Suggestions and Opinions Wanted

Discussion in 'Garden Design' started by Jewell, Dec 7, 2013.

  1. Jewell

    Jewell Incorrigible Gardener Plants Contributor

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    I am left with very little sun in my back yard because long gone neighbors planted evergreen trees (sequoia, and Douglas fir) along our south property line. Although many of my perennials still get enough sun to perform well I am less successful with veggies the last few years. Maybe it's also my lack of gardening skills and weather, but I am blaming it on the lack of adequate sun.

    I have decided to redo some of the beds in the front yard to accommodate some vegetables. The soil in the front yard is sandy with less loam because it was once treeless and hot.

    As you can see from the photos the evergreens shade the front yard most of the day in the winter (photos taken at 11 AM).

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    Looking into yard walking north ( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )

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    Walking south on sidewalk looking into front yard ( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )

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    Front on view-house faces west ( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )

    My dilemma is whether to remove the apple tree or not. It is a Granny Smith I got on sale for a $1 thirty years ago. It needs another good pruning, but I am tempted to make firewood of it. That would give me another bed for veggies also. What would you do?

    The larger of the two Japanese maples is going for sure
     
    Philip Nulty likes this.
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  3. cherylad

    cherylad Countess of Cute-ification Plants Contributor

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    Jewell... does the apple tree still produce well? And do you really enjoy the apples and would miss them if they were gone? Do you have strong sentimental ties to it?

    What I'm getting at is... would you rather have those apples or some more veggies?

    That'll determine what to do with the tree.

    I hear apple wood is really good for smoking meats.
    ;)
     
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  4. marlingardener

    marlingardener Happy

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    I would definitely get rid of the Granny Smith. After 30 years it has reached the end of its productive life; previous prunings has left it with loads of water sprouts; and it looks bad.
    The sandy soil can be amended with lots and lots of compost and leaves. After a year or two it will be wonderful for your veggies.
    I doubt it is lack of skill that is causing your vegetable beds to be less successful. You have identified the problem--too little sunlight. You'll have more vegetables than you know what to do with in a season or two!
     
    Philip Nulty and carolyn like this.
  5. Sjoerd

    Sjoerd Mighty Oak

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    I cannot add anything to Marlin's comments, so my comment is actually just like seconding the motion,as it were.I quite agree with MG on this...on ALL counts.
    I feel that she has given good, level-headed advice.
     



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  6. carolyn

    carolyn Strong Ash

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    Jane was spot on...it has really out lived its prime. Around most orchards they keep the tree 10 years. We keep ours a bit longer, but 30 years is really a long time. Do you use the apples? is it more work than it is worth - whether in fruit or physical effort, or even sentimentally? Is it cheaper to buy the few granny smith apples you use for the amount of time it takes up to prune, spray, thin and pick for the return of your work and you could have a more abundant/diversified vegetable garden of food you wouldn't have to run to the market for?
     
  7. Philip Nulty

    Philip Nulty Strong Ash

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    Hi Jewell,..its not an easy choice to make,..where that apple tree is growing would make a great veg area but living with a tree you planted some 30 years ago is very hard to just get rid of,..remembering all the produce you collected from it,..i would find it very hard to cut it down,..i get attached to plants and trees,..but then that's just me,..have a good think about it before you decide.
     
  8. Jewell

    Jewell Incorrigible Gardener Plants Contributor

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    Thanks everyone for your suggestions and comments.

    Philip, I don't know whether I am attached to the tree or a plant hoarder. :D As trees and plants have begun to go past their prime or place in the yard I have begun removing some.

    Marlin, Sjoerd and Carolyn, I had never thought much about fruit trees being past their prime. There are so many really old fruit trees in the neighborhood. I do hate pruning the tree. It has always sent up water sprouts and needed constant attention which it didn't get this last year. It does produce afternoon shade for the living room, during the three hot days we get during the summer. The apples are good keepers but I have never liked their flavor. The apples usually become robin food in late winter. Unfortunately the tree produces lots of apples some years, but I think I will appreciate the apple wood more than I have the fruit. :D

    You all have helped me be brave enough to follow through and remove it. It and the Japanese maple will be gone this spring ;)
     
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  9. cherylad

    cherylad Countess of Cute-ification Plants Contributor

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    What are "water sprouts"?
    And good luck with the new veggie garden Jewell!
     
  10. Jewell

    Jewell Incorrigible Gardener Plants Contributor

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    Cherylad, water sprouts are those stems that grow straight up all over the tree. You will get them usually if you over prune or the tree is stressed in some way. Guess this tree has always been stressed and over pruned. :-?
     
  11. carolyn

    carolyn Strong Ash

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    Water sprouts are not abnormal and all of my apple trees make them. I am not sure if I have ever had a tree not make them, some just make a lot more than others. and they all require an enormous amount of time to cut out.
     
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  12. marlingardener

    marlingardener Happy

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    Cheryl, you've seen trees that have been "topped," usually by some dude with a chainsaw. All those skinny little branches popping out of the cuts are water sprouts.
    When we did native plant presentations, I'd do a five minute riff on dudes with chainsaws and topping trees. The audience was terrified!
     
    Jewell likes this.

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