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Brody Ekberg

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since Aug 02, 2018
Not long ago, I had a revelation type experience in which I completely fell in Love with Life itself. This made me realize that I want to spend the rest of my Life sustaining the opportunity for others to have the same experience. I had a vision of an Eden like scene with my wife and I at the center, surrounded by sustainably grown, fresh organic food that we were growing and giving away for free, teaching the community and specifically local children what we are to do with this Life and how. I am now consciously involved with the Life long process of bringing this idealistic dream into reality
Iron River MI
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Recent posts by Brody Ekberg

Thanks for the response, and I agree, I totally need to quit worrying. I found out yesterday that they are seedlings, not grafted, so all the suckers are true to type. Also, the nursery I got them from said they are hardy to at least -30, but we got a little colder than that last winter and damage is expected.

As of now, here’s my plan: pull the weeds, put a thin paper and woodchip mulch layer and wait until fall. Once the trees are dormant, I’ll prune off whatever is dead and either prune off the suckers for a new leader, or leave the suckers for a bushier tree. Also, depending on how they fare this summer, I may replant them in the fall once they are dormant. But if this summer goes well for them I may just leave them as is. My biggest concern is root rot, but I’ll be very sparing with mulch and water and hope for the best.
3 days ago

Rob Kaiser wrote:

Brody Ekberg wrote:
Very helpful, thank you!

Also, any chance you have experience with chestnuts being in the nursery business? I ask because I’ve got a separate post about them that I’m looking for advice on.



Sure thing, post a link to the other thread and I'd be happy to comment :)



https://permies.com/t/161461/Chestnut-tree-advice

It started as a separate question, but of you scroll down to June 7, you’ll see the most recent questions I’m asking. Still haven’t heard back from the seller to find out if they’re grafted or seedlings. One nursery worker I talked to yesterday advised me to pick a sucker as the new trunk and prune the rest off but to leave them planted as is.
4 days ago

Rob Kaiser wrote:

Brody Ekberg wrote:I just bought a couple potted highbush blueberry plants and both have immature fruit already. We live in Michigan and the weather has been hot and humid for a while now. Here’s my questions:

1. Can I plant these now, or should I wait until fall so they are dormant?

2. Should I prune off any berries/flowers to promote more rooting?

3. If I do prune the fruits, can I use the prunings as softwood cuttings to try to make more plants, or should I let the plants establish for a year or two before taking cuttings?

Any advice is appreciated. Thank you!



Based on my experience:

1.  Plant it in the ground.  If you can dig a hole, you can plant it.  Watch for plants being root bound in containers, if so - score it...though I suspect your blueberries, if newly purchased are not root bound.

2.  In my opinion, no need to prune - though often times when we shift up containers here at the nursery we often times head plants back hard.  I wouldn't stress it too much on the pruning.

3.  I know people that use small tabletop aero cloners with great success with blueberries, azaleas and other plants.  After much failure with attempted cuttings of my own blueberries this will be my go-to cloning method in the future.  

Don't over think your plants or the ph.  Plants are capable of tolerating a lot.  Newly planted material won't be heavily affected by ph or anything initially.  Don't plant it too low, and remember....plant high, never die - plant low, you never know.  Just as many plants suffer from too much water than they do drying out.  Leaf color has little to do with ph and more to do with stress of the plants.  Many of our container blueberries and serviceberries (at the day job) are various shades of orange/red - simply because they're stressed out in some way, shape, or form.  

Just get those plants in the ground, if you want to fertlize, consider Espoma's Holly Tone and keep an eye on the water.  Check moisture levels 6 inches below the soil level instead of right at ground level and base your water needs on that.  You'll eventually learn to "read" your plants based on how your soil feels.  Good luck and keep us posted!



Very helpful, thank you!

Also, any chance you have experience with chestnuts being in the nursery business? I ask because I’ve got a separate post about them that I’m looking for advice on.
4 days ago

Steve Thorn wrote:1. I would plant them in the ground also if you have a good location for them.

2. I've had good success just picking off the flowers or small blueberries. Pruning it now may cause the plant to lose more water and dry out easier, and blueberries here are most likely to die during the hottest and driest part of the year.

3. Yeah I would let it get established and take cuttings next year, that way it won't stress the plant too much while it will already be experiencing some transplant shock. I've had trouble rooting softwood cuttings and would love to hear how it goes for you if you give it a try. I've heard of people having success with a misting system, but that's a little more than I want to bite off at the moment. I've had excellent results propagating blueberries by new shoots coming up from the ground. It is super easy and the shoots already have some roots and can thrive with little care.

Best of luck!



Thanks for the advice! I think they should do well around our red pines, as long as I thin some stuff out enough to get them more sun. Theres probably 6” of pine needles as mulch there already and the soil is slightly acidic (6.5). Thinking of mixing fresh coffee grounds in the soil while planting to help with ph. Ill pick off the fruits before planting and wait to take cuttings until sometime next year, unless they send up shoots in which case I’d just use those.

