Friday, November 6, 2009

Fall: Best time to plant trees

Last year, as my husband and I were adjusting to "Life With a Yard" from our previous "Life In a One-Bedroom Apartment," we eagerly hit up the local garden centers in the late spring and attempted to plant a few trees. We knew they had to be watered "until established," but I really had no idea what that meant and I was too busy trying to hold down my lunch in the early throes of pregnancy to be bothered with religious tree-watering. The result? Several trees that did not survive our regular 100+ Oklahoma temps.

We decided to try again in the fall. I was in my second trimester, and therefore felt like Super Woman. We planted a peach tree and a pear tree, and I watered them without fail at least once a day. I think I felt a connection with nurturing these new trees and the growing baby inside me. That's probably why I almost evicted my younger dog for yanking the peach tree out of the ground SEVERAL TIMES and dragging it around the yard like a large bone. Miraculously, this is how it looked in the spring:See the pretty pink blossoms? Unfortunately, we were hit with a random hard freeze just days after these pics were taken (March), so the blossoms and new leaves were zapped.

The pear tree did similarly well:

Lesson learned. Trees and shrubs planted in the fall do much better in our climate because they get a chance to really establish root systems and moisture reserves before hunkering down to survive the blistering summer heat. Happily, this also coincides with fall clearance sales at local garden centers and nurseries, where trees and shrubs are marked down to about 75% off. Combined with the cooler temps which make it more pleasant to garden, fall is definitely prime time for landscaping projects.
We added 2 lovely apple trees to our collection, in the hopes that they will help pollinate each other and maybe even produce fruit one day. We also added a second peach, for the same purpose:

Maybe one day we will have a mini orchard. I would love to be able to grab fruit from the backyard instead of making the drive into town to gamble on whether the scarce produce selection will have anything decent.

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