how might one keep a tree diary at each tree?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Paul Wheaton, Oct 2, 2006.

  1. Paul Wheaton

    Paul Wheaton Well-Known Member

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    Forgive me if this comes off a little "woo woo", but I had a bit of an idea and I cannot imagine how to implement it - so I'm fishing for help.

    I just spent the weekend at an orchard that was beautiful and gut wrenching at the same time. This orchard has not been cared for for several years. It needs pruning, mulching, care, etc. About 40 people came and harvested from 50 trees. While I have a lot of knowledge and experience down this road, I really tried to keep my pie hole shut and be a participant. Afterward a few of us were talking about coming in a few times a year to do a few simple things to help the orchard be a little healthier.

    I saw was a lot of waste and a lot of ignorance. I really felt like (and here is a woo woo part) like the trees were not being respected. I don't feel like much of a woo woo guy, but I really felt the tree hugger in me coming out at this event.

    I got to thinking ... what if each tree had some kind of little notebook. Something where you can list what was done with each tree when; What the fruit looks like when it is ripe; is it a keeper? is it good for applesauce? is it good for cider? When is the fruit ripe? What kind of care does this tree like? What kind of special care is good for this tree?

    I've tried some things for my own trees in the past with mixed results. I tried labeling the trees with a lot of this sort of information encased in laminate. But the wind would wear them down and they all ended up coming apart and flying away. Then I tried a firberglass post with a keychain with an acrylic picture frame with the edges sealed in silicone. But the chain would break. Besides, I would like the ability to add notes about the tree while I am standing there with it.

    I think it would be okay to spend a dollar or two per tree to rig something up. But I am having a hard time figuring something out.

    I keep thinking about geocaches that last for years and years outdoors and they all have a log in them that manages to stay dry. Surely something can be dreamt up that would work ....

    And ideas? Suggestions? Crazy thoughts?
     
  2. Hears The Water

    Hears The Water Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Personally I don't think you sound woo woo, but then again, I am Native American and I belive in respecting the earth. The only thing I can think of is something like a permanant "slate" like metal or plastic and a grease pencil. I don't know if this is what you are looking for. HTH
    God bless you and yours
    Debbie (aka She Who Hears The Water Whisper)
     

  3. Simpler1773

    Simpler1773 Well-Known Member

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    What about some kind of jar or capsul with a small notebook in it tied to each tree, or would tying it to the tree harm it? If so then maybe you can make some sort of box at the base of each tree for the jar to sit in?

    Ricki
     
  4. wildwanderer

    wildwanderer Momma, Goatherder etc....

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    We use coffee can hung/tied from tree with a notebook and pen. I got a few samples of the waterproof notebooks from a search and rescue vendor once a while back and use those when I can. My mom like to know which tree is which throughout the season this was the easiest way to do it cheaply for us.
    Take care - Terri
     
  5. Paul Wheaton

    Paul Wheaton Well-Known Member

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    The stuff I've done in the past involved placing a stake a couple of feet from the front of the tree. I worry about wires and strings - even when loose - embedding themselves in the tree. Sometimes there is a cage around a young tree and I would attach to that.

    I would think that the grease pencil would wear off in a year or two.

    Waterproof notebooks are about $4 to $6 each.

    Jars and the like can be pretty cheap ... Then a little 39 cent notebook can be dropped in. The fun thing about a jar is that other little trinkets can be left in there too. It seems that it would then facilitate something fun.

    The next thing is making it easy to find/see; protected from the elements or from people/animals stepping on it and crushing it ...
     
  6. Jenn

    Jenn Well-Known Member Supporter

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    OK ya need a data cube that is indestructible and fits in and out of your and other folks' handheld computers... now that is what I consider woo woo. It's coming, but as I saw trying to get my garden club to replace their 50 year old slide projector with a computer presentation displayer, gardeners (maybe not farmers- hey ask your Ag extension agent what the commerical growers use!!) will often be about 30-100 years behind other groups technologically.

    I like the jars best- maybe inside a large coffee can to decrease breakage. And if moisture gets in, put a layer of clingfilm or a canning lid on the system.
     
  7. terrythetaod

    terrythetaod Well-Known Member

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    Could you make something out of PVC pipe? That stuff is fairly cheap and is pretty durable.
     
  8. boxwoods

    boxwoods Well-Known Member

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    Well, number each of the trees in the orchard and then use a excel worksheet to keep track of what you do to each tree number. maybe use a tag and plastic tie to a lower limb. So if someone does some work to tree number 7, they would share the info with you and you can change your data. Maybe have a few people keeping the same data.
     
