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From your experience, what's the best fertilizer to use for apple, pear and plum trees? Thanks
 

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Take a soil test and it will spell out just what you need. There's no need buying something that the soil doesn't need. Contact your local ag extension agent and he can tell you everything you need to know. Might need to adjust the ph up or down, more or less nitrogen, more or less phosphate, more or less potash.

I just throw out some 19-19-19 or 6-12-12 around my trees (only got 5) when I am planting in the garden but then the soil around here is pretty poor, red clay.
 

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These are bare root trees, so 15-30-15 will work fine. Phosphate is important for root development. (according to google):grin:
 

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Definately always get a soil test done. Manage calcium levels, try to do separate from pH. Calcium is the 'trucker' of minerals. Esp in clays. Also trees create the soil the soil they lie to live in by dropping leaves and wood. What they are telling us is they want fungally based soils, not bacterial. This translates to woody mulch and not pasture. In my sedimentary clay, high Fe and Al, the apples I've planted in the soil with drip fertilization are okay... the ones with no fert and deep mulch are thriving. Things that have wood, cellulose, or lignin, want woody mulch. Things that are green and floppier want composts ( most composts are 'hot' and quick- turned over many times. A cold compost favours fungal development over a period of 12 months or more, as do deep woody mulches.) .Mycorrhiza rocks trees.
 

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I just use fruit tree spikes the first couple of years and after that there is so much calcium in my soil I don't have to add anything.
 

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We have over 40 fruit trees and the best all around fertilizer for trees, grass, and garden is Medina Grow-n-Green organic fertilizer. Its made with pasturized chicken manure.
 

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We have over 40 fruit trees and the best all around fertilizer for trees, grass, and garden is Medina Grow-n-Green organic fertilizer. Its made with pasturized chicken manure.
I like to make my compost heaps on the base of a different fruit tree every six months or so, and also have a bin where I compost down the hot manure from chook house along with the straw ( carbon) and biochar i throw under perches to use in spring for my veg,and whilst it cooks down in the meantime all water- leached nitrogen and potassium goes to the tree it's under. And it's taken me long enough, I've finally designed a flexible,easy to use, move and adapt, fox proof, chicken tractor for uneven ground ( aka my orchard). For this my trees will thank me greatly. yay
 

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It can take years to sort out soils, while you do this, and also whilst mulching like crazy ( hardwood chips/ shreded mixed best), you can foliar feed the first few years to help trees along. Do not mix calcium in the spray tank with other minerals, and if you can get fulvic acid you can chelate most minerals with it. If you're a reader or nutrtional & biological grower check out Michael Phlips book(s) The Holistic Orchard (isbn 9781933392134) and The Apple grower (organic) (9781931498913
 

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I like to make my compost heaps on the base of a different fruit tree every six months or so, and also have a bin where I compost down the hot manure from chook house along with the straw ( carbon) and biochar i throw under perches to use in spring for my veg,and whilst it cooks down in the meantime all water- leached nitrogen and potassium goes to the tree it's under. And it's taken me long enough, I've finally designed a flexible,easy to use, move and adapt, fox proof, chicken tractor for uneven ground ( aka my orchard). For this my trees will thank me greatly. yay
I don't use a chicken tractor but I have considered it. can you post a picture?
 

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I don't use a chicken tractor but I have considered it. can you post a picture?
have not made yet, will upload when I do, It's just a little work and a bit expensive but one done it's done. It means i can move by myself ( bit by bit), put all the rest (drinkers etc) in wheelbarrow and move in as few moves as possible. It's designed for orchard, uneven ground with trees and bushes, not flat, open grassed areas although can be used there also. I've designed mine pretty small so that I can move it by myself without too much trouble, so they will need very frequent rotation which is great because grass is out competing dwarf root stock grafted trees- i am to bare for mulching etc ( it's a big paddock for one person and a fork because I don't use chemicals)






but design is basically has 8 sides, with each side made of weldmesh. Sides joined with carabiners. (can pick up pretty cheap on ebay) The squares of the weldmesh grid that the carbiners go through, cut out the horizontals to make openings about 2-3 " high. Allows for up/ down movement on uneven ground. Also use weldmesh to make skirts, for each side, these are 'hinged on' with heavy duty wire or cable ties. They can stick out 50cm (20") and they have also cable tiled "hinged" triangles to make up corners. They are then carabiner-ed together. That constitutes the walls and the skirt. I think the skirt being 'one piece' will make it awkward for foxes to nose up and can be pegged down also, and will be highly electrified.

