Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Planting of a Walnut Orchard

The views, they are a changin' around these parts.  Last summer, our neighbor began the preparations to turn his 40 acre plot of land into an orchard.  This field is across our dirt lane and has seen corn, cotton, wheat and oats in the years we have been here. The entire front of our house faces this field and is our view from all of our living spaces.  Mr. and Mrs. Farmer have always farmed and decided to plant a permanent crop that will eventually take less hands on work and reap a profit.  Many farmers are going this route in our area.  Last October, I shared
the second step in preparing the land for an orchard...the first step was laser leveling  the land and boy was that a dusty, dusty (did I mention dusty) job.
After the ripping of the ground,  there was some irrigating since we had had no rain.  Then a few weeks ago, the actual planting began. You will have to forgive the "people shots".  There were 16 - 20 men at this point and very few spoke English. I was afraid to try and explain the reason some crazy woman was taking their photos, so I didn't attempt it....I did what any other crazy woman does...hide in the flower bed and snap away. 
These tiny dots are 16 men holding a rope that has marks on it...they would yell at each other and in unison, move forward, set the rope down and place a straw in the ground that corresponded with the marker on the rope.  This is how they marked where each tree would be planted.  I don't know how I thought this was done, but certainly not like this.
The driller came next and literally drill a hole where wach straw had been placed and Voila....a perfectly dug hole!

This reminded me of a a chenille blanket....
Once the holes were dug, the trees were delivered.  They are all bareroot and just lying in a stack on the trailer.  Men would grab some from the trailer and drop a tree in or near a hole.  I was suprised at the lack of care they seemed to show the poor baby trees.

Once the trees were in the holes,  3 men came through and shoveled dirt by hand into the hole.  
Once the tree's roots have been covered with soil, a water truck came through to give them a drink.  These two men stuck the nozzle into the dirt and watered each tree.  This also settles the dirt to minimize air pockets.

 The next step had one man with a huge bag hanging from his shoulders who pruned off the top 18 inches or so of each tree...and his partner painting "tree tar" on the fresh cut.  This is to prevent bacteria or fungus from infecting the tree.
The following day the trees were all painted white.  This is kind of a sunscreen to minimize sunburn on the new trees.  You can imagine that it will be several years before there is a shady canopy on these babies.

The final step in planting this orchard is tying each tree to a stake for support.  Each of these steps took 1 - 2 day and I learned a lot from just watching and lurking in flower beds. 

We have mixed feelings regarding the trees.  It will be much less dusty and we will be secluded from the view of a main road. It will be cooler and I adore the smell of walnuts in the fall. But... we will also miss having a wide open view to these.

We will adapt.


klutzymama said...

Oh my goodness...big changes. I think it would be really cool to live across from a walnut orchard, though I can definitely see why you'd have mixed feelings, those views are beautiful. Good thing you've got lots of pictures to remember them by. Though I have a feeling you might have some new pictures that will be equally awesome with your new surroundings. :)

Tipper said...

Fascinating! I'm glad you hung out in the flower bed to share this with us : )

Becky said...

That is bunch of trees! I wonder just how many they planted?
I'll bet that sky will be just as pretty with the silhouette of the trees in front. I love the darkness of the walnut trees.

Denice said...

Geez...didn't think I would miss seeing the valley but this put a little stop in my heart for a second....:(