It’s Roundup Time Again.

October 21, 2007

In preparation for the IPM, Bill’s second cut of the 20 acre field below the house left it looking like a golf course. With about 4000 seed walnuts sitting in the gazebo, I decided I’d better get a grid lined out on it while the getting was good.

The question was how to mark out a large field? My earlier efforts had made do with a 240 foot mason’s string with knots tied every ten or twenty feet. This system had some problems, most relating to the elastic properties shared between mason’s string and bungee cord.

I needed something long enough to go across the field in one length, only with zero stretch. Turned out it was waiting coiled in the garage the whole time: my dad’s electric fencer tape. This wire-reinforced plastic tape proved highly visible, easy to handle, strong and resistant to tangling. So I stretched the length from fence to fence. How would I put the markings on it? Remembering my days as a student surveyor, I conscripted my mother as chain-man, equipped her with a ski pole and twenty feet of tape, the other end attached to my aerosol sprayer’s handle. It worked like a charm. Whenever Mom came to a mark sprayed on the ground and the tape, she stuck in the pole. Stopped, I sprayed. Thirty-five stations later and the tape had its distance markings.

The rest of the layout went easily as long as the golf cart and a driver were available to get me from one side of the field up the steep hill to the other. After two mornings of leisurely work we had fifteen rows marked with paint and posts, so it was time for Roundup. That went on this morning, so I’ll wait about two weeks and plant the walnuts.

I read somewhere that a fork-full of fresh cow manure per hill will keep the squirrels away from planted nuts. By then Bet should be on holidays and I’ll conscript her to drive the spreader while I follow along and fork the fertilizer.


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