Author Topic: How to plant 100's fruit trees in Escondido, CA?  (Read 4929 times)

Ken Bee

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Re: How to plant 100's fruit trees in Escondido, CA?
« Reply #25 on: July 21, 2021, 01:46:35 AM »
Congrats! What an exciting endeavour.

I just got 12 acres of an old Avocado orchard in Santa Cruz County and have more or less gone through this before.  Thankfully though, I had a well, tanks, and distribution lines all put in by the previous owner (truly the luckiest most amazing hook up ever). 

I spent lots of time clearing for a deer fence immediately because we have really high deer pressure.  If you have the capacity, it might be worth it to build your deer fence with friends or someone you can rope into doing it with you for a couple of weeks.  1/2 mile of deer fence was about 50k to have someone install (ouch).

I planted out a bunch of trees in fall last year because I was too stoked to wait, and really, I should have waited till I had irrigation in already.  It's pretty to hard to try and keep up with drying out plants in the ground.  I would say that getting irrigation figured out is probably #1 priority.

Thanks for the tip on getting the irrigation line ready before planting.  I will definitely keep that in mind.  I probably don't need a deer fence, just need to keep people out.

Ken

Ken Bee

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Re: How to plant 100's fruit trees in Escondido, CA?
« Reply #26 on: July 21, 2021, 01:51:47 AM »
Hey Ken, aside from all the great things everyone already mentioned, think about fire safety. I know itís probably low priority right now but fires in the foothills can be devastating. Clearing the land around your house and an evacuation route is critical.

Fruit trees donít like their roots in containers for prolonged periods of time. Once you get your drip lines and everything else set, get your trees into the ground ASAP and if they donít grow well for you, donít waste time trying to get them to recover. Just start out with fresh plants.

Ideally your plants will provide you with a source of income and right now, Yangmei is the new up and coming fruit.

Watch this video for some inspiration

 https://youtu.be/QyqQagZM_6Y

Simon

Good tip on the fire safety.  I need to clear a fire lane/road on a short section of the property next to neighbor's.  Most of the fallow land are mowed.  Doing the weeding in lemon groves now.  Will get to the cut flowers afterward.

I got 8 trees from the Yangmei group buy, 2 of each varieties.  Only 3 survived, 2 Biqi and 1 An Hai.  I will post pictures on the yangmei thread soon.

Ken

Ken Bee

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Re: How to plant 100's fruit trees in Escondido, CA?
« Reply #27 on: July 21, 2021, 01:54:08 AM »
Steeper sections will erode faster, and gophers will be a never-ending battle. Make good cages for the trees out of 1/2" galvanized hardware cloth, and consider several dozen Gophinator traps. Don't make plans for the days following rains except for trapping gophers. You're in a beautiful location!

The property was a gopher/ground squirrel haven for many years.  I will need to spend lots of effort controlling them for sure. 

Ken 

Ken Bee

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Re: How to plant 100's fruit trees in Escondido, CA?
« Reply #28 on: July 21, 2021, 01:58:14 AM »
Winter/fall/spring time is the time to plant in San Diego county. Otherwise you will have to make sure your trees are irrigated nicely during the summer.

I would get animal like a cat or dog to start hunting gophers or even the gopher repellant frequency generators. Sometimes in extreme cases chicken wire fencing needs to be placed underneath roots/garden beds.

As far as drought goes, escondido is nearby the greatest spring mountain water in all of southern california, Mt. Palomar. Water will be your limiting factor, as I believe in escondido, you have to buy all your water (could be wrong, but I believe most properties in SD county are like this) Temecula has an advantage because its in riverside county and allows for wells

Not sure how many trees or what you intend on planting but if your property is hilly you will have very diff temps at diff elevations. The cold sinks into the valleys at night, which is why the avocados are planted on the hill sides and the tops of the hills stay warmer.

The heat can be brutal to trees and burn fruit. Depending on how big your trees are I would recommend building an understory with fast growing trees like Inga, Etc.

Do the property in phases. 60 acres is a lot. start with a small area

Enjoy and good luck

Most rural properties in san diego have wells.  Are your wells all up and running Ken?  You have a water tank or does the water come straight out of the ground into the irrigation lines? 

