The tree growing thread...
Hi all, I know little to nothing about tree growing so I'd like to start this thread to learn more about it all. I'm trying to start some lodge pole pines, and lilacs. Any tips for a beginner.
Everyone chime in if you have advise, or questions about growing trees or shrubs of any kind. Hopefully the experts will help us out.
The biggest tip I can think of is plant in a well lit south facing area. I don't know much about the lodge poles but I know the lilacs at my mother inlaws grow great in the wash out of her foul pen.
moose will eat the crowns off of lodgepoles in the winter.
Not to hijack your thread, 2dawgs, but I have a related question.
Do cherry trees grow and produce in Alaska? What about pears? If not, are there any fruit trees that do well in the Talkeetna area?
Thanks in advance for any responses, and back to your discussion, 2dawgs.
There are some types of cherry trees that will grow here, but you have to be perticular about the location that you plant them. I have seen people selling pear trees here and they said they would grow, but I have never seen them done sucessfully.
Most people have the best luck with apples or crab apples.
There is a nursery called Northern Fruits in Palmer who is experimenting with various fruit trees. The owner has an orchard with over 350 mature fruit trees growing on site, and may be a good contact for you. She's a bit hard to find but worth the trip to talk with her. Phone 745-1070
Thanks for the responses, and thanks to 2dawgs.
Gotta check it all out.
When I get there I'll have to check out Northern Fruits.
Here in Georgia, cherry trees won't produce because of the mild winters. Back in Arkansas they would, and were the first to flower in the spring, followed by fruit for great pies and ice cream. Wow.
debbie at northern fruits is a very good resource. 1/2 mile up clark-wolverine road which is just outside of Palmer on the old glenn hwy.
evans cherries are the primary dependable cherry for AK, there is a manchurian pear which can do well (manchurian plum too), and lots of kinds of lilacs. There is a lilac variety or two that moose do not eat I have heard, but have no firsthand experience with. Other very nice ornamental trees/shrubs i would recommend include mock orange and rose tree of china, and if you want fruits, apples are really the way to go for alaska in terms of lots of production and fairly low maintenance, in addition to raspberries, strawberries, currants (red and black), honeyberries (almost exactly like blueberries but a completely different species/family)
Nearly all of these should be given good moose protection, such as an 8 foot fence. (ten foot posts, 2 feet in the ground, don't just use metal t-posts, alternate them with some real timber like 6x6 on the corners, and 4x4 in between, alternating with t-posts, or to get serious get some old 4" drill stem and pound pipe all the way around, say 10' spacings. make sure you add some diagonal bracing on each side of the corners).
You can go the electric route, but, moose do not ground very well due to thick fur, so space wires close together so they hit their nose or ear. Also, you must keep it charged all winter which adds up, and you must keep it clean of snow, grass, etc. Moose can get over or under most fences if they so choose. They are like mice, can get through a hole the size of a dime, even the bulls with their antlers, don't know how they do it but they will unless your fence is skookum.
You will invest as much or more in the fence as in the plants, but by all means protect your investment with a good fence. the 5 foot variety does not cut it in the long run, no matter what luck some may claim, and individually fencing each tree is lots of labor and materials for small results, though you may go this route with just a couple of trees. Still if you want to grow snap peas, or broccoli/cabbage, make yourself a nice fenced area. It's easy to think it will be an eyesore but after it's done you will see the light and the freedom to grow things without worry will outweigh other things IMO.
Attention to soil preparation before planting is also key. Get some bags of fishbone meal from bob greig at Alaska Sea Ag. (in palmer, see phone book). Also he has other soil amendments such as calcium phosphate and a water-in fertilizer called fish emulsion which is basically fishoils distilled from the slime line washwater.
bob will be glad to talk with you about what he knows when he has time. and fish is some of the best plant food on earth.
re: lodgepoles yes the moose will eat them in the winter, which is when they will eat most of your fruit trees, as they've got plenty to tide them over during much of the green season. They will eat the ripening apples off your trees too, generally the day before you are ready to harvest, and probably all of them. It may take a couple of years to find them but once found your trees will never be so lucky again. If you put it in a hard to access spot your lodgepoles may be safe but not in my experience.