A warm rainy day brings the first major apple scab infection, moisture to the roots and lots of new growth. Does this month have an “R” in it? Yes, so it is a good month to dig up our young trees. We grafted and planted these trees 4 years ago. They are old enough now to move to their permanent home on either the home farm or Hurds Family Farm. This is just the first part of the process. The trees that we are moving range from waist high to over my head.
Past generations of Hurds would have dug the young apple trees by hand (shovel), but with an increased need for efficiency we use a loader with 2 forks on the front that are about 6 to 8 inches apart.
This enables a skillful tractor driver to carefully uproot the trees by getting the forks completely under the root and lifting in a fluffing motion to shake to unearth the roots without damaging them. It is really a team effort because the guys on the ground have to steady the young tree as the driver operates the forks.
A second tractor with an apple bin on the front then comes to pick up the trees. The trees are carefully loaded by hand into the bins to make sure that we are packing as many as we can in without damaging the delicate roots.
When a bin is filled with trees it gets loaded onto the flat bed. These bins will be taken back to the home farm to await their replanting. Sometimes we dig in the morning, have lunch, and then replant in the afternoon. The trees will last in the bins in storage for months, so there is really no hurry.
The journey to the home farm can be a dangerous one if we take Allhusen. The overpass where the old rail trail crosses the road is a bit low. Although it may look like we just made it in the video. The tops of some of the trees were chopped off.
This year we are replanting gala, ginger golds, and granny smith. In the picture above you see about 2000 young trees in our home farm CA (controlled atmosphere) room 10. We keep the temperature for our future apple trees at around 38 degrees. See Replanting Young Apple Trees Part 2 (coming soon) for the next steps in the process.