I was able to get all of my apple Bud118 rootstocks in the ground. We’ll see how they over winter. Hopefully it stays warm enough for the roots to adjust. I had an audience too(neighbors cows). I’m looking to add more pear trees to the orchard, as well as chestnut trees.


Check with me in spring '19 to see how the pears I grafted this spring do over winter. I have several varieties I’m trying on the following rootstocks: Quice; OHxF333, OHxF87 and OHxF97. I’m a Z4 here, same as you. You have a nice site for your orchard, how big is the lot?

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Well-protected, too!

I have 172 acres. This plot is a hay field that was left to be overgrown by previous owner. That particular field is maybe 3-5 acres. After a lot of clanging around with the brush hog the last 3 years it’s looking good.(I hate buckthorn with a passion). These are this years grafts, basically all Bud118 rootstocks with either bench or bud grafts of freedom, liberty, honeycrisp and spigold. I think I did a few goldrush last year. Also have some Seckel on ohxf97. I use 4 ft tall hardware mesh. I place cut corrugated pipe around my stock, I pound a wooden stake in ground and zip tie the hardware mesh to it. Should protect against deer and rodent, at least until the tree matures to a good size. Im trying to load this area of my property with pears, apples and chestnuts.


Just don’t make those whips compete with your sod if you want them to thrive- I’m guessing you already know that, but I don’t see sod-free circles where trees are planted.

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Alan, i was just focused on getting them in the ground before it gets cold. The corrugated pipe works well protecting the whip from weedwhacker. What do you do to keep weeds and grass away from your trees?

I use 4’x4’ squares of woven polypro landscape cloth around each tree.

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Most of us with smaller orchards use mulch, often woodchip mulch from arborists for free, but it helps to be in a suburban area to get them. Usually it involves removing the turf when trees are planted, although you can starve the turf by putting the squares smsmith suggests, although you will still need to keep the sod away from the trunk.

Some of us use roundup. An app in early spring when grass starts growing is usually a ticket, although some weeds kill better in early fall. I’m not an expert in chemical weed control, however and mostly use spun fabric covered with wood mulch.

It’s important to know that meadow species compete with trees in more complicated ways than merely colonizing contested soil with faster root growth. Many meadow species exude chemicals that retard tree growth as well.


Interesting. Makes sense. I’ve been hesitant to use roundup in fear that it will kill what I’m trying to keep alive, the tree. I have used mulch in the past but my concern with mulch is that I’ve heard it provides mice and voles cover from predators to girdle my young trees. I’d prefer the hawks and owls to be able to handle their end of my land use agreement haha.

The use of roundup is efficient and certainly early spring apps are safe, but with apple trees it is even safer if you use a wick stick, you can even use it for young peaches this way. It tends to kill grasses beyond the area of application because of connected roots, so you don’t have to go right up to the trunk.

Here,with mulch, you often need to trap or poison out rodents, but this is often necessary in any case. I also use plastic spirals which I place on trees in fall and remove in spring. Here the necessity of killing voles in the fall is because of pine voles, which feed on the roots of apple trees like gophers do in the west- both are subterranean species.

Where can I find a wick stick? Is there a particular formula of round up best used near fruit trees?

@Holleg44 Rural King … Amazon… just search wick herbicide applicator. I bet you could take one of those paint roller poles that you can suck the paint up into and use it to suck up the weed killer then roll on the area you want it applied.

What you want is plain glyphosate, not mixed with any other herbicides

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Here’s one that looks like one I used to use. Also you can check Gemplers.


As always, I really appreciate the positive criticism, tips and advice. I’m just trying to learn from you all, and use your experience to avoid mistakes. Thanks

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Looks like a great start. I hope they all make it through the winter. It is definitely a learning curve and trial and error experiences growing fruit and nut trees.
Good luck.

The Bud118 rootstocks have done very well for me up here near Watertown, NY. I have a couple store bought trees that I’m unsure of the rootstock. I’m considering removing the, because I think they may be more of a fire blight risk than anything. I bought them prior to having much knowledge on grafting. My father in law has a store bought tree that is always loaded with cedar apple rust. I have a freedom grafted to Bud118 right next to the cedar tree that looks completely healthy, no spots or anything. About 10 of his other store bought trees died. I think I’m going to replace his dead trees for him next spring with my grafted trees. I think long term he will be happier. Do any of you use these tree protectors out of that plastic like material. They seem like they work well but also seem expensive. Hardware mesh has done well for me so far. I have it in a couple different heights but I think the 4 foot will work best. I don’t really want any scaffolding branches below 4 feet anyways. What do you guys use to weigh your branches down to get better crotch angles?

I’m using the plastic mesh protectors, but they are indeed pricey, plus they only come in smaller sizes

Upside is - you can cut the mesh to fit over a lower branch

I use the cheap spirals that trap moisture and can encourage borers. Wrap them on in fall and remove them by mid spring. Nice thing about rat wire is it can take the abuse of a week whacker and doesn’t need to be removed unless its starts to girdle trees.

Nice thing about spirals is they are cheap and quick. If you take them up to 3’ they protect from winter rabbit damage and also discourage buck rub.

These are what i use as well. These seem to do great for me so far. Plus they are pretty cheap and available just about everywhere.