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Tree Planting
Why am I planting 190 trees & shrubs? Well, my parents neighbors moved here from London.  I heard that at some point they visited Bear Lake and were confused because after seeing the area, believed that the name was Bare Lake.  Yeah funny... but in many respects, true.

In Sharon the outlying area does have a lot of tree coverage, but in the loop itself and Sharon proper it is pretty devoid of trees.

The reasons for this are really unknown.  I read somewhere that Sharon itself had 3 saw mills in the area.  That has lead me to believe that there certainly were trees in the area a couple hundreds years ago.  Especially since nearly a stones throw away from the lot, the Cache-Wasatch National Forest has all kinds of trees.

So obviously trees can grow in the area.  My goal is to undo what the Pioneers in the area may have done 150 years ago.




U of I Seedlings [TOP]
I started my research which lead me to all kinds of places trying to determine which tree species were native to the area (and most likely to grow well).  The Internet was a great resource.  I wound up working closely with the University of Idaho.  They have an excellent seedling program and very knowledgeable people working there.  Thanks Yvonne!

I wound up purchasing their SuperStock transplants.  These are a two year seedling, grown in their green house.  This is an example of a SuperStock Ponderosa Pine.  Working with Yvonne we determined that for native plants I would be best planting Ponderosa Pine (25), Douglas Fir (45), Rocky Mountain Juniper (30), Quaking Aspen (35) and some Naking Cherry (35) bushes.  Creating a wind-break was something I learned about from the University of Idaho planting catalog.  So that's how I planned the top of the property.  This is done via rows of different height trees.

 

Now where did the Norway Spruce and Austrian Pine come from?  Certainly not native.  While at Home Depot buying stuff for the planting trip in the late fall, I noticed that they were closing out all of their plants.  The 1 gallon trees (12-18" tall) were closed out for only $2.99 each!  The 2 year SuperStock seedlings from the University of Idaho are $2.00 each.  How could I say no?  So I picked up 10 of each.  That's 190 trees and bushes in the ground, fall of 2006.



Tree Tubes [TOP]
Next was my concern as to what will give these things the best chance of survival.  The deer and other foraging animals LOVE to eat little seedlings. Especially Aspen. I decided to try some grow tubes. I know that they are controversial, but Tree Pro makes a very convincing argument with some pretty strong data.  I wound up using Tree Pro Miracle Tubes over several others that I researched.

For the evergreen seedlings I bought shorter 18" tubes.  Some of the Ponderosa Pine SuperStock seedlings poked out of the top.  But for the most part, all the seedlings where completely sheltered by the tubes.  For the Aspen I bought 4 footers (really keep the deer away).  They grow fast and I hope to see Aspen leaves peeking out of the tops of the tubes in a couple years. Hopefully by that time the trees will be able to survive a little deer foraging when the branches poke out of the top.




This is a picture from the Tree Pro website which shows a complete and proper install.  I have not yet put down a weed barrier.  Since I planted after the first frost in the late fall, I knew that I could come back in early spring and put down a weed barrier and some mulch.  The University of Idaho has some pretty shocking images showing the differences in trees planted at the exact same time, with and without weed barrier.  If the tree doesn't have to compete with grasses for water, sunlight and food, they literally were twice+ as large.  I'll try to scan some of those pics from the University of Idaho planting guide.

I'm heading back up to the property to see just how many of the seedlings survived the winter up there. Luckily the winter was pretty mild for their first year.  We'll see.  There are a large number of Voles and ground rodents who live under the snow just under the ground surface.  I understand that they make quick snacks of seedlings, and often girdle the trunks of older trees.  Girdling is when they nibble the bark away all around the whole trunk.  This pretty effectively kills the tree.  I'll update and report back after we head up.



Here's a stitched together panoramic photo after the tree planting, but before I broke 'camp'. It uses Flash 9, so if it doesn't load, you don't have the latest version. It's pretty cool. You can zoom in and see the detail, plus it streams in the image data.

This is early autumn. There had already been a couple good freezes and it was cold. It was also drizzling rain almost the whole time. Good for planting trees, bad for being a human. Thanks Mom and Dad for coming up and helping. There certainly were a lot of holes to dig and fill. If you zoom in tight, you will see a nice field of planted trees right behind the Trailblazer.
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A break in the clouds and rain. Things drying out, just a little.




