I had an idea to put in a few fruit trees across the road, not exactly a full blown orchard but a variety of apples and pears with just seven trees. Two of the trees, one apple and one pear, each had been grafted and sported three different fruits on one tree.
The spot was a sunny location on a high spot not to far from the river. The location had some merit, the area that I had chosen was close to the irrigation line so that watering the trees would be fairly easy. It was relatively open compared to the heavy vegetation growth of the Pacific Northwest. The plot had old stumps dotting the ground from previous logging and was unusable for many other purposes.
I planted the trees and put wire cages around the tender plants to keep the local beaver from gnawing in the bark. I fashioned eight foot square fences around the wire cages to put a barrier up for the cows, deer and elk. I watered and tended the trees faithfully. That was some twenty years ago.
The experiment failed to thrive. I lost one tree after another to various issues. One didn’t make it through the first winter. A couple suffered along for a few years but died after a weakly fought battle. A family of beaver not only laughed at my fencing, they feasted on the bark of the two trees that were planted closest to the river. And I found out that t-posts with woven wire, even shaped into an eight foot square will not keep a cow from reaching her long neck over the fence and bending it far enough so she can eat the tender branches as they leaf out in the spring.
Only one apple tree made it to grow tall enough to rise above the cow level and has been producing loads of Golden Delicious apples for many years. This is also the tree that still keeps getting attacked by beaver and I paint the lower three feet of the stump with pink paint to repel the busy varmints. That poor tree is gnarled and dis-formed, it leans at a terrible angle toward the river and I’m sure that it’s overall lifespan will come to an end in just a few more years.
There is just one pear tree that survived so far. I still have the inside cage and the outside fencing protecting it. From this view the tree in the foreground looks overgrown with brown weeds inside the fencing.
Every year it blooms like crazy in the spring. It is coated with the white flowers, but it has failed to produce anything from those blooms. I gave up on it ten years ago but didn’t get around to removing the fencing to grub it out.
This year the blooms came like normal but I did not give it another thought until several months later, I saw about 20 pears actually forming on the branches.