Fred Estrovich

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since Jan 22, 2018
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Recent posts by Fred Estrovich

Hey all,

I planted about 60 fruit trees last spring here in Ohio zone 6a. All the trees are compatible for zone 6, and about half are even zone 4/5.  They were all heavily manured and mulched and there is about 6" of snow on the ground. I did not cover them or provide any wind break and now am freaked out that this crazy polar vortex cold snap of negative farenheigt with kill them all.  I know the horse is already out of the barn, but is there anything that can be done post-fact?


I am also somewhat confused how tree coverings actually help with this. Wind chill is a means of expressing rate of cooling that incorporates convection, but how is this relevant to trees that are not warm bodies and are essentially the same temperature as the atmosphere. There is no additional 'warmth' provided by them.
3 weeks ago
Hi all,


This spring I planted a bunch of sapling fruit trees into a heavy clay soil with pH 5.9, and they trees are barely surviving with minimal growth. I have a near limitless supply of free wood chips from an acquaintance who runs a tree trimming company.  My plan was to lay down a good 10 inches of chips around each tree to try to improve the soil texture. The general consensus on this site seems to be that there is no such thing as too many wood chips around trees.  BUT....

A very experienced orchardist told me not to do this because he said it would further acidify the soil and will likely burn and kill the tree roots.   Is this accurate? How can I add the chips to improve texture without further acidifying? I can spread some crushed limestone, but have no idea about the proportions.  Any good data out there about the relationship between woodchips, soil and pH?
4 months ago
Water is not an issue.  I have a 3000g tank with a pump and drip irrigation setup. But honestly, it has been a wet summer here in Ohio and haven't even used up the whole tank.
4 months ago
Hi,

Most of the trees are semi-dwarf and are about 3/4" at the base and 3' tall. They are all in full sun.  Most plants have received less than 3" of growth, although a few have about a foot.


Anything I can do to toughen up the trees before the winter? I'm afraid lots of the weak ones won't make it through the winter



4 months ago
Yes, I planted them in April of this year.


Thanks for advice. I did inoculate all the bare root plants with micorhizal fungus prior to planting. I will add the compost tea to give it a boost.

I did have a major problem with Japanese beetles but some DA took care of it. I should have mentioned that I have a lot of companion plants going as well, garlic, dill, mint, but they don't appear to be making a difference yet.
4 months ago
Hi All,


I would appreciate some soil advice on how to turn around a disappointing first year for a new orchard.   I acquired a small 2 acre patch of land in an area in NE Ohio (zone 6a) which I assumed to have good soil because there are a handful of commercial orchards in the area.  I am learning that unfortunately my soil isn't as good as I hoped.  

I followed the recommendations on how to plant the trees, ie digging a wide hole, mixing 50-50 native soil, mulching etc, but the trees have failed to thrive.  Out of the 60 or so plants I have,  only a couple are thriving with lots of new growth, 30 are getting by but look stressed, a dozen are fighting to survive, and the rest are either already dead or have long odds of making it through the winter.

Persimmon - A
Quince - A
Seaberries - B
Apples - B
Hazelnuts - B
Peaches - C+
Sour Cherries - C+
Apricots - C
European Plums - D
Hardy kiwis - D
Grapes - D
Currants/gooseberries - D-


I got a soil test that says it a heavy clay soil. pH = 5.9, with low levels of phosphorus 8ppm,  average Potassium 96ppm, and very high Magnesium >200ppm, and only 4.1 organic matter.   After I got the results, I sprinkled a few handfuls of crushed limestone around each tree to try to increase the pH but not much else.  


Is there a good way to add organic matter quickly and improve soil texture? I already have a thick layer of mulch around each tree, but it will take a while to break down. I plan on adding some aged manure once the trees go dormant, but just putting it on top will take time for it to work down too right?  I am afraid going back and working these into the  soil with disturb what root growth there was this year.  I also have a comfrey patch going to mulch with in the future, but is still a year or two away.  What can I do now?

I can get some P heavy fertilizer to increase levels, but what do I do about the Magnesium being too high? And is that even a problem?

Greatly appreciative of any and all advice!













4 months ago
Here it is:

There are a few dried up apples still hanging on the branches so its got some life in it. I only acquired the property in December after it shed all its leaves, but google maps shows that most of the crown was dead. I will prune it and see how it goes. Thanks all.
11 months ago
Hi All,

I have a friend who is the head brewer at a small local brewery and tells me that they usually just pitch their spent grains, mostly barley and wheat and some rye . I am wondering if this would be a good thing to compost, and if anyone has any specific recommendations on how best to utilize it in the setting of a small fruit orchard.  Will the brewing yeasts help or hinder composting?  Any thoughts appreciated.

Thanks,
11 months ago
Hi all,

I am setting up a drip irrigation system for my orchard/garden that will need 6GPM flow at 25PSI and run for an hour twice a week during summer only.  Rather than digging a well, I will use a 3000 G storage tank filled with rain water that will be above ground, and the area being irrigated is flat. I am having a really hard time understanding and finding a suitable DC pump and solar equipment to meet my needs and keep it at a reasonable budget.

I can't seem to find any pumps under a $1000 that can pump at 6PGM.  I can use a weaker motor that can pump at 3GPM and divide the irrigation into two zones.

I found this:

https://www.altestore.com/store/solar-water-pumps/surface-solar-pumps/shurflo-surface-pumps/shurflo-12vdc-4gpm-bypass-surface-pump-p11020/

Is this the best type of pump? Can anyone guide me as to what type of panel I would need to power this? I will also probably need a controller. Should I run it direct or would a battery be beneficial. if so, what kind?

Thank you all for your help.
11 months ago
Hi,

I have a field where I plan on starting a small orchard with about 30 fruit trees. There is some light brush that I will clear beforehand, but there are a few very old apples trees in the area. They are past the point of being productive and don't appear too healthy. Is it ok to leave them and they can help pollinate my other trees and I can perhaps make use of the shade to plant some paw-paws? Or would they be a magnet for disease and attract pests and spread fungal infections to my new saplings. Should I chop them down or leave them? Thanks for the advice
11 months ago