Los Angeles Urban Chicken Enthusiasts Message Board › Fruit trees and chicken poop

Fruit trees and chicken poop

Laura B.
LauraBonilla
Group Organizer
Norco, CA
Post #: 425
... but managing fungal/pest issues with dormant spraying, proper pruning/training, and even moisture levels are more fundamental in building strong trees. My trees are on Netafim or Toro drip tubing, with emitters built into the tubing at one-foot intervals, delivering a gallon per hour. The tubing is virtually indestructible (except to shovels and cutting tools!!) and laid down as one long run encircling each tree in the row. You can get the Toro brand at Home Depot and the system is really easy to set up with a timer clock run on a battery to irrigate on a schedule. DIG makes the lil timer clock, also at HD
I do not fertilize my trees, per se, but scatter the bedding from the chicken coop that I clean out daily with the soiled shavings. I am surprised you got no blooms on the apple---they are usually pretty prolific.
HOW OLD ARE YOUR TREES AND WERE THEY ALL PLANTED AT THE SAME TIME?

Thanks so much Susan, your help will forever be appreciated by me AND especially the trees!!!
ok, I'm happy that I don't need to fertilize, that was a big headache especially where the trees are situated (I have others scared in the property, which don't get daily poop... so if you tell me how much poop should I bring to them, that would be awesome - I collect all of the poop and have big buckets... with 40 poopers you know I have plenty of collected poop :)

Watering is a huge issue and I think I almost killed some of the trees because of this, so thanks for bringing it up... I installed an irrigation system, but was done without lots of knowledge about trees... each tree has it's own pipe - don't know how to explain it --- ok, one of my lines, connected to the main system/clock/valve is dedicated to my fruit trees inside the enclosure --- but it does not go around each tree... just to one end of each tree... I've manually adjusted the "Head" on each tree pipe (sprinkler head) but I'm sure I have no idea what I'm doing... the line gets trigger to run every single day (it's off on the rainy season, but in a few days, I need to turn it on)... it runs for 6 minutes each day and in summer it runs twice, in the am and pm...

I think I need to get someone to come and someone connect a 'tubing' like you have around each tree, from the end of the pipe... (I had bought 500 feet of tubing at HD, maybe not your brand and a tool to make the 'emitters' but never did anything with it)... also, I need to adjust the main valve so that the pressure of the water is low - here is extreme high pressure and too much water comes out... my trees either get too much or not enough... should I run it once a week? every day? no idea...

Got my trees 18 months ago and they the size you get them at HD... what is that? a year or two old? a couple died, a fig which came with some fruit in it and was delicious and a persimmon one --- I've bought one of each now and are planted outside the run...

thanks again for your awesome help,

A former member
Post #: 169
Laura---this would be a lot easier if you called me! 310-374-4779 anytime, love to help you, if you get my machine, just leave a message and I will call back. I don't have a cell phone
Laura B.
FarmerLaura
Los Angeles, CA
Post #: 86
Laura, I know Susan will probably tell you this when you talk, but young trees should not be allowed to bear fruit until they are well established. I planted a peach and an apple 4 years ago this spring, and last year I allowed each to set 2 fruits. I have been knocking off the flowers and not letting fruit set so that the trees would concentrate all their energy into making a strong root system and sturdy branches that will be able to support a lot of fruit in the future. Orchards are long term investments, and require a lot of patience.

This year, the fourth year, I will allow the trees to set a small crop of fruit. If at any time I see the tree struggling, I will pull all the fruit off. By struggling I mean not putting on good growth, foliage that looks dull or droopy or anything else where the tree appears to be languishing. My objective is to have a strong, healthy tree that will give me years of fruit.

One important tip - don't allow you trees to get into a heavy year/ light year bearing cycle, because that can be tough to break. When the tree bears a bumper crop one year, they often tend to take it easy the next year. You can even it out by knocking off a lot of the fruit in the bumper crop years so that the tree does not drain its resources and have to take a rest the following year. I have to tell you, I feel pain when I knock off perfectly good little green fruits, just like when I thin my veggies and pull out healthy little plants and throw them in the compost heap. But you have to be very strict about it for the health of the tree.

BTW, I am in mourning for my pluot tree. I planted it in 1998, and it finally succumbed to the fungal infection that has been eating away at it for the last 4 or 5 years. It was old for a pluot -- they usually have 5 to 8 good bearing years and then die, but this one was a solid bearer until last year. I will miss my Dappled Dandy!
Nancy
user 13913292
Los Angeles, CA
Post #: 83
I am far from an expert and we all have our own outlooks on it. It would be a toss up between fruit trees and chickens as my favorite thing. As many of you know, I bought horse property to have MORE chickens and MORE fruit trees.

There has been lots of good help. The final decisions will be yours to make.

I am still unclear as to where the fruit trees are situated. Do they have a roof or cover over them? I am still puzzled about the placement. If they were mine and there is a cover over them, I would Move them. If you are only worried about the poop/nitrogen then I would not be too concerned. My chicken coop is facing south and in my mind prime real estate but it was placed there because the neighbors has chickens too and I figured they would not complain. I planted fruit trees inside the run area but it is not covered, the chickens can fly over the fence. Nothing overhead. I planted a Tipu shade tree to give them some protection in the summer. I also planted Jujube's, persimmons, and a Cara Cara. All of my trees were planted last May. They are all doing fine. The chicken poop has not bothered them a bit. I chose these trees to be inside the run area because Jujube's are TALL so the chickens cannot get the fruit. The persimmons are also big full trees and the fruit are HARD. My chickens in my last house did not bother the persimmons so I figured it was okay. The chickens also do not like citrus so another reason that was chosen to be in the run.

