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What trees to plant?
I'm looking to add some trees to my land. Don Higgins suggests Kieffer pear and Chinses chestnut. I'm wondering if they are strong enough to handle the northern WI winters? If not, what would you suggest adding to my land? Currently, I have burr oak and aspen on the land.
Whatever you plant, make sure you use tree tubes, fertilize, water and protect from weeds and deer. Without all of that you will waste your time.
I don't think I'd put in either! I've done the pear trees, apple and the Dunstan chestnuts and I can tell you I'm done with everything except apple trees. In my experience the chestnut and pear trees just aren't hardy enough in WI. I'm in west central WI (Buffalo Cty).
Not sure what zone you fall in but I’ve planted a bunch of kieffers in zone 4 and they are doing well. Even with a bunch of below zero stuff. I’m pleased so far.
I would check with nurseries in your area, to see which varieties are winterhardy enough to survive.
Agree with ^^^MQQSE. If you’re gonna spend the $ and the time/energy to plant them, do it up right the first time, instead of doing most of what’s needed, then thinking you will go back later and finish the remaining step/steps. Those final few things invariably seem to end up on the back burner. One thing I’d add to MQQSE’S list, would be to cage each tree with woven wire, re-mesh, or something similar. I’d recommend going at least 4’ in diameter minimum, 5’ is way better, IMO. Go at least 5’ tall on the height., and secure the rings with tee posts, 1” or bigger metal electrical conduit, or something similar. Lots of guys don’t do this, but I’ve had the deer push the cages around to get to the buds/leaves.
You also should clean out any debris, leaves, etc from inside of the tubes in the early fall, or you may end up with a mouse or vole building a nest inside and girdling the tree. I’m more of a fan of wrapping the trunk of the tree with window screening and stapling it vs the tubes, at least on thumb size or bigger trees. Make sure to go all the way to ground level at the bottom, and 2’-3’ high, or higher, if you get lots of snow. If rabbits can get inside of the cage and can stand on top of the snow, they will chew up as high as they can reach. IMO, smaller sized wire mesh that will exclude rabbits, is the best to use, but it is more expensive. If you do tube your trees, one thing that I’ve done that seems to help deter mice and voles from nesting, is to raise the bottom of the tube up off the ground a few inches. That allows cold air to flow through the tube, making it a less desirable nesting place. I would recommend still wrapping at least the bottom 6” of the trunk with screening to deter the voles from chewing up the very bottom of the trunk.
I’d also reach out to CAS_HNTR on here. He doesn’t post on here as much as he used to, but he’s planted/grown a bazillion trees, and he’s a wealth of information on planting trees, etc.
Nothing but bad luck with tubes. I prefer a wrap of aluminum window screen stapled around the trunk for girdling protection and a cage described as above.
Persimmon is not known for harsh winters. Check the persimmon range map and it shows well below Wisconsin.
From the habitat forums I frequent apple and crabs are the most successful up north. Get with a nursery and ask specifically for disease resistant varieties for your zone (CAR and FB).
A weed barrier and gravel around the planting is recommended.
I like adding white clover to the area I'm planting fruit trees. If I'm in there working I might as well do 2 things at once.
T-Roy x2. I don't know what it is about fruit and nut trees but in my experience, the deer will walk right through a dense stand of thumb sized saplings and never touch them - but they go out of their way to push down a fence and chew the buds and rub on the trees you just planted. It's as if they like to F*** with you.
I don't recommend tubes for fruit trees either and just put window screen and bring edges around together and staple with regular stapler through screen, not into the wood.I use 4ft fence and raise a foot off the ground and do 2 T post.Might look at Schlabachs orchard.I haven't ordered from them but they are from NY. Make sure your fruit trees are resistant to what ever diseases you have up there such as fire blight or CAR.
T-Roy is spot on. Do it right the first time or don't do it. If you try to short cut the process, they will make you pay by rubbing, eating, digging etc. I had to quit using the tree tubes though. They were bear magnets. After the bears came through I had tree tubes scattered all over the place. I use fine aluminum window screen around the base. Cut it big enough to allow for growth then staple it shut to make a tube. Keeps the rabbits from girdling and allows air to get to the base of the tree. No mice or mold issues. 5-6' diameter cage from welded wire anchored in place with three T-posts. Bears don't bother them and the deer can browse or rub them. A bit expensive to start, but worth it. Once the tree gets a few years on it, I shrink the cage so they can't rub the tree. They might browse some of the branch tips. Works well. I got another wack of trees coming this spring. When I sit a particular stand, I am always trying to figure out where I can put another tree or two. We have natural chestnuts and Chinese (I planted) on the property. The deer like them. But for my money, I would plant apples over chestnuts as you get way more bang for your buck. No pun intended and no we don't use rifles or cross-bows...
What apples do you plant up there that are still on during season?And are they cedar apple rust resistant?
Sawtooth oaks, winter pears, and chestnuts. I'm done wasting my money and time on apple trees.
It doesn’t seem to be just the deer that want to flip you the middle finger at your efforts. I think every critter wants to get their shots in as well. Coons, skunks, mice, voles, woodpeckers, etc. Like catscratch suggested, use a weed barrier and cover it with gravel/roadstone. Don’t use mulch. I made that mistake, and the coons (possibly skunks) dug through the mulch, looking for grubs, and tore out every single weed barrier that I had installed.
If I were doing it, whatever it would be, it’d be a Native species.
out of the 500-800 that I tubed I didn't use weed barrier.I am sure it would have helped.I did do it on fruit trees but you want to be careful as nasty little rodents will go under and eat your bark.I bought rolls of material that was actually house wrap and it was a ton cheaper and still let water through.I will look at the name of it but a few years ago there was a bunch of us buying it for weed barrier
You might keep your eyes open for some old rolls of woven wire fencing (hog wire), that the farmer rolled up when tearing an old fence line out. Most likely he would let you have it for free, just to get rid of it. I have access to tons of it, and it works great. To get enough height with it, I just stack one hoop on top of the other one, and tie them together with baling wire. Hog ring pliers work even better.
I’ve had success with apples and crab apples in central Wisconsin.
When planting apple trees I always put a wire cage around them. The deer will destroy them otherwise. If you are planting a lot, shrubs work great as they grow so fast the deer don't bother them as much as trees. Native species such as dogwood, nannyberry, willows and false indigo are great choices where there are a lot of deer.