Personally I would put in a swimming pool first.  And then get a deer fence up if deer are around.  Then just get the main water line in and put drip tubing down in rows and go for it. 

This is a tool you will need, just order one its the best shovel over.
https://www.lewiscontractorsales.com/corona-max-all-steel-spade-15-diamond-blade.html?gclid=Cj0KCQjwxdSHBhCdARIsAG6zhlWWBC581rGW8FTMOelOlObXmhVtPmI8qa0nPqM4AwFvxFPK5w5bwPQaAm76EALw_wcB

Still don't have water storage tanks...will put some in eventually.  As far as I know, there are no deer on the property.  Thanks for the shovel recommendation.  I will get one.

Ken

Water tank isnt really necessay if you have a big well pump that can flow enough on demand.  Dont spend money on it unless you end up needing it. 

Same for the deer, dont make a fence unless you have to but I would be really surprised if theres no deer.  A trail cam or 2 might be useful.  I use them occasionally to see whats going on at night.  Theres a lot of wildlife around and it helps to know which ones are doing what damage at night.  Can make trapping them a lot easier.

You could plant a couple trees now as sacraficial lambs and see if they survive without being eaten.  Loquat trees will have no issues being planted now.

Trail cam is a good idea to see what's going on.  Loquat trees are tough and I have plenty.  I think they are a good candidate for a testing plot.

Ken

Ken Bee

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Re: How to plant 100's fruit trees in Escondido, CA?
« Reply #29 on: July 21, 2021, 02:12:40 AM »
Hereís a link to post on gopher repellent/resistant plants:

https://tastylandscape.com/2013/08/28/gopher-resistant-plants-truth-and-lies/

We sowed seeds of sweet clover (Melilotus indicus) at the base of each tree we planted.  If it doesnít work in repelling gophers, at least itís nitrogen fixing and provides a great living mulch.  The rabbits havenít eaten it either.  We will also be putting up hawk perch poles and a couple of owl boxes, as well as encouraging gopher snakes.  I know Iíve spent a lot of time discussing gophers, but the trees I thought would be safe from them and didnít plant in baskets got munched. 

I have a lot of plants in pots as well.  Instead of picking ideal spots for each tree, we created swales on contour and planted everything about 12 feet apart, with trees needing cross pollination together.  I figure this will get the trees growing and preserve the genetics to graft and propagate later.  We still have plants in pots that Iím going to wait till after summer to get in the ground.  In the meantime, I am pruning them to slow their growth and getting them all on drip irrigation.

Itay,
Elevation of our property is about 700 feet, climate is great for growing.  If we had regular rainfall, I think most plants would thrive.

Janet

Thanks for the link.  I wonder if cherimoya is gopher resistant.  I have too many plants to do gopher baskets for every one of them.  so, will have to be selective.

Thinking about using an auger attached to a tractor for digging planting holes.  I will try out cover crops in the winter to see if they work well.  We already have a resident hawk family on our avocado grove.  They don't seem to be making impacts on the animal population though.

Ken

Ken Bee

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Re: How to plant 100's fruit trees in Escondido, CA?
« Reply #30 on: July 21, 2021, 02:18:30 AM »
Forget gopher baskets and gopher tolerant plants, get some traps and murder them dead wholesale.  Its not that hard once they are gone to keep it that way.  I probably killed 20 or so this year and it really isnt that hard to do.  Once you get practiced with the traps its almost a fun to see how easily you can catch them. 

If anyone is interested in a video of how to do it Im happy to make one next time theres one here.  I find the large mole size trapline traps work better than their gophenator trap size.  Its slightly smaller and slips into the tunnels easier.

I need to control vertebrate pests quickly.  Thinking about using all available methods, CO fumigation, traps, guns, snakes, cats, dogs, owls, hawks...etc.   Yes, please make a video on trapping them.  I am sure lots of people are interested in watching it.

Ken

nattyfroootz

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Re: How to plant 100's fruit trees in Escondido, CA?
« Reply #31 on: July 21, 2021, 09:31:57 AM »
I have some pretty insane gopher pressure at my property. Previous owner said he caught 30+ in his tomato patch in one season. 
I've decided that this year I'm going to be doing no trapping.  I have planted all my trees in gopher baskets and have my garden out of gopher baskets.  I have lost about 3 tomatoes, a few potatoes, and about 20-30 pepper plants.  So far so good though, we vibing. 

