With the arrival day of the fruit ‘sticks’ (baby trees in other words) getting ever closer I started to dig the holes for them today, with the idea that ‘little and often’ will stave off the back ache. So 8 holes later and all’s well – over 10% of the holes done (we need 76 holes in total). We’re digging them 3 feet across, using a 36″ adult hulahoop as a template (we chose blue, but any colour will do), then 1 foot deep, with a 4 foot stake hammered another foot in and slightly off centre. We can then backfill the holes once the bare root tree is planted, and we have to keep a 3′ diameter circle around the tree free of weeds and grass for 4-5 years, after which we can let the grass grow up to the trunk and remove the suportive 4′ x 1″ stakes. This is only for the MM106 rootstock and similar trees – the cherry trees on the smaller, weaker Gisela 5 rootstock will need to have the ground kept clear permanently, and a 2.5″ stake in place for the duration of their life.
Here’s hoping we get plenty of sunny days conducive to digging holes – the frost is setting in overnights now, good news for the parsnips and jerusalem artichokes though!