The walls are rigid so can hang drinker/ feeders and electric fence on. I will put heavy shadecloth on each side. Will make a very small house for 3 chooks, made with freezer panels, automatic chook door, wheels, fence can interface up and attach to the house. The only physiological need not met is dustbathing- all that rain means no dry soil, I'm sure you know what I mean. Have a small plastic dog kennel I'll put in orchard (which is fenced and dog but not fox proof) and they can freelance for a couple of hours at end of the day once or twice a week and dustbath then. The roof I haven't figured out. They need aerial protection (visual camouflaging) from hawks etc. The walls will hopefully keep out climbing foxes, and we don’t want them to fly out. So if they're high enough- I'm thinking 4 feet (120cm) and then a few strips of shadecloth to criss cross across, can peg at appropriate length. Will provide visual camouflaging, too confusing for chooks to fly out, and hopefully foxes won’t get past walls. More about visual camouflaging than physical barrier. Yes it’s a just a bit shoddy and if you have any better ideas I’m all ears.

If you don't need the flexibility just make square box, frame out of wood/ box aluminium and rivet all, chook wire our weldmesh sides, same drop down and pin to sides to move can scratch on bottom. Can also do a solid floor ( weld mesh or concreters reo). I've only got a 5000m (1.5 acre) block, if you had big property I'd go for bigger size. If you can get freezer panels, they are good and lightweight, not conducive to mites in woodwork etc. If you're towing it with vehicle weight less of an issue, attached initial knock up 'chook tractor".
 

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have not made yet, will upload when I do, It's just a little work and a bit expensive but one done it's done. It means i can move by myself ( bit by bit), put all the rest (drinkers etc) in wheelbarrow and move in as few moves as possible. It's designed for orchard, uneven ground with trees and bushes, not flat, open grassed areas although can be used there also. I've designed mine pretty small so that I can move it by myself without too much trouble, so they will need very frequent rotation which is great because grass is out competing dwarf root stock grafted trees- i am to bare for mulching etc ( it's a big paddock for one person and a fork because I don't use chemicals)






but design is basically has 8 sides, with each side made of weldmesh. Sides joined with carabiners. (can pick up pretty cheap on ebay) The squares of the weldmesh grid that the carbiners go through, cut out the horizontals to make openings about 2-3 " high. Allows for up/ down movement on uneven ground. Also use weldmesh to make skirts, for each side, these are 'hinged on' with heavy duty wire or cable ties. They can stick out 50cm (20") and they have also cable tiled "hinged" triangles to make up corners. They are then carabiner-ed together. That constitutes the walls and the skirt. I think the skirt being 'one piece' will make it awkward for foxes to nose up and can be pegged down also, and will be highly electrified.

The walls are rigid so can hang drinker/ feeders and electric fence on. I will put heavy shadecloth on each side. Will make a very small house for 3 chooks, made with freezer panels, automatic chook door, wheels, fence can interface up and attach to the house. The only physiological need not met is dustbathing- all that rain means no dry soil, I'm sure you know what I mean. Have a small plastic dog kennel I'll put in orchard (which is fenced and dog but not fox proof) and they can freelance for a couple of hours at end of the day once or twice a week and dustbath then. The roof I haven't figured out. They need aerial protection (visual camouflaging) from hawks etc. The walls will hopefully keep out climbing foxes, and we don’t want them to fly out. So if they're high enough- I'm thinking 4 feet (120cm) and then a few strips of shadecloth to criss cross across, can peg at appropriate length. Will provide visual camouflaging, too confusing for chooks to fly out, and hopefully foxes won’t get past walls. More about visual camouflaging than physical barrier. Yes it’s a just a bit shoddy and if you have any better ideas I’m all ears.