Next I need to worry about keeping these little trees watered during the hot summer months. Don was extremely generous and offered to let me use his water system. Since there are 190 trees, watering with a standard hose would not only be time consuming, but the hose would need to be a ridiculous length and impossible to move around, let alone ask a volunteer to deal with it.  The answer would be to install a permanent drip irrigation system.

The Drip Store [TOP]
My research lead me to TheDripStore.com.  They seem to have some good pricing and a lot of great parts.  They said to send over my layout and they would help me layout a system.  I sent over my layout but I'm not sure, I might have scared them off.  I've asked twice since then and nobody has replied.




4/6/07 Update

TheDripStore.com got back got me.  I called them to ask what was up, and was told that they do system layout's all the time and they should be able to put together a system for me quickly.  I resent all the info and Sarah was super helpful.  She apologized for missing my request and gave me a part by part description for both a 1/2" and a 3/4" option.  It sounds like in a few years, after the trees have grown significantly, I will need to upgrade to two drippers per tree which will require a 3/4" line anyway.


This is the the dripper right here.  They are an agricultural grade known as the "Woodpecker Junior Pressure Compensating Drip Emitters, 1 GPH." 1 each per tree for now, 2 per tree down the road.  I also decided to invest a little extra now and use the 3/4" hose.  Since it will have to eventually be upgraded anyway.

While visiting the property, we talked to Don for a while and Don showed us some new trees that he just planted for spring.  He has quite a few on his property now.  Since he volunteered to let me use his water system to water my trees, I volunteered my drip system to automate the watering of this trees as well.  From what I learned from Sarah's layout, I will easily be able to add more to the order to handle the additional trees on his lot.




4/9/07 Update

The larger potted trees from Home Depot didn't get any protection since I didn't buy any tree tubes, and they were already pretty big.  It looks like they are okay at the moment.  The tops of the trees were sticking out of some snow for a while and there were some very hard freezes.  So it's easy to see that there is some winter burn from the extreme cold.  Unfortunately it's pretty avoidable.  I understand that the trees tend to recover from Winter burn well.  We will see.
For all the little seedlings, the tubes did their job extremely well.  There are many of the seedlings which stuck out of the top slightly.  The Douglas Fir and the Ponderosa Pine where slightly taller.  Anyway, the tops that stuck out above the snow got a little burned, but anything inside the tubes did very well.

For the Aspen's it more difficult to tell, because they dropped their leaves, so there are just little twigs in there for now.  The twigs are nice soft.  There's nothing crisp or dead looking about them.

All in all, things looked good.  I was able to look inside about half the tubes and did not see any mice nests, or notice any sign of girdling from any rodents.  When I go up to do the drip system in a month or so, I'll get a better idea.

6/1/07 Update

Here are 3 Rolls of drip tube ready to install. This was a LOT of work. The key is to roll it like a wheel to lay it out. Don't even THINK about try to pull one end off of the coil.

My parents went up to the North Pole Loop to check out our lot. They snapped a couple pictures. All seems well so far. Here one of the Ponderosa Pine's. It's really exciting to see how well things are growing now thay they have water. It's hard to make it out, but this thing is also close to double in size. While they didn't get any pictures, I also heard that a few of the Aspen's are only 3 or 4 inches from the top of the 4 foot tubes. That's just amazing to hear.

I really do need to do some weed/grass control. There are only about 20 of the trees which have a weed barrier around each tree. I hear that they will grow about twice as fast. Hopefully I can replant a few trees and clear grass around a few more of them before snow.

9/3/07 Update

We went up to check on the status of the trees and bushes.  It's pretty impressive.  Here you see Lance standing next to one of the Nanking Cherry Bushes.  In 1 season of growth it's pretty impressive to see how well these have done.   Here is a shot of a couple of Aspens in the top corner of the lot.  These are also just 1 season along.  They started at around 15 inches including the roots.  We're now seeing close to 4 feet not counting the roots.  I am quite impressed.
Here's a Douglas Fir.  A few of these were barely sticking above the top of the tree tubes.  Take into account that the tree tubes are 12 inches tall and this Douglas Fir has done quite well.   This is a Ponderosa Pine.  This particular tree has doubled in size since I planted it.  Again, pretty impressive.  Better than I expected.