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Richardson Ranch
Richardson Ranch
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4454 Hwy 71, Columbus, Texas, US
Climate zone:
Sub tropical

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Richardson Ranch

Richardson Ranch

Columbus, US

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Tree seedlings, weeds & shade

Project: Richardson Ranch

Posted by Jennifer Richardson almost 9 years ago

Rampant weeds not so bad; protect seedlings from scorching sun

Since late spring, I've been haphazardly trying to turn the few acres of aspiring thicket bordering our yard into a food forest by interplanting fruit & nut seedlings amongst the established native trees such as oaks, pecans, etc. I chose to plant only own-root trees this go-round (nothing grafted) and selected plums (Mexican and Wild Goose), pawpaws, persimmons, and hickory nut trees to supplement our existing (mostly grafted) fruit trees.

The seedlings were tiny, so I used Tubex tree shelters to help keep them from getting lost or shredded, which worked really well; I will definitely purchase more of the Tubex shelters. I was too lazy to mulch or (ha!) weed around them, however--I'd considered some nice, tidy mulch mats, but never got around to it.

But as it turns out, weeds are actually preferable to the terrible Texas heat; the seedlings that were engulfed in towering stands of Johnson grass or bloodweed are actually doing better than the seedlings with more space, presumably because of the shade offered by the weeds (judging by the crispiness of their less fortunate peers).

Some of the seedlings have died due to my shamefully inconsistent irrigation practices (being somewhat far from the house and awkward to get to with a hose, they get watered only when I feel like hauling a watering can out there), and the casualties have mostly been those receiving, ahem, "full sun." However, they should need less watering as the weather cools and they get better established.

I am already getting excited about picking out some new seedlings to fill in the gaps this fall, although I'm still feeling guilty about the ones I let die... 


[By the way, the seedlings & Tubex shelters were purchased from Oikos Tree Crops at http://www.oikostreecrops.com -- they're located in Michigan, far away from me, but I was linked to their site & found it wonderful. Would love to know about similar companies closer to home with own-root, genetically diverse stock that is more suited to TX.]

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