Thursday, April 13, 2006

Apple trees

Here's E5 hiding behind a tiny apple tree, after a busy day of "helping" me plant them. The lighting was bad, but I did my the best I could in Photoshop to salvage what I had hoped was a great shot. I'm still learning to use my camera.

I tried an interesting trick with the apple trees. We'll see if my botanical instincts are worth anything. I remember reading that if you are trying to root cuttings from azaleas, forsythia, or any of those plants that will tolerate such things, that you could improve your success rate by soaking your cuttings in water along with some willow branches. The willows release some enzyme or hormone or something that encourages root production.

My trees were bare root, and I knew that soaking the roots in water before planting was a good idea. I also happened to be planting them right next to a weedy stand of wild willows. So I cut off some willow branches and stuck them in my soaking bucket. I wasn't even sure if my memory was accurate with regard to the willows, but I figured it was worth a shot. Couldn't hurt, right?

Since I have all these willow wisps that I'd like to clear out (tangent alert! tangent alert!), I'm tempted to try a neat trick I read about somewhere. You can make a "living fence" by criss-crossing willow branches in a weave pattern and sticking them in the ground. If you can get them to bind at the intersections (one suggestion was to use small nails to secure the crossovers, but that sounds like an awful lot of work), the bark will fuse them together over time. The roots will intermingle and fuse also, and you'll essentially end up with what amounts to a single plant. They share a robust root system and a vascular system throughout the length of the "fence", making the whole thing a lot less succeptible to drought, disease, etc. It sounds like a fun little project. Because I need more of those...


At 4/14/2006 8:42 PM, Blogger Beo said...

The willow fence idea is brillant-though amazingly labor intensive! I guess it is still way less work than if you tallied mining the ore, smelting the iron, casting the wire, etc to make chain link but automation is not on your side nailing together myriad willow branches!

My kids 'helped' dig my worm bin -took twice as long, but the memories are three times as strong.

At 4/14/2006 10:58 PM, Blogger e4 said...

Apparently you can just tie the intersections, or even just interweave them. You can also build "living sculptures" like chairs, tunnels, small "playhouses", decorative arbors, etc. One more fun project idea for me!

Here are a few links I turned up after I wrote this:

At 4/16/2006 8:40 PM, Blogger JBTW said...

One of my Garden Gate issues had an article on creating fences with brances. I think it showed a smaller scale than you're thinking of... however if you'd like a copy, I can e-mail it to you.


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