  9. fastbackpony

    fastbackpony Well-Known Member

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    I was thinking along the same line as boxwoods - have sector a, b, c, and d, and number each tree in each sector, as you walk around 1 notebook would do all trees, then when your thinking on what to do some ice cold snowy evening your book would be in the house and you could study on it - decide what changes to make etc.

    Record keeping to even the small stuff is a wonderful idea, and would lead to the most beneficial changes for your orchard - i think . . . . .
     
  10. WindowOrMirror

    WindowOrMirror ..where do YOU look? Supporter

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    Tag each tree with an RFID tag and use a portable computer with an antenna to record each tree event
     
  11. featherbottom

    featherbottom Well-Known Member

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  12. Paul Wheaton

    Paul Wheaton Well-Known Member

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    The orchard is owned by the Evergreen Land Trust. A non profit. My guess is that they would be cool with these ideas.

    Numbered trees: that would technically work, but I don't think it would bring respect to the trees. If there is some kind of journal with each tree, I think that the trees might get a little more respect. And there might be less waste too.

    PVC pipe: or maybe poly pipe. I think PVC pipe has issues with cold and UV. Or maybe the plastic-pipe-like-stuff that is used to house electrical wire.

    Maybe if we had a source for 50 free buckets with lids, we could put a bunch of rocks/sand in the bottom of the buckets and then a jar or something inside of the bucket. Although .... I suppose a problem with a bucket is that people might try to stand on it ...
     
  13. boxwoods

    boxwoods Well-Known Member

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    The best way to respect the trees is Leave them alone, don't cut their arms off!, don't eat their fruit and let nature take it's course. :)
     
  14. Paul Wheaton

    Paul Wheaton Well-Known Member

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    I would guess that half of these trees will be dead within five years if not pruned.

    And if you don't take the fruit, it will fall to the ground and attract bugs that will then bore into next years fruit, thus stressing the tree.
     
  15. seedspreader

    seedspreader AFKA ZealYouthGuy

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    I am not sure how to "respect" them... but if you want them to be healthy and productive and do what they do best (make fruit) then they better be pruned and taken care of.
     
  16. Shepherd

    Shepherd Well-Known Member

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    Your idea isn't as far fetched as you might have originally thought - many of us from the looks of it - have given some thought to this type of thing. My main problem is after the 6th or 7th fruit tree, I've forgotten what is planted where (2 pear, 2 plum, 2 cherry, then what?!? was it the peaches or the nectarine trees?).

    Same with my herb garden... I'm new at planting herbs and I don't recognize something just from looking at it in all cases, and the little tags that come with the plants you buy disintegrate after a hard winter in most cases. I was thinking of buying some wooden steaks that you can write what's planted there on it (with paint) and then varnish it so the sign wouldn't fall apart after a year or two.

    More extensive records would have to be kept on computer (was my thought). But at least I could still identify which tree (or plant) was planted where.
     
  17. Paul Wheaton

    Paul Wheaton Well-Known Member

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    It would be nice to have some kind of sign - but that would surely get really expensive really fast. Plus, if it's written in ink, it will probably fade within the first year.

    I'm thinking about the poly pipe again .... maybe in combination with a fiberglass post .... what if 3/4 inch poly pipe is used .... about two feet ... and at about the 11 inch mark, it is heated with a propane torch a little, then bent in two. A little gorilla glue then holds them together. Caps for the end of poly pipe is like six cents .... So the short end goes over the post and the long end gets the plug. A rolled up piece of paper could go in the tupe with the plug. Not pretty - but cheap and functional!
     
  18. fin29

    fin29 Well-Known Member

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    Copper flashing and a ball point pen. The pen will engrave the copper.
     
  19. Paul Wheaton

    Paul Wheaton Well-Known Member

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    I've done a similar sort of thing with old aluminum cans, cut down one side and unrolled.
     
  20. Paul Wheaton

    Paul Wheaton Well-Known Member

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    Now I'm thinking about a piece of acrylic heated and bent to be shaped like a little roof over a 2 inch piece of poly pipe. The poly pipe would be attached to the fiberglass post ... maybe with gorilla tape?

    Hmmmmm ..... maybe a foot of 3/4 inch poly pipe with the end heated and bent, then the 2 inch poly pipe could have it's end heated and bent around that and some 2.5 inch poly pipe could be attached to the little roof so that the roof would slide right off of the 2 inch poly pipe to be a container ....