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[nafex] Each year you learn something new . . .

We are coming into tight cluster here in northern New Hampshire just now . . . spring has become intense with finishing the pruning, planting new trees, and spreading compost.  Most incredibly, we finally got up an 8-wire deer fence around the hillside orchard and will soon complete a fence for the new block as well. Nothing like a state fencing grant deadline from Fish'N'Game (to keep out their cloven devils!) to get that job done.
Anyhow, before the memories of this past winter's deep snows fade, I have some questions to pose to all you southerners (which is something I can say about almost all of you except Victoria Caron and our Canadian members). I lost most of the lower branches on my three-year-old M.9 trees, simply ripped off the trunk anywhere from three feet down by the icy pull of crusting snow. I had thought I'd do more damage going out and trying to free the buried branches. I was wrong. Does anyone else in snow country have suggestions for future deep winters? My youngest standards also lost some branches but there's room on those to grow ever higher. I'm assuming the gaping tears will heal over and the trunk can recover structurally. The M.9 trees have a 6' rail stake for support. Any suggestions for a bark healing salve?
The bigger shocker occurred in the nursery. I had whip-grafted 50 MM.111 and 50 M.26 rootstock last spring. My daughter's baby goats nipped them in midsummer, but each recovered enough to have a 2 to 3 foot whip going into winter. The crushing snow took every one. And most broke just above the healed splice of the graft . . . but generally close enough for me to think any scion buds are gone. Here's a case where the latent buds of the rootstock were stripped off regularly last summer. I don't know if I'll be having a chance to bud on to new growth or not this summer. I didn't think the snow would wipe away single vertical shoots. Ironically, this was the first year we had no vole damage whatsoever.
The best lesson I can figure (seemingly as always) is to move to a more hospitable climate!

Michael Phillips
Lost Nation Orchard
Heartsong Farm Healing Herbs
RFD 1  Box 275
Groveton, NH 03582


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