Starting an Orchard Part V: Finishing Up!

So, its been a bit since I posted last but, I still have more to post!  In my last post, I had finally got all the trees into the ground. However, thats not good enough. I was extremely concerned about deer eating the young trees while I was away and needed a plan for that. Fruit trees are tasty to deer because of their sweeter bark and taste.

If I were all fancy and stuff, there would be high double fences with electricity and all that other stuff. I am not fancy, so time for another plan. Running a long fence to encapselate all the trees into one area won’t work either, as the deer will just jump the fence. I also wanted to protect against other smaller critters that might try to get in.

The solution I came up with would be to encapsulate each tree with its own fence, using 2″x4″ grid. Then I would anker it into the ground with posts and secure it with zip ties. The posts would be on the inside of the fence so if the deer try to push in, the metal of the fence would push against the post, instead of all the pressure being held by the zip ties.  By making it into a circle, it doesn’t give the deer much room to jump into the secured area.

First thing we need, is fence. I picked up a number of these from tractor supply and shoved them into the back of the station wagon (estate). They fit pretty nicely back there next to the recovery gear.

As you can see, this is 100 foot (30 meter) of 14 guage 2″x4″ fencing. I wanted the 2″x”4″ because its small enough to keep most critters out that can do damage. The fence height is 5 foot, which is tall enough to keep the deer from reaching in and eating the trees (at least until the trees mature a bit).

First issue: Get the fence unrolled, and try and get the wire to not have as much “memory” of being tightly coiled. I grabbed a larger stump and placed it on the end of the fence.

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A good swift kick sent the metal roll down the hill. I left it like this for about a half hour to get it take the shape I preferred to work with.

I then measured out 25′ sections; 4 sections per roll, 3 rolls. 12 sections, 12 trees… perfect! Now for some maths. πr^2 = 25 foot.  So, 25/π = 7.9618-ish. Square root that.. 2.822′ = 2 foot 10 inches. So, 25′ of fence will build a distance of 2’10” from where the tree is planted, until it touches the fence. This should be plenty of room for the tree to grow in, but keep the deer out.

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I tried to get the fence into something of a circle around the tree and get the posts there too.  Perfect circles weren’t going to happen, but I was going for good enough.

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Now its everyone’s favorite part… DRIVING POSTS INTO ROCKY SOIL. Also known as farm cross fit. My shoulders hurt. A lot. Yes, I am complaining nearly a year later.

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I don’t have a really decent photo of all the trees and the fences up. But this is it. Each tree now has its only little perimeter. I wish I had a bit more time to lay down mulch on each tree, but yea… no.

At this point I was done with this part of the project, and time to just let the trees grow. I don’t know how many were going to survive, and still don’t. But they had a good year. Some trees will likely need to be replanted. Now we wait.

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