Roundup Man Returns

May 31, 2007

May 31, 2007 First, a note about the effects of the Roundup spraying adventure. It worked, really well. I have yet to find any seedlings killed accidentally, but my fields now show a neat pattern of burned spots with yearling walnuts preening in their patches of sunlight. Reluctant to go too far without a feedback loop, I sprayed around only two of the four rows of 5 year‑old walnut transplants. They are a sorry lot at the best of times, but the rows with the herbicide treatment on the competing vegetation show a lot more greenery than those without the help. Now all I need is a cape to go with my paper coveralls and rubber boots. Roundupman rules! A number of the hills which did not produce seedlings last summer have sprouted in the last two days. Neil Thomas had mentioned that sometimes the nuts will wait an extra year before growing, and the new sprouts are clearly from the fall of 2005 planting. Two days later and I have started to notice sprouts from the seeds I planted just after Christmas, 2006. Yesterday=s rain and the warm temperatures seem to have brought them out of the ground a bit early. No doubt the absence of competing cover helped here, as well. As I explained to all who would listen, I can really do it. The harvest, treatment, chilling, storage and planting, not to mention the spray to make a space for them B I did it all, and they grew!* My wife thinks I=m a little dotty, wandering around the walnut patch greeting each new arrival, but it=s an exciting time of year. *The sardonic response, of course, is, “So what? They’re weeds. They grow everywhere!”


With about four inches of rain in the last week and very warm weather today, the seeds can=t want for growing conditions. And they=re popping up in droves. Some of the hills where I planted three seeds last Christmas now have three, closely‑spaced seedlings. So far the Roundup has done a good job on the grass and doesn=t seen to have hurt the walnuts, though at times my marksmanship was in error and seedlings have found themselves pushing up through the living grass. In the future I must remember to mark more carefully where I have planted seeds, but I was in a big hurry at the time, shaken by a frigid wind and unable to believe that the weather‑window would last. I have taken to last year’s metal stakes again to indicate where the new sprouts are growing in advance of a pass by the mower. With some pleasure and to the bemusement of observers, I have tracked down each emerging sprout over the last few days and marked its location with a metal stake. The back field now looks like a metal‑daffodil field again, albeit with tattered and faded blossoms this time. I have hedged my bets by planting more seeds around the older transplants. I slipped a couple to the east and west of each butternut hill, as well. The success of last fall=s seeding raises the next question. The local seeds are fertile and winter‑hardy. That=s obvious. But what if they are inferior nut producers? Before I make any grandiose plans I should ask Neil Thomas to compare some of the Croskery Woodlot seed with cultivars from other locations. Oh yeah, the buckhorn. Seems they like a little 2% Roundup solution on their leaves. It takes care of those embarrassing orange spots, but does little else. Perhaps I should consult the label for more specific instructions in dealing with the invasive pest.

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