Ultimately they are providing a service that I think has potential to benefit us.  We ultimately have degraded their habitat down so severeley that there is basically no natural forage for them. Native grasses are gone (roots up 20+feet deep) and have been replaced by invasive annuals with very weak and small root systems.  I think, ultimately, the real plan of management is to plant out heavily with root heavy croops to provide forage for them. 
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shaneatwell

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Re: How to plant 100's fruit trees in Escondido, CA?
« Reply #32 on: July 21, 2021, 10:36:20 AM »
Ultimately they are providing a service that I think has potential to benefit us.  We ultimately have degraded their habitat down so severeley that there is basically no natural forage for them. Native grasses are gone (roots up 20+feet deep) and have been replaced by invasive annuals with very weak and small root systems.  I think, ultimately, the real plan of management is to plant out heavily with root heavy croops to provide forage for them.

You can take all the stinking gourd from my place you want!
Shane

Mugenia

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Re: How to plant 100's fruit trees in Escondido, CA?
« Reply #33 on: July 21, 2021, 11:21:41 AM »
Ken,

That's awesome! We used to farm for a living. We had multiple wells and 6 5000 gallon storage tanks with 10 100 gallon pressurized tanks and two massive pumps to move water throughout the farm. Don't go cheap on wells and equipment especially with 60 acres of land. Good luck. 

spaugh

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Re: How to plant 100's fruit trees in Escondido, CA?
« Reply #34 on: July 21, 2021, 12:03:44 PM »
The idea that we have degraded the native habitat for gophers and thats why they eat crops sounds innacurate to me.  My property is surrounded by thousands of acres of pristine wilderness preseve on one side and a developed town on the other side.  Hiking through the wilderness area theres very little gopher activity.  You see the mounds but its just not very much.  Then you go into town and theres hundreds of them in the park thats being irrigated and in yards and everywhere.  Even my own lot, half of it is untouched and the other half I grow things on.  Of course they are attracted to the side full of tender green tasties being irrigated. 

For the first few years here I never cared about gophers.  I would tell people they dont hurt anything, and I let them be.  At the same time I was planting more trees and laying more irrigation lines down and building up the orchard.  After about 3 years the trees started growing nicely and things were starting to look good and of course gopher damage started happening.  Trees would get damaged and die or get severly stunted.  Theres even a few trees here still stunted from being damaged by gophers 3 years ago.  So I started using gopher baskets, weaving them out of half inch chicken wire and planting trees into those.  It helped to prevent trees from being killed but the same thing happened, trees would still get damaged and stunted because the gopher will just eat everything thats outside the cage.  So finally, after meeting up with Simon and hearing it from him and my 70 year old neighbor, I needed to start trapping and killing them or the damage would continue. 

So I got macabee traps and learned to trap them.  It wasnt very successful at first but after a year or so of practicing and then switching to smaller traps, my success rate went way up and that year I killed around 50 gophers and cleared my 2 acre growing area.  The next door neighbor has a lawn and it was full of gophers so I helped him clear those out too.  Now we still get gophers fairly often but its 1 or 2 at a time and they are easy to spot.  When you clear out a gopher, you need to kick over their mounds so theres no old mounds around.  That will help you know if its new activity or old activity.  Whenever I see new mounds, its like a routine, go get the trapline traps, find the tunnel, dig a hole and open both sides of the tunnel up with a hori hori knife and insert the traps.  Stick a weed in there and cover the entrance with a rock and dirt to block the light.  I always get them now before they have a chance to damage anything.  No more dead or stunted trees.  And the numbers are low enough its obvious if theres a new gopher in the area.  And its easily maintained at or near zero gophers.  Ive got around 4 acres now totally cleared of them and have not had any damaged or dead plants in years.  The benefits of doing this for me far outweigh any kind of benefit they may provide.  I have doubts thst they provide much of any benefits to be honest.  That sounds like wishful thinking.  And planting extra food for them to eat hoping they will leave alone the other things sounds like a recipe for mass breeding and amplification of the problem.

