Shades of Ireland

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Orchard Triage

I have been hauling buckets of water down to the orchard near the county road. This morning, I decided it was "make or break" time. I had Seth load up the water tank into the truck.

We have just about passed a critical point. Some things just can not be saved. I am having to make the decision about what to water and try to keep alive and which trees and plants I just have to let die. Since we do not have a well and have to pay for water, it would be a waste of resources to keep watering something that is just too far gone. It may very well reach the point that I have to let all of the orchard die in order to water our livestock.  We are being very frugal with the water but....... the bottom line is that we need rain and lots of it.

This is the fruit trees near the house and garden. The greener peach tree in the back was planted last year and has a well established root system. I even got to eat a few very small peaches from it last week. The apple tree in the foreground was planted early this spring. As you can see from the green Bermuda grass at its base, we have been faithful to water it but it is still suffering.  These trees are doing better than the ones closer to the road because this area is somewhat shaded for part of the day.

This is the oldest apple tree..... barely hanging on. If you look closely you can see a 2 litre pop bottle that I have buried at the base. It has a few holes in the bottom to allow water to get directly to the roots of the tree and reduce run off and evaporation. Usually while I am out watering by hand, I fill it up at least twice. This morning when I drove the truck down with the tank, I made the rounds and filled each bottle at least 4 times and saturated the ground at the base of the trees.

There are some things that no amount of water can save in this heat. All but two of the blueberry bushes are baked to a crisp. My beautiful lush strawberry beds are literally toast. They just could not survive the seemingly endless days of over 100 degree temperatures. We are expecting it to hit 111 degrees today...... a cool spell is expected early next week with temperatures only reaching 98 or so......

The fig bush is still hanging in there and the grape vines are wilted but green. I am not sure whether to pray for rain or an early, snowy winter........

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