Mark Whitecavage

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since Apr 01, 2018
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Recent posts by Mark Whitecavage

My favorite weed is clover. It sets nitrogen in the soil and yields a lot of protein for wildlife. Further, it is cold tolerant and perennial and lasts for years.

My most hated weed, easily, is Pigweed. It’s scientifically called Amaranthus, I call it &@#%!!??#%!! and the worst part about it is it produces tens of thousands of seeds, which can survive in the soil for years, is just about impossible to kill unless it is growing in wheat, oats or grass because 2-4 D can be used and not kill the crop, and just when you think you have killed it all...it’s baaaacccckkkk!!! Arrrgggghhhh!!!
2 months ago

Where do you buy your fruit trees? Have you had any issues with cedar rust? I planted a few last year and 3 out of 6 had it... I have been told also not to use top/potting soil but I do add some of our horses' manure in the holes...



I bought quite a few southern heirloom apple trees from David Vernon at Century Farms, in Eden NC.  His family has been doing this for a very long time and the trees are unique, well adapted to the south and mine have done incredibly well. I recommend you check them out online. As for cedar rust - I don’t get it because I spray for it when cedar trees are producing their galls. I believe I would if not for the spray and while it’s not typically fatal, from what I’ve read, I do know it stresses the trees. I’m sure others have strong opinions about spray, but I use it when needed and my trees have thrived. Lastly, deer are brutal on young apple trees so protect them!

2 months ago
I own a farm in SW Virginia and I agree with the comment about heat on a south slope. That said, depending on the steepness of the slope it can work. The orchards I put in are on a southwest slope, but it’s gentle and my trees have thrived. The two single biggest recommendations I would make are make sure you dig as large a hole as is possible/practical, and make sure you water them regularly the first year (even in the winter).  I own a tractor, and an auger that attaches to it, and I use an 18 inch tree auger to dig holes but...before that I’d use a rototiller to break as much ground (in a circle) as I could then deepen it with a shovel. A guy who sold me southern heirloom apple trees recommended I not use potting soil or topsoil in the hole and just refill with the soil I dug out but I do add a little, simply because it seems that what comes out is less than what is needed to refill the hole (weird, right?) and I do think it helps with compaction. Lastly, I also try to make a very shallow bowl around the tree to hold water when I water...but very shallow so as to not drown the tree. I hope this helps!!
2 months ago
Relevant and likely to continue to exist are two very different things. We live in an increasingly digital world. The availability of web based access to relevant content is increasing at an exponential rate. Accessing these resources is becoming increasingly greater as technology is increasingly available (cheaper) to more people, and as more people relate to technology. Think about it...who doesn’t have a smart phone today? Further, these phones have capabilities that allow anyone to access content that was otherwise difficult or maybe even impossible to access even in a traditional library. Information is proliferating at an exponential rate of speed and I think libraries will slowly go the way the of the dinosaur only because we have the most powerful libraries ever conceived of...in our pockets. Sad, but I believe this is the future.
2 months ago
I’m new to this. I grafted Apple trees this spring with very good success. My scion wood is now growing and producing new growth. Am I supposed to chose on shoot as the main trunk of the new tree or do I just let them all grow and begin pruning for shape once they are bigger? I don’t know what to do and any help is greatly appreciated.
9 months ago
Ok, that’s great advice and much appreciated! Thank you!
10 months ago
Thank you...your insight eases my worried mind!!
10 months ago
About 3 weeks ago I grafted Apple scions to G890 root stock and placed the roots in damp potting soil.  I kept them in 65 degrees for a week then kept them chilled until this week. Now that the weather is warming up here in Charlotte I moved them to my screened in porch.  I’m seeing leafing on the root stock but not yet on the scion wood...and I’m getting panicky. Does the root stock typically start to grow 1st and then I’ll see growth on the scions? I’m just hoping I didn’t somehow screw up but I have no idea of knowing if the growth appears from the root stock upwards. This is the first time I’ve ever tried to graft anything so I’m really unsure.

Also...I’ve read that leaves on root stock should be trimmed off. Is that right?

Any help or advice is welcome.
10 months ago
About 3 weeks ago I grafted scions to G890 root stock and placed the roots in damp potting soil.  I’ve kept them chilled until this week and now that the weather is warming up here in Charlotte I moved them to my screened in porch.  I’m seeing leafing on the root stock but not yet on the scion wood...and I’m getting panicky. Does the root stock typically start to grow 1st and then I’ll see growth on the scions? I’m just hoping I didn’t somehow screw up but I have no idea of knowing if this is normal or not.  This is the first time I’ve ever tried to graft anything.

Also...I’ve read that leaves on root stock should be trimmed off. Is that right?

Any help or advice is welcome.



10 months ago