Stone fruits can be kept pruned and to a certain height, they just won't produce as much fruit as a tree that was allowed to go to its potential height. No real big deal in a hone environment. How many peaches can one person eat? So I would agree with the Dave Wilson multi-plantings which is REAL close.

I personally would not do the same with avocados. My experience is that they grow BIG and they do not like heavy prunings. If height is a issue, buy a Holiday or Littlecado. They are smaller trees.

Laura pointed out that young trees should not be allowed to flower/fruit. I think you mentioned that the young trees you planted had flowers or dropped. When I had all 120 of my fruit trees planted, I had the guys strip all flowers/fruits off of the trees. I wanted the tree to concentrate on strong roots and form. They can bear fruit later when the tree is more established. I usually do not put a number of years on it but will look at the growth and decide. It is usually past 3 years for sure.

Another thing is that a basin around the tree. I plan on using pvc underground and bubblers. I chose not to use the drip because the hoses will deteriorate in the sun. Plus, I have 3 dogs. 1 that gets himself into all kinds of trouble. I can just see him chewing through the hose.

Laura: Hmmmm............... I planted a Splash which is a pluot probably before you did. I would have to go and look at the paperwork. It is at my old house and just got pruned but that tree is doing GREAT. We all do stupid things at least I do. When I moved, I took the Santa Rosa with me, forgetting that Splash needs a pollinator. It did not dawn on me until it did not have any fruit and then I remembered that I took the pollinator to the new house. I recently bought a 15 gallon Santa Rosa to replace it. Hopefully, there will be fruit this year. I had a Dapple Dandy planted in May with the big planting. I hope it thrives here. If not, I will replace it with something else. All of the bareroots hit the nurseries. No need to be sad. Buy a new one. :o)

I do the same and flick off the flowers on the trees so that I do not have bumper crops. It is the hardest thing to do but if you don't, branches will break and it will be much worse. Sometimes it splits the main and hard to fix then.

I am guilty of being longwinded. If you have specific questions, I am more than happy to answer if I can.

Good Luck to you!

Nancy
Laura B.
FarmerLaura
Los Angeles, CA
Post #: 88
Nancy, I can't plant another pluot in the same place because the soil will retain the fungus spores. The apricot/plum hybrids are not long lived trees, so I am not surprised it died. I will replace it with something that is more resistant to fungal infections. My neighbor's Santa Rosa plum has the same infection, and that is where I think my pluot got it. My neighbor is on hospice, and he cannot stand the thought of taking down the plum tree, so it stays even though it has rotted holes in the trunk that mice run in and out of.

Once my fruit trees are established I do not water them unless it is a very hot, dry summer. I like to encourage them to send roots deep. It makes for a more sturdy tree and cuts down on the water bill.
A former member
Post #: 170
It seems most of the fruit trees that are potted at Home Depot are 5 or 10 gallon size. Unless, at this season, they are bare root trees. I caution people, though, that HD, being a national company OFTEN is selling plants and trees and bulbs NOT APPROPRIATE for our mild climate. They sell trees and plants---hostas, lilies, cherries, bluberries, and others which will not receive the proper number of chilling hours to set good fruit or initiate strong Spring growth. As long as you do the research for you climate zone---the Sunset Garden book is excellent for determining the named varieties that do well with minimal chill hours and finding your climate zone---and as long as the plant is correctly tagged with the variety, you can buy anywhere. But local nurseries, ---I got my trees up in Somis at Jon's Nursery---will really help you individually and know their trees better. Jon and his wife are very knowledgable and helpful with fruit trees and vines, that is all they sell. Another one I really like is Papaya Tree Nursery in Granada Hills, which sells tropical and exotic fruit trees and spices.
Helpful comments on the irrigation schemes---I don't have dogs or digging rodents desperate for water, so I love in-line drip tubing, because it is so easy to put together. If you do drip, however, it is imperative to put on a PRESSURE REGULATOR at the water source point, since this is why the pressure problems Laura described are happening. Household water pressure is too high for low pressure drip systems. The Press. Reg. is a simple fitting that goes on the line at the water source (tap) along with a in-line filter. There are all sorts of web sites with exploded diagrams to help you do this easy project. Robert Kourik wrote a excellent book, "Drip Irrigation for every Landscape and all Climates"
All good advice, too, on the removal of flowers and preventing fruit set in the first 3 years. But careful pruning is very important, too, as good air circulation through the middle of the tree helps with impeding fungal diseases and even ripening of fruit. Thinning the crop is also very important, to avoid branch breakage and develop fewer but larger fruit. Dave Wilson nursery website shows a video on the proper spacing of fruit on the branches to avoid these issues.
Nancy
user 13913292
Los Angeles, CA
Post #: 89
I have walked into Costco, Home Depot and Lowes and have seen this time and time again. They are selling fruit trees that require 800-900 chill hours. Will never happen here. Would be a waste of time. I would see something different and get excited and my heart drops after I read the tag. I totally agree. All of my fruit trees were purchased at local nurseries. They do the homework and know what will work in the area. I feel the quality is way better too.

Nancy
Laura B.
LauraBonilla
Group Organizer
Norco, CA
Post #: 427
hello everyone,
so sorry I went MIA for a while - a bit rude to post for help and not come back - but here I am, sorry again... got really busy... just wanted to say that you guys are awesome. I can't believe how much feedback I got and how detailed. I really appreciate the time all of you took. Being such a beginner when it comes to trees, I have lots of info here to read, process and digest!

Thanks Susan for your offer to call you. I want to take you up on it - don't know when, still in middle of some big projects, but I will - but want to look at the videos and links you suggested first... but very grateful for the offer!

Happy Lunar New Year!
Year of the Snake... you should be a smooth ride :)
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