Elmer Sends in Reinforcements

April 22, 2008

The heavy snow at last melted from the edge of the newly-planted walnut field, so I examined the hills for surviving nuts in the rows next to the woodlot.  Many of the seeds were missing in the outer row, and the predation had moved in a full five rows at the northwestern corner of the field, next to a red squirrel hideout.  A total of 32 hills had been wiped out by squirrels.

I began armed patrols and shortly had reduced the predators by three reds, one chipmunk (no kidding, they’re relentless nut-thieves), and one very crafty gray.

That has slowed the bleeding.  Yesterday I started transplanting yearling seedlings from the display field, where they were growing in groups of up to five stems per hill after 2006’s remarkably successful seeding frenzy.

At first I moved plants to fill the gaps in the display field only, but when the gaps ran out I loaded the back of the golf cart up with a half-dozen shovels-full of sod (containing a seedling in each), and ran them down the hill to the raided areas in the new field where similar holes awaited them.  I wouldn’t think the trees were out of the ground for longer than two or three minutes, tops, and the ground is moist.

Three-year-old saplings don’t want to move, and even two-year-olds can’t be dug up without cutting off or tearing out the main root.  Last year’s seeds seem to come out well in a shovel-full, though.

While I haven’t named the individuals I moved to new homes, their size and the disturbed sod should make their continued study relatively easy.  From what I saw last year in the garden, I suspect the yearling seedlings will survive and the others will die by July.

More on this later.  Patrols continue.  I saw a nice harrier today, and hope it will help.

Oh, BTW:  the weekend highlight was the sight of three white swans flying low over the house.  Those are some birds!

One Response to “Elmer Sends in Reinforcements”

  1. Dear Rod

    I think that you and I might have come from the ‘same mould’. I just discovered your Blog site and I’m fascinated that you are sharing and writing about your experiences which seem to mirror my day-to-day ongoings surrounding walnut.

    I’ve recently also discovered Neil Thomas and I’ve sent him an email. Look forward to ‘rubbing elbows’ with fellow black walnut fanatics.

    …I thought I was the only one with this frenetic passion !! You should see me in pruning mode. Just entering the realm and wonders of anything to do with walnut nuts, and other nut trees, though I’ve loosely practiced it for years.

    Thanks for sharing this on your Blog. I will be a frequent visitor.

    best regards

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