And I feel you about the misting system. I’ve got a bed of coarse sand in a shady spot and just keep shoving cuttings of various things in it. Some take, some dont. All I do is try to keep them waterer. I figure all the ones that die off are probably too weak and finicky to be worthwhile in the long run anyway! I’ve got enough to try to keep up with here as it is, and if I miss a watering I dont want a bunch if babied plants dying because they’re so used to ideal conditions.
5 days ago

Christopher Shepherd wrote:Hi Brody, this is what works for us.  Like Mk said "the ground is better".  The only issue with that is they will need watered for a while to get their roots unbound.  They are shallow rooters typicly.  We use white pine needles and pine bark as mulch to help keep the soil PH lower.  If the leaves start turning red before fall the PH is too high. A quick fix for high PH is ammonium sulfate sprinkled around it then water well.  Another slower fix is pure garden sulfur mixed in around the soil.  I have never had luck trying to root the stems.  I leave the berries on them.  In our area the robins eat them as fast as they ripen.  We used high tunnel hoops and netting to reduce our losses.



I’ve got stumps with mushroom plugs in them in that same area and try to water them once a week, so watering the blueberries shouldnt be an issue. Plus, it’s got 70 years worth of red pine needle mulch, so the soil stays damp. I also will be chipping pine limbs sometime this summer and can mulch with them as well.

I read used coffee grounds aren’t very acidic, but fresh coffee grounds are. Think mixing some into the planting soil would help drop the ph? Its around 6.5 now.
5 days ago

Mk Neal wrote:I think the bushes will do much better in the ground than in a pot,  especially in hot w weather.   Better to plant them now.



Will do! Might have to cut a tree or two to get them more sun. And the planting site has a ph around 6.5, so I’m thinking of getting some fresh ground coffee to mix in the soil while planting.
5 days ago

Han Kop wrote:I don't see a reason for replanting them
What is your soil ph.
Chestnuts on clay is a bad idea to start with. If its also basic soil you can forget it. They like acid. They like slopes, well draining soil, fertile sandy loam.



The reason for replanting would be because they’re struggling and we didn’t plant them correctly the first time. I feel like they would be better off with a wider planting hole, loosen the roots and the surrounding soil a bit, possibly add some coarse sand, and get them a couple inches above grade compared to level like they are now.

And I know Chestnuts don’t generally like clay, but I’ve read of successful orchards of them on clay, so I know it’s possible. Proper planting probably would help...

Our soil ph 2 or 3 years ago when I last checked was either 6.5 or 6.8 if I remember correctly.

And yes, some of them still have a few of last years leaves clinging on.
5 days ago
I just bought a couple potted highbush blueberry plants and both have immature fruit already. We live in Michigan and the weather has been hot and humid for a while now. Here’s my questions:

1. Can I plant these now, or should I wait until fall so they are dormant?

2. Should I prune off any berries/flowers to promote more rooting?

3. If I do prune the fruits, can I use the prunings as softwood cuttings to try to make more plants, or should I let the plants establish for a year or two before taking cuttings?

Any advice is appreciated. Thank you!
6 days ago

greg mosser wrote:we’ve got a couple acres of chestnuts growing in dense clay soil on what was a badly overgrazed pasture....i don’t recognize the issue you’re describing (delayed leafing out?)...but it’s definitely possible to grow chestnuts in heavier soil. don’t know what to recommend. the main thing that sticks out to me is watering. beyond the initial planting, how much did they get watered? were  these potted or bareroot? also, top dressing with compost (under mulch is best) may be better than compost in the hole, especially in clay - you don’t want a super-rich little space that the tree isn’t motivated to reach out from.

the main danger in clay soils is digging a hole that doesn’t drain water well. how big were the holes compared to what was planted? was the soil packed down?

i think an advantage of our planting here was that it was from seed. small holes with original soil packed in on top. there was no way for the holes to become soup pots. they were slow to grow the first couple years but have been picking up steam as the used-to-be-pasture heals. our main danger is deer browse.



Alrighty, I’m going to load you up with some specifics in hopes that you can lend some advice...

I realized today that we really didn’t put these trees off to a good start. I read you want well draining soil, a shallow but wide planting hole, dont amend the soil in the hole but maybe a little compost around the perimeter or on top of the soil, and for the tree to be at least a couple inches above grade.

Wish we would have read all that before planting! We dug deeper, narrower holes, added compost to the bottom, planted them level with the grade (of course they settled and are now maybe 1/2” below). Plus the comfrey is planted too close to the trees. I haven’t watered them in a week and a half, they’re in full sun, and the soil is still very damp... Lots of biological activity under the mulch, but far from well draining. There are suckers and some fresh growth down low where the comfrey shaded it. Still almost no signs of life on the top half of the trees though.

So here’s my dilemma: it’s supposed to be around 90 degrees all week. I was intending on replanting them this week the correct way to try to save their life but now that I see suckers and fresh growth down low, I dont know what to do. I considered doing a very hard pruning, or just leaving them until fall and hope that they’re still alive enough then to replant.

Any advice is appreciated!
1 week ago
I’ve been eyeing up some wild hazelnuts for a while now and think I may take some cuttings this fall. I can soak them in willow water and try rooting them in coarse sand along side the other perennial shrub cuttings I have going.

Or maybe if I actually decide where I want to plant them, I could just transplant some suckers in the fall. Although it’s easier to run around taking cuttings from different clumps of wild shrubs than digging them up!
1 week ago