-----In 2004 we bought a falling-down house and 30 acres. This blog documents our progress-----

Monday, April 17, 2006

wrapping trees in blankets

Below are various updates from Mum and Dad about the trees progress, and the huge effort they're putting in up there to protect them from kangaroos, frost, drought, etc. The trees are thriving far more than we'd even dared hope, and it's largely down to our parents efforts. Thank you!!!

Email from Dad (March 12):

Dawn and I spent a huge day yesterday shifting water from the dam and the top tanks and giving the trees along the drive a big drink. I have used 1 1/2 tanks of the potable water and pumped for 3 1/2 hours apx from the dam to leave the olive tree tank full and the watering tank by the house almost full by the end of the day, apx 8 pm.

Where wind protection for the fruit trees was provided, there is tenfold leaf growth. And it is obvious that where the trees have reached height of original tree protectors, without extension, the roos have grazed the tops uniformly on those which did not have a top of shade cloth. On one which is extended, the tree has reached the top of the extended wire and has lovely fresh growth on it and will doubtless continue to outgrow its confines and begin to spread itself. I am relieved that it is patently clear that the young trees have reached into the earth for deep water during this dry spell, and our strategy to not water them much has proved wise indeed.

dad with tree

trees in march 2006

We're going up again for the next Talbot market and I will do some more watering then of the olive grove, which didn't get water this time, and 4 fruit trees and 8 upper driveway trees. I will also put shade cloth on the remaining fruit tree enclosures while there if I feel up to the job.

Email from Mum (March 31):

Dad and I went up thurs morning, got there about 2.30 as we had lunch on the way and had left late. Got some of the trees done, whipped into maryborough for more wire (Dad had thought only about 10 needed doing urgently, but they all did) and came back - did somemore, knocked off a bit before dark - went into Talbot, walked dogs whilst our meal was being got ready. Bed.. and woke early, breakfast and out at work byut about 7.15 when it got light. Worked furiously, left about 5.30

driveway trees

Email from Mum (April 16):

Dad and I went up yesterday (Sat). We did some of the trees when we got there but not a lot, and got tea and were in bed early, asleep by 8pm. Woke early and dozed on and off, ended up late getting up and it was light an hour before we got out there. We got all trees done that we had shade cloth for and finished as planned a little after 3pm....

shadeclothing the trees

trees with shadecloth roofs

We just got home, very tired and sore fingered from wire ties and sore knuckled and handed from the roughness of the shade cloth. We have from memory 16 to do in total still and another 18 or so to do the wrap with but they already have a top on. All wire tops are folded down so they are not hugely above tops of trees so will do some good - a foot or two clearance.

All trees have grown a foot or so since being released from the lower constraining shadecloth.

We plan to go back Tuesday to get the rest done - will buy shadecloth tomorrow, another 50 m or so needed just for the gum trees and then there are a lot of fruit trees to get it done as well - they need it for wind protection.

It has been very cold at nights up there, close to freezing... It ws 0.1 at Coldstream this morning at 6.30am. no wonder I felt so very cold. It was not that bad at Amherst, think it was about 3 there. I think we are getting this tree blanketing done just in time to be honest. Sad they are not going to get so much sun but soon there won't be any anyway. When this lot of shade cloth comes off in about October November - depends on the weather - it will not be going back. I refuse to use a step ladder to put blankets on trees - if you think they need blankets still next winter you two will have to come and do them!

UPDATE: Email from Mum (April 18):

Rest of trees all done including the fruit trees for wind protection. Dad
got an extra 29 metres of shade cloth which was the full amount left on the
roll and we do not have one inch left over. In fact we could perhaps have
done with another couple of inches but made do. If we had cut an overlap or
two shorter earlier we would have been just right - using about 6 inch
overlap early fruit trees (6 total needed wrapping) and the last two were
short but were made to JUST meet.

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