Gopher Patrol,  Orchard

Pre-Weedfest 2.0 and a question of ethics?

OrchardSo I’ve been a bit silent the past month or so on this site.  Let’s just say I’ve been busy just trying to keep up with many things.  Some more expected than others.  But the 4th of July break has given me the opportunity to put some time in, here in the orchard.  For the past day and a half I’ve been weed eating the orchard.  Call it a Pre-Weedfest 2.0 I guess.  The crazy thing is, I’m still not done.  I’ve completed 11 rows and I still have 4 to go.

Something has got to change.  In college, a professor that I didn’t even particularly like, once said something that has stuck with me.  You always have to pay to learn.  At the time everything was monetary to me so I figured he was talking coin of the realm.  Now I know it means effort and energy as well.  The use of “Round Up” in my orchard has never really set well with me.  But it seemed like a good way to keep the weeds and grass down between my trees.  In the past couple of days I have now realized all my efforts in spraying has created a weed monster so fierce and unforgiving that I find myself on my knees… weed eating for forgiveness?  “No grass” has left room for thistles and tansy to propagate at a rate so unforgiving that  I might as well have put up a sign, “no grass allowed, just everything else”.

So here’s my newest plan.  I’m ordering a bulk roll of burlap to make a 3’x3′ organic weed barrier under each tree.  I’m also going to raise the irrigation hose up so I can get to the spaces between each tree with my mower.  Last but not least, I’m going to purchase “Mini White Clover” to plant in that space between each tree.  (We tried regular white clover and that turned out to grow too high and was too aggressive.  That was a different effort and energy learning experience.)  This mini clover is used to supplement grass lawns and can be mowed.  It does not grow very high and may be able to squeeze out weeds.  Plus it traps nitrogen and returns it to the soil.  This should all be good for the trees.  I hope it turns out to be good for my back as well.

Some other good news is, the gophers have been scarce this year.  So far I’ve only trapped five.  Hills are starting to pop a bit more lately so the count may increase soon.  My first lesson in gopher disposal after I trapped one, was “do not bury it back in the hole”.  This behavior attracts coyotes who gladly dig any hole size needed to get their meal.  So for the past couple of years I’ve sealed them in baggies and deposited them in my garbage can.  This works fine and I’m perfectly happy with this procedure.  But my neighbor just shared with me that he leaves his dispatched diggers out in his back yard.  It only takes an hour or two and he gets a visit from one of the local “red tail” hawks.  Now that’s cool.  I love those birds.  But I can’t leave a gopher laying out because my dog Bella, will gladly try to play with it.  So I’m thinking a small “gopher dinner” platform on a fence post.

Is that wrong?

3 Comments

  • Bill Johnstone

    Your “gopher dinner high atop a fence post” idea sounds good. You get rid of the gophers – the hawks get a free and fresh dinner – Bella isn’t tempted to get involved – and you get to watch the Red Tail Hawks. Sounds like a win-win.

    • dario

      I rather like win, wins. And gophers seem to be a self sustaining resource. I’m sure someone thinks I should feel bad.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *