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  • Spring 2012 – A challenge at the nursery!

    It started out innocently enough, we had decided to add on to the nursery so we had more room to grow trees (and keep the deer out).  So the fence came down, ground was worked up, and we put the fabric down.  Lots of it.

    We covered an area 125′ x 200′ with fabric, held it down with landscape staples and rocks.  It seemed like a lot of both, but apparently it wasn’t enough.  A few days later a very short but strong system came through with winds of ~50 MPH.  The next trip to the nursery revealed the disaster.

     

    Every piece of fabric was either partially or completely removed from the ground.  The worst were the ones we had already planted 4′ specialty willow cuttings through.  Some of the willows were broken off, others just a little beat up.  We quickly put a few big boulders down to keep the fabric from moving any further.  The following weekend we got “the crew” out there and fixed it.

     

    Large boulders were placed as often as possible down the edge of each strip of fabric and many more rocks were added.  If the wind gets it this time something much bigger than a 50 mph wind came through!

    August 30th 2012 Update:

    3 months later, and the nursery is doing great despite the serious lack of rain we’ve had.

    This season’s hybrid willows in the foreground, last seasons in the upper right.

     

    Hybrid Poplars are doing great, you can’t see the rest of the nursery as they are too tall.

     

    Specialty willows are doing well, all 45 varieties!

     

    Here is a wide shot of the nursery, this corner wasn’t planted. Saving it for future use.

     

    So what went wrong?

    The ground was roto-tilled prior to putting the fabric down.  It didn’t rain before we stapled the fabric in place, so the dirt was “fluffy”.

    The staples didn’t pull the fabric down like they usually do, but I didn’t think much about it at the time.

    Staples will rust after being in the ground for a week or two.  Once they start to rust they really “stick” in the soil.  The wind came before the staples got a chance to firm up.

    We didn’t hold the edges of the fabric down enough.  When we were fixing it, if the wind caught the fabric it would literally pull you off the ground if you could hold on that tight.  A 15′ x 125′ sail has a lot of lift!

    To be safe we probably should have put a seam in the runs every 75′ or so.  That way if the wind got it, only a small piece would get moved.

    Next time the soil prep will be done a couple weeks in advance.  This will let the soil settle so the staples stick!

    Thanks for reading,

    -John

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