If you don't need the flexibility just make square box, frame out of wood/ box aluminium and rivet all, chook wire our weldmesh sides, same drop down and pin to sides to move can scratch on bottom. Can also do a solid floor ( weld mesh or concreters reo). I've only got a 5000m (1.5 acre) block, if you had big property I'd go for bigger size. If you can get freezer panels, they are good and lightweight, not conducive to mites in woodwork etc. If you're towing it with vehicle weight less of an issue, attached initial knock up 'chook tractor".
I am not really needing a tractor until I decide to move, I've been here 20 years. I would like a secure tractor to stick in the garden during the daytime, but I can put the birds up at night, they'd mainly be eating grasshoppers. I do have hawks, I've had them basically in a playpen before but the roof situation caused me to just give up on that

. I have 12 birds, 6 on each lot, they have coops. Back yard is secure run, open coop, Lot coop is capable of being secured up thru large possum but the privacy fence keeps coyotes out and I don't have foxes or raccoons here. You might take a look at Backyard chickens .com, when I was building my first coop I had no idea how much space I needed etc and I found their plans very helpful
 

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I am not really needing a tractor until I decide to move, I've been here 20 years. I would like a secure tractor to stick in the garden during the daytime, but I can put the birds up at night, they'd mainly be eating grasshoppers. I do have hawks, I've had them basically in a playpen before but the roof situation caused me to just give up on that

. I have 12 birds, 6 on each lot, they have coops. Back yard is secure run, open coop, Lot coop is capable of being secured up thru large possum but the privacy fence keeps coyotes out and I don't have foxes or raccoons here. You might take a look at Backyard chickens .com, when I was building my first coop I had no idea how much space I needed etc and I found their plans very helpful
Sounds like a good operation, job well done. If only in garden in daytime, you can buy portable electric fences with a small energiser and they are very versatile. Leave in yard till everyone's laid, then put into electric fenced area in afternoon. Or just make a big box, weldmesh sides and top, with 4" grid concretors reo on the bottom. Put shadecloth on top. Chooks do better in cool than hot, and shadecloth disguises them from aerial predators. (they can't get to them but gives chooks peace of mind- same reason i put shadecloth on sides. Connect 6 sides of weldmesh together with wire or stainless cable ties, cut small chook door out and put edging on it (hose or can buy edging) so chooks don't cut them selves, hinge on and close with wire. Can keep costs down by only making 3 foot tall. 6 birds would need moving daily in a tractor 3 x 4 metres. If you don't want ground bared then move twice in a day or make bigger/ modular. You could be crafty and make it collapsible- go plastic cable ties- so you can flat pack up against shed etc in winter. Put cantilevered wheels on it and that's the most engineered part. The rest you can make with an angle grinder, pliers, roll of good wire, knife and some hose and about 4 hours.

The dodgy 8 sided on for the orchard is just until we get the whole space enclosed (predator proof) with 4m high walls and chookwire ceiling- quite a mission. Eventually they will live in there permanently with a proper house. Yes, I know backyard chickens. I've been keeping chooks a long time. Because of uneven ground, and small distances between (dwarf) trees and bushes, I cannot put a regular chook tractor, with a safely accessible house, that meets all physiological needs.

The other thing in my permanent yard they get great value out of is a wicking bed- 20cm water reservoir, 30 cm soil, 10 cm growing space, with weldmesh on top- eg lucerne in it grows for 10 cm before it grows through mesh ceiling where chooks can peck at it , so it has enough vigour to reshoot and enough roots not to be yanked up. Chooks walk on the mesh and fertilise, it's a self maintaining system. They don't spend much time in their secure yard but the wicking bed always pecked down to mesh level. enough about chooks it's a bee forum;)
 

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It is a bee forum but it's a really slow one. I've tried to speed it up in the past. We have a lot of good info in the files, but when the site was sold most of the old users left.
 

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It is a bee forum but it's a really slow one. I've tried to speed it up in the past. We have a lot of good info in the files, but when the site was sold most of the old users left.
Looks like there are a lot of users now. Colony collapse and varroa etc has definitely changed the dynamics in beekeeping- across at least across Europe, US, Aus, NZ and UK. Although the exponential rise of hobby beekeepers add little to the economy or larger beekeeping industry, I think that the higher disposable income and time etc per hive sees more 'loved' or 'pampered' hives. Down here, with our mild winters, most of the time we have wild matings and will raise our own queens. The upshot is greater genetic diversity, something that will serve us well, I suspect in the future challenges of anthrocopene age and global connectedness (pests). I also suspect, in my relatively uneducated ignorance, that despite the wonderful efforts of clever people breeding for a) gentle bees and b) hygienic bees) that directed breeding is potentially and inadvertently narrowing gene pool. We know a lot about genes but we're still learning a lot. (context-I am studying phylogenetics and microbiology). So the hobby beekeeper may make a significant contribution to the future viability of bees. Down here in Australia where we keep having varroa scares but it hasn't got a foothold yet (that we know..........)
 

