. There's Granny Smith, Red Delicious, Empire and something with yellow skin. Can't remember which one right now.

The peach tree is the one I'm going to miss the most. I have so many photos of my son next to it and it quickly outgrowing him in just a couple of years LOL.


If you could get a seed planted and grown up to size by the time you need to graft, I suppose it's worth a shot.  Most companies that deal in apple rootstock have certain varieties that are sized for specific diameters of scion wood.  I think 3/8 in or 1/4 inch  is the most common.  These varieties are also proven to be either standard, dwarf or semi-dwarf which may be of some use to you as you make your move.  Not only can you choose which trees to keep, but also how many and what size you want.

My plan to expand my orchard is to sell scion wood from my large prolific trees and use that income to buy roostock to do more grafting.  By fall of this year, I should be going from 15 named apple trees to just over a hundred.  I'm also going to be planning a scion wood exchange once I get some other things in order.  I also have a huge number of wild apple seedlings all over my land that I can graft onto in the next few years.  The center piece of my food forest is going to be a multi-variety apple tree.   I'm looking forward to spring grafting.  I've never done it on a larger scale so I'm hoping to have at least some winners through the season.

Learning to graft is just another homestead skill that requires patience, care and practice.  I'm hoping to achieve some gains in those areas.  I encourage you to try too.

 
Marco Banks
Posts: 492
Location: Los Angeles, CA
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I keep a garden journal with the names of all trees we've planted over the years, the date they were planted, where I purchased them, how much I paid for them, etc.  I keep all the bands and tags that were on them -- the rootstock, the particulars about each tree and plant.

I've always thought that if we were to move, I'd leave that for the next owner.

Perhaps you could present such a journal as a gift to the next owner of your home?  Make a journal and briefly describe the trees you've planted, why they are suited for your area, when the fruit will ripen, etc.  If you've got some pictures of you planting them, or some before and after pictures of the yard prior to your improvements, those are nice to give context.  In a sense, you would be giving the new owners the back-story on what you've planted and why you planted it. 

Help them to bond with what you've planted.  Once bonded, hopefully they will not cut them down.

As for digging them up and transferring them, that's a lot of work and you may lose a significant number of the trees.  Once you break off the tap root, a tree never really grows well thereafter.
 
John Wolfram
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Location: Lafayette, Indiana
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About 6 months ago I moved from a house with 40-something fruit trees and grape vines, and when I drove by recently it looks like the several of the trees were cut back fairly hard, but they are all still there. To increase the chances of the new owners keeping the trees, be sure to make a map with each tree marked by species, cultivar, a description, and maturity dates for the fruit. If people see the trees as a resource, rather than just something that takes up space, they are more likely to keep them.

EDIT: The nice thing about starting over clean at a new place is that you get to avoid all the mistakes you made at the old place...in my case that means no nectarines.
 
Ken W Wilson
Posts: 405
Location: Nevada, Mo 64772
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If you don't move it until fall, you could try air layering.

What was the problem with the nectarines
 
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