This morning we drove to the Missouri Department of Conservation Tree Nursery in Licking, MO. We picked up our order of 100 red oaks, 100 white pines, and 100 holly and brought them back to the homestead.
When we got back to the farm we began building our windbreak. We started by staking out mason’s twine to mark the path of the trees–starting at the northeastern corner of the homesite, heading due west toward Snake Creek, then bending south. We then placed three rows of stakes at predetermined intervals to show where each tree will be planted. The stakes will also anchor the rabbit wire collars we are making to protect the seedlings from rabbits and deer.
Our reading indicated that the greatest hazard to our seedling trees was dehydration caused by bad planting technique–what the experts call “putting a five-dollar tree in a fifty-cent hole”. However, the second greatest threat is from rabbits and deer. The solution is something that prevents our trees from becoming a buffet line for fauna. Ironically, the commercially available solutions are plastic shields that cost about $2 to protect trees that cost 16-32 cents. So PaterFailias came up with a technique to bend 20″ of rabbit wire around a piece of 4″ PVC pipe to make shields for less than a dollar. We ended up having only enough time and materials to make about 150 shields, but every little bit helps.
Digging holes for the trees in the rocky soil was dificult, but we were prepared for that. What we had not counted on–and were not prepared for–was getting enough water from one of our ponds to water 300 trees.
SheWalksWithFlowers set up the water collection and transport process. It was a lot of hard work skimming water out of the pond and carrying it 150 yards to the nearest trees–and substantially farther for the rest.