First Year Care
Weeds, grasses and cover crops all compete with trees for available food and water and should be vigorously discouraged in the area within about three feet of the tree trunk. This is especially important during the first few years of growth.
At planting, there are several choices you can make regarding the fertilizer to be used. It is important to only apply fertilizer on top of the soil and not below ground with the tree roots. If fertilizer becomes in direct contact with tree roots, it can cause a salt burn.
|Triple super phosphate
|Single super phosphate
|Fine phosphate rock materials
|Well-composted poultry manure
After trees have made six to eight inches of new growth, one or two applications of one of the following may be used:
This amount should be placed six inches out from trunk and watered in immediately and thoroughly.
Do not spray young trees for pests that attack the crop until after they start bearing fruit.
Young fruit trees are especially liable to severe damage from gophers, rabbits, voles (mice) and deer.
Pocket gophers eat roots, bulbs and entire young plants. Eradication by trapping is the most efficient method. Two types of traps are commonly used: box traps and Macabee traps. Poison baits are effective, but can cause harm to dogs and cats if eaten.
Moles are only present in good soils as they are primarily insect eaters (especially earthworms and larvae). A spear or harpoon trap is usually used for control.
Ground squirrels (Gray Diggers) gnaw roots and bark and will climb trees for fruits and nuts. Controls are baited box-type traps placed near burrows, anticoagulant poison-bait placed inside burrows, and gas bombs placed in the burrow. Metal guards around tree trunks will prevent them from climbing up into trees.
The only sure solution to bird depredation is to use screening or netting material. This must be tied about the tree trunk to be effective in keeping the birds out. The use of owl statues, flexible snakes and cat statues will only be effective in gardens if they are repositioned every few days.
They will spend more time looking for food in gardens as wild plants dry out, and will eat foliage and fruit of nearly anything that grows. The only fool-proof protection against their depredation is fencing. On level ground a seven foot woven-wire fence will usually suffice. An “outrigger” extension on top makes it harder to jump. Individual wire cages around plants and cylinders of wire around trees may be effective also. Repellents can work if renewed frequently, especially after each rain, watering or several days of exposure.
First year trees will need to be watered about every two weeks during warm weather. Always make sure that the soil throughout the root zone is thoroughly saturated each time. Irrigation may be by:
- Permanent under tree sprinklers
- Portable sprinklers
- Drip system
- Flood irrigation – if the ground is nearly level
- Basins – if the base of the tree trunk is not covered by water and basins are removed in the winter.