Tag Archives: trees

transplanting hazelnuts

remember these hazelnuts?  the ones i tried to unload on all ya’ll?  hardly any takers, but i’m guessing thats cause the size is too small and you didn’t have enough time to plan ahead.  next year for certain.

part of the problem i think is that these trees are still such little guys, and that there will be more of a market for them when they get bigger.  at the very least, i want to grow these trees a bit bigger before they get planted around the neighborhood.

so in keeping with that, this past weekend i transplanted over a hundred hazelnut trees to a new location where they can grow big and strong over the next few years.  after about a year of growth they are looking pretty good, between 6 and 12 inches tall.  the first task is getting the bucket that i’d sunk down in the soil out of ground.  the hazels didn’t really want to come out as their deep tap roots had grown the depth of the bucket and though the wire mesh i had put on the bottom to keep critters out.  that made removing them difficult, but aslo made me happy they had grown such robust root systems.  next step was getting the plants out of the bucket.  i thought of digging them one at a time out, but decided it would be much easier to get the whole mess of trees out and then divide them.  this was accomplished with water.i saturated the trees, making them in better shape for transplanting, but also making it so i could easily slip the root ball out of the bucket. with the roots now exposed, i worked pretty quickly to divide the roots.  as they are long and tangled, i had to work carefully to try to disturb them as little as possible, and wrapped them in wet burlap as i went. then time for the transplanting.  the soil in our garden is among the worst i’ve ever worked, terrible texture, low organic matter, full of clay, rocks and debris, compacted and heavy.  but its ours and i’m thankful, and seeing as stubborn as s and i can be, we manage to grow a good amount of food out of it.  trying to dig holes deep enough to accommodate the hazelnuts deep root structure was a challenge, taking me over 3 hours to transplant all them.  the holes were dug deep, the roots carefully placed, a shovel full of compost in each hole, and soil packed around them with care.  this was repeated over a hundred times.  watering in is one of the most crucial aspects of any transplanting operation, and one that often goes overlooked or at least under appreciated.  i really soak the plants, watering the beds several times over.  it looks like a muddy mess, but it means the plants have enough water, and that the soil will have settled well around the roots, getting rid of any air pockets which would dry out the roots.  i proudly surveyed my hazelnut trees before putting some loosely fitting row cover on them.  the hazels are plenty used to cold weather, i was not trying to protect them from that, but the wind was picking up, and considering how stressful transplanting is, i didn’t want them loosing any more water than needed, and it was very windy.

after a couple of days the row cover was removed, and they all looked like they had made it though the transplanting very well.  in another year or two they should be much larger, easier to transplant into gardens where otherwise their small size might make them vulnerable to trampling.


paw paw caretakers needed!

remember the paw paw seedlings?  no?  learn more here.  they are ready to find a new home, and i’m looking for places for them to live.  but i’m not looking to sell them, i’m looking to find folks that will care for them.

the deal is – i want paw paws growing in detroit that all have access to, so i’m trying to find folks that will plant them in public spaces and agreeing to take care of them and tell me where they are so i can check on them from time to time as they grow and eventually collect more seeds from.

idea locations would be shady spots on flood plans – I’m thinking river rouge park, eliza howell park, and belle isle.  maple dominated forests all the better! a pair of trees needs to be planted at each site to insure better pollination.   you would need to keep the little guys weed free and watered for the first year, and then they should be fine on their own.  really not that much work.

if you want a couple of paw paw’s for yr yard and agree to be care taker for some wild paw paw’s i’m fine by that, i just want to make sure most of them go to places that everyone has access.  shoot me an email to work out the details dirtysabot at gmail dot com.

5 star orchard

our last full day in maine we decided to go for a drive with no real destination, but my aunt had told us the drive toward brooklin was especially nice, so we headed in that direction.  driving along the road and seeing a sign that says organic peaches is enough to make me halt my car, and so we popped down the road leading to 5 star orchard.

they had a little stand in front of the house and we purchased a quart of peaches for a pretty pricey seven dollars.  quite a bit more than i think you could get in michigan, but who else is selling organic peaches in maine.  plus i know my mother would love the peaches, and i like supporting the local farmers.  we asked if we could see the orchards, and were instructed on how to get down to the trees.

i’m glad we did.  once we got down to the orchard we met one of the farmer tim. he was nice and friendly, but didn’t have time to sit and chat, but made it clear that he was open for any questions, but that he needed to pick peaches.

the standard trees were loaded with fruit, so heavy that sticks were used to prop up the branches and keep them from breaking.

peach tree

and they were surprisingly bug free


i consulted with tim about his pest control measures as well as his pruning methods.  while talking it became apparent that in all likelihood he was the one that supplied many of the trees for our orchard at work as he grows lots of the stock for fedco trees.  it was exciting to see where all the trees were from.  and i took a picture of some of his nursery stock, thinking how much fun it would be to come back and do some grafting and pruning with him and his parter.


i’m so glad that a random sign for organic peaches would lead me to the path of the origin of the trees in the community orchard.  in addition to the peaches, they have a variety of other fruits and a community cider house where they press their own apples as well as those of others in the community.