Not to pee pee on the parade, Im just being honest because when things get posted on the internet then they get repeated.  So Im throwing out my opinion on this and people can get a variety of opions and decide what to believe and how to procede with these pests.
Brad Spaugh

pinkturtle

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Re: How to plant 100's fruit trees in Escondido, CA?
« Reply #35 on: July 21, 2021, 12:17:38 PM »
Hi Brad,

I am interested the video how to setup the gopher trap. Looking forward to it.

Thanks,
Al

spaugh

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Re: How to plant 100's fruit trees in Escondido, CA?
« Reply #36 on: July 21, 2021, 12:21:02 PM »
I will do a video next time I have a gopher.  Fortunately there are none at the moment.  Maybe Ill ask the neighbors if thry have any. 
Brad Spaugh

Ken Bee

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Re: How to plant 100's fruit trees in Escondido, CA?
« Reply #37 on: July 21, 2021, 01:37:40 PM »
I will do a video next time I have a gopher.  Fortunately there are none at the moment.  Maybe Ill ask the neighbors if thry have any.

Do the videos on my property.  You will have plenty of footages.  50 gophers per 2 acres...60+ acres = 1,500+ gophers  :o  I estimated I have 600+ ground squirrels and 400+ rabbits.  My head spins...

Ken

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Re: How to plant 100's fruit trees in Escondido, CA?
« Reply #38 on: July 21, 2021, 02:01:46 PM »
I'd be surprised if your numbers are quite that high, gophers don't like each other. I only have two at a time on my half acre unless they are breeding.

It helps to collapse any tunnels you find, too. Not only is it a highway for future gophers, it can route your irrigation away from trees.
- Val

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Re: How to plant 100's fruit trees in Escondido, CA?
« Reply #39 on: July 21, 2021, 02:06:14 PM »
I will do a video next time I have a gopher.  Fortunately there are none at the moment.  Maybe Ill ask the neighbors if thry have any.
Congrats on winning that war!
John

Ken Bee

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Re: How to plant 100's fruit trees in Escondido, CA?
« Reply #40 on: July 21, 2021, 02:35:43 PM »
Ken,

That's awesome! We used to farm for a living. We had multiple wells and 6 5000 gallon storage tanks with 10 100 gallon pressurized tanks and two massive pumps to move water throughout the farm. Don't go cheap on wells and equipment especially with 60 acres of land. Good luck.

Thanks.  Irrigation is definitely not something to go cheap on.

Ken Bee

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Re: How to plant 100's fruit trees in Escondido, CA?
« Reply #41 on: July 21, 2021, 02:39:10 PM »
I'd be surprised if your numbers are quite that high, gophers don't like each other. I only have two at a time on my half acre unless they are breeding.

It helps to collapse any tunnels you find, too. Not only is it a highway for future gophers, it can route your irrigation away from trees.

Hopefully it is not that high.  Good tip on collapsing tunnels.  Thanks,

Ken

Ken Bee

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Re: How to plant 100's fruit trees in Escondido, CA?
« Reply #42 on: July 21, 2021, 03:02:16 PM »
The idea that we have degraded the native habitat for gophers and thats why they eat crops sounds innacurate to me.  My property is surrounded by thousands of acres of pristine wilderness preseve on one side and a developed town on the other side.  Hiking through the wilderness area theres very little gopher activity.  You see the mounds but its just not very much.  Then you go into town and theres hundreds of them in the park thats being irrigated and in yards and everywhere.  Even my own lot, half of it is untouched and the other half I grow things on.  Of course they are attracted to the side full of tender green tasties being irrigated. 

For the first few years here I never cared about gophers.  I would tell people they dont hurt anything, and I let them be.  At the same time I was planting more trees and laying more irrigation lines down and building up the orchard.  After about 3 years the trees started growing nicely and things were starting to look good and of course gopher damage started happening.  Trees would get damaged and die or get severly stunted.  Theres even a few trees here still stunted from being damaged by gophers 3 years ago.  So I started using gopher baskets, weaving them out of half inch chicken wire and planting trees into those.  It helped to prevent trees from being killed but the same thing happened, trees would still get damaged and stunted because the gopher will just eat everything thats outside the cage.  So finally, after meeting up with Simon and hearing it from him and my 70 year old neighbor, I needed to start trapping and killing them or the damage would continue. 