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Looks like there are a lot of users now. Colony collapse and varroa etc has definitely changed the dynamics in beekeeping- across at least across Europe, US, Aus, NZ and UK. Although the exponential rise of hobby beekeepers add little to the economy or larger beekeeping industry, I think that the higher disposable income and time etc per hive sees more 'loved' or 'pampered' hives. Down here, with our mild winters, most of the time we have wild matings and will raise our own queens. The upshot is greater genetic diversity, something that will serve us well, I suspect in the future challenges of anthrocopene age and global connectedness (pests). I also suspect, in my relatively uneducated ignorance, that despite the wonderful efforts of clever people breeding for a) gentle bees and b) hygienic bees) that directed breeding is potentially and inadvertently narrowing gene pool. We know a lot about genes but we're still learning a lot. (context-I am studying phylogenetics and microbiology). So the hobby beekeeper may make a significant contribution to the future viability of bees. Down here in Australia where we keep having varroa scares but it hasn't got a foothold yet (that we know..........)

Re chook yard:
I've come to my senses about the mobile cook yard. The challenge still remains, small, irregular spaces between dwarf trees, whilst being able to access every nook and corner. Dwarf rootstocks, I may have mentioned previously, have little vigour- the grass here out competes them. If I can lose the grass I can plant green manures ( grass smothered fava beans, vetch, etc, but comphrey is doing okay) and other species for benficial insects, nitrogen fixing, organic matter and humus accretion, soil health strucutre and biology and I can put down woody mulch which tress will love for their funaglly dominated soil. So far grass has smothered or out competed everything ( inc heavy, thick, dense woody mulch and 20 layers newspaper). Bloody pasture and degraded farmland. I don't use chemicals , obviously. So the chooks are a great solution, I just don't have tome to fork up every square inch of ground. Being so intensive, they will fertilsie the soil quite well too as well as pest control.

So next conception is instaed of one bigger yard (problematic) I have a few smaller yards, connected. One big rigid yard can be fox proof but not very helpful in this space, or one flexible yard which I cannot make fox proof. Hence the conception is as follows. I will make two or three weldmesh "cubes' , one quite small and one larger with rigid sides, roof, and the fold up skirts as previous. They are securely connected to their house, and to each other with these tunnels, which have flexible joints in them. So can fit the small cubes into small spaces but overall space is still good. Keeping roof low, just above chook height, saves cost on materials and being reasonable small they will be quick and able to moved by one person ( me). Two or three 'cube pens' is the difference betwwen moving every 1-2 days or twice a day. For the tunnel: we have a few milk crates lying around- milk crates are heavy duty plastic webbed cubes, a bit more than a foot all sides, assuming they are same in US? Cut out one side of the milkcrate to make a through tunnel. The milkcrates are wrapped tightly around with chook wire, not over the two open ends, for predator peace of mind. The milk crate sections are then joined with shorter weldmesh wall, roof and floor sections, with strong wire to make loose hinges, so the tunnel is made of jointed sections. Forms a inepentrable long flexible tunnel which is securely attached at each cube and to house entrance. I'll roll it around the old cerebral tumbler for a while and wait for other people to tell me it's terrible but at this point it looks relatively quick to move, I won't need the electric fence set up, is versatile and and only a little work to put together. Can put rain proof roof on it, fox and hawk proof, and being modular is quite versatile. phew
 

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the best fertilizer I use all around my place upstate for food plots, garden and I plant a tone of fruit, nut and berry trees is good old composted cow sh-t...A friend of mine raises beef cows and each year he cleans the winter area out with truckloads of fresh CS, I let it sit a year 2 is better and I turn it with a backhoe..if you dont let it sit it is as they say " too hot" to use around plants..it adds both organic material to the soil and lasts the longest...I can noticeably see the difference in trees I planted at the same time that didnt get the CS from the ones that did, when I plant the trees I use the composted CS to fill the hole in and existing trees ill put a pile on either side of the trunk, but you dont want to cover too thick and all the way around as the roots take in oxygen from the surface and if you cover solid too much you can harm the tree...every other year is plenty to add some more as it get worked into the soil..
 
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