Ice Report Continued: Frost and Little Trees

May 13, 2010

Last Friday a heavy frost blackened the leaves on many of my two-year-old walnut seedlings in a south-facing field.  The mature walnuts were in their male flowering phase at that time, and I won’t know until late summer if they will bear this year.  Last year a late frost killed the flowers on all but the trees on top of the hill or those sheltered by the house, so the harvest was much lower than expected.  To my count this year there have been three frosty days so far in May.

The damaged foliage grows back quickly on older walnut and butternut trees.  Some of last year’s seedlings died, though, either from the frost or a clumsy Roundup application.

The cool temperatures have been good for tree planting, though, and the first two weeks in the ground have been pretty good for the new batch of trees.  7700 white pine, shagbark hickory, yellow birch, white oak and tamarack seem to be doing quite well so far.

The Leeds Stewardship Council had a few extra white spruce and a handful of butternut seedlings  because of a last-minute cancellation.  Strenuous work, planting trees by hand.  I have worked up from fifty the first day to 90 yesterday, but I had to take a three-hour break between planting sessions to achieve that number.  Old and out of shape, I guess.  Another solid day’s work remains.  For a retiree that means the rest of the week and part of the weekend.  So?  The seedlings are comfortably “heeled in” in a shady part of the garden.  They’ll wait.

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