So I got macabee traps and learned to trap them.  It wasnt very successful at first but after a year or so of practicing and then switching to smaller traps, my success rate went way up and that year I killed around 50 gophers and cleared my 2 acre growing area.  The next door neighbor has a lawn and it was full of gophers so I helped him clear those out too.  Now we still get gophers fairly often but its 1 or 2 at a time and they are easy to spot.  When you clear out a gopher, you need to kick over their mounds so theres no old mounds around.  That will help you know if its new activity or old activity.  Whenever I see new mounds, its like a routine, go get the trapline traps, find the tunnel, dig a hole and open both sides of the tunnel up with a hori hori knife and insert the traps.  Stick a weed in there and cover the entrance with a rock and dirt to block the light.  I always get them now before they have a chance to damage anything.  No more dead or stunted trees.  And the numbers are low enough its obvious if theres a new gopher in the area.  And its easily maintained at or near zero gophers.  Ive got around 4 acres now totally cleared of them and have not had any damaged or dead plants in years.  The benefits of doing this for me far outweigh any kind of benefit they may provide.  I have doubts thst they provide much of any benefits to be honest.  That sounds like wishful thinking.  And planting extra food for them to eat hoping they will leave alone the other things sounds like a recipe for mass breeding and amplification of the problem.

Not to pee pee on the parade, Im just being honest because when things get posted on the internet then they get repeated.  So Im throwing out my opinion on this and people can get a variety of opions and decide what to believe and how to procede with these pests.

Thanks for sharing your first-hand experience dealing with gophers.  Time to load up on the trapline traps.  I wonder if I can get a volume discount on them. ::)

Ken

nattyfroootz

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Re: How to plant 100's fruit trees in Escondido, CA?
« Reply #43 on: July 21, 2021, 10:24:21 PM »
The idea that we have degraded the native habitat for gophers and thats why they eat crops sounds innacurate to me.  My property is surrounded by thousands of acres of pristine wilderness preseve on one side and a developed town on the other side.  Hiking through the wilderness area theres very little gopher activity.  You see the mounds but its just not very much.  Then you go into town and theres hundreds of them in the park thats being irrigated and in yards and everywhere.  Even my own lot, half of it is untouched and the other half I grow things on.  Of course they are attracted to the side full of tender green tasties being irrigated. 

This in itself is why I almost think theres potential in trying to revegetate highly disturbed and degraded areas.  My next door neighbor has about 12 acres of untouched native grassland and I see practically no gopher activity at all.  At the top part of my property I have native grassland and have little to no gopher activity there as well.  Yet, in my heavily degraded, terraced and grazed land (for the past 20 or 30 years) I have gopher activity almost everywhere!  I hadn't even started irrigating or planting until about a month ago!  My thoughts are that we are seeing so much disturbance from the gophers because there in fact is nothing down deep, all the roots are really shallow and poor forage for them.

Honestly though, I have only been there for a year and only have gotten roots in the ground in a big way about a month or so ago.  I mean, after reading your post I am pretty much ready to start trapping them, haha.  I just dont think that we really know enough to say that it has to be one way or the other.  Considering our instinct is often to kill the pest, there has to be other ways that are more symbiotic. 
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simon_grow

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Re: How to plant 100's fruit trees in Escondido, CA?
« Reply #44 on: July 21, 2021, 11:45:39 PM »
I just want everyone to be aware of the severe damage that gophers can do to structures like homes or buildings. Their tunnels are extensive and in nature, this may be beneficial because it can create areas for water to seep into but in todayís world, their tunnels can undermine your foundation.

Simon

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Re: How to plant 100's fruit trees in Escondido, CA?
« Reply #45 on: July 22, 2021, 12:42:52 AM »
The symbiosis is in burying the dead gopher back in the hole he came from to break down to nutrients and complete the cycle.
I donít think we can live in harmony with them in our growing zones or that any slight benefit of aeration or soil mixing is worth keeping them around. And I really do not like killing anything. Itís horrible to have to dispatch a squeaky not totally dead trapped gopher. But you know my story, Iíve had to many rare 5 + year old treeís I started from seed and grafted destroyed and eaten down to the nub by a goph.

The idea that we have degraded the native habitat for gophers and thats why they eat crops sounds innacurate to me.  My property is surrounded by thousands of acres of pristine wilderness preseve on one side and a developed town on the other side.  Hiking through the wilderness area theres very little gopher activity.  You see the mounds but its just not very much.  Then you go into town and theres hundreds of them in the park thats being irrigated and in yards and everywhere.  Even my own lot, half of it is untouched and the other half I grow things on.  Of course they are attracted to the side full of tender green tasties being irrigated. 

This in itself is why I almost think theres potential in trying to revegetate highly disturbed and degraded areas.  My next door neighbor has about 12 acres of untouched native grassland and I see practically no gopher activity at all.  At the top part of my property I have native grassland and have little to no gopher activity there as well.  Yet, in my heavily degraded, terraced and grazed land (for the past 20 or 30 years) I have gopher activity almost everywhere!  I hadn't even started irrigating or planting until about a month ago!  My thoughts are that we are seeing so much disturbance from the gophers because there in fact is nothing down deep, all the roots are really shallow and poor forage for them.

Honestly though, I have only been there for a year and only have gotten roots in the ground in a big way about a month or so ago.  I mean, after reading your post I am pretty much ready to start trapping them, haha.  I just dont think that we really know enough to say that it has to be one way or the other.  Considering our instinct is often to kill the pest, there has to be other ways that are more symbiotic.

Bush2Beach

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Re: How to plant 100's fruit trees in Escondido, CA?
« Reply #46 on: July 22, 2021, 12:45:31 AM »
Ken, gophers donít eat Cherimoya roots, they got word from the rats about parkinsons. Iíve planted alot of Cherimoya in gopher territory and never seen any signs of damage.

shaneatwell

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Re: How to plant 100's fruit trees in Escondido, CA?
« Reply #47 on: July 22, 2021, 12:03:31 PM »
Ken, gophers donít eat Cherimoya roots, they got word from the rats about parkinsons. Iíve planted alot of Cherimoya in gopher territory and never seen any signs of damage.

That's interesting. Cherimoya's are some of the few I planted without protective baskets. But I also don't have gophers, just ground squirrels.
Shane

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Re: How to plant 100's fruit trees in Escondido, CA?
« Reply #48 on: July 22, 2021, 04:17:00 PM »
Ken 60acre..that's huuge..may be sell to me a couple acres  ;).
 
We recently purchased a 60-acre farm in Escondido, CA for my hundreds of fruit trees in pots that are overdue to be put in the ground.  My thought is to build a shade house, put those fruit trees there for 2 months, get the irrigation lines in, prep the soil, get rid of ground squirrels/gophers, and put the trees in the fall or spring.  The exact details on how to do so remain unclear to me...I have no experience running a farm or planting such large numbers of trees.  Any suggestion is greatly appreciated. 

If anyone is interested in having a visit, please PM, especially if we have already met at Brad's gatherings. 

Ken 





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Re: How to plant 100's fruit trees in Escondido, CA?
« Reply #49 on: July 22, 2021, 06:54:22 PM »
Ken, gophers donít eat Cherimoya roots, they got word from the rats about parkinsons. Iíve planted alot of Cherimoya in gopher territory and never seen any signs of damage.

I have a beauty of a grafted atemoya I planted without a cage on your advice, and no signs of gopher activity on it. Seems the annonacin keeps them at bay or something.

Personally, I'm a gopher trapper. I caught I think 6 or 7 this year and a vole and a mole. They killed a really nice fig I had last year, ate the entire trunk like a beaver would. That turned me onto being a trapper and I am VERY on top of it now. Any sign of a new mound and traps are immediately out.

I am of Spaugh's suggestion that you shouldn't try to co-exist with them. They will always go for the tender stuff, tropicals, tomatoes, fruit trees, veggies and so on even when presented with other options. My property mate planted out a bunch of wild flowers and they leave those alone in comparison to any of my in ground stuff. I think it's the exotic flavor or maybe that we irrigate them and the soil is nice and soft for them to dig in. Low effort high reward.

 

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