Phase II: Starting to matter


5 year old buck +
This is my southern MN project area. It's not huge, but it's where I cut my teeth learning habitat improvement. Here's a few updated pics of the work that started in 2007.

I'm 90% certain this is a chokecherry tree. Planted as a 12" bare root in 2008. Does this mean I'll have fruit this year?

This is a sort of wild plum my dad had growing in the lilac bushes at home. These went in 2007 as seedlings. Also blooming, does this mean I'll have fruit this year?

Is this an elderberry?

And lastly, a couple pics of my spruces. They were 8" tall in 2007. I treated the grass around them with roundup in 2012 with roundup at a rate of 4oz per gallon. The grass is still beat back, and the trees are surging ahead with aggressive growth ever since.

I suspect that is red berried elder and not elderberry. Elderberry tends to bloom in July and has more of a flat flower cluster.
It sure looks like elderberry. Can't tell from the picture, but common elderberry has a small, 5-petaled white flower. They are presented in clusters that form a white " umbrella " type flower head. The leaves look like typical elderberry. There are several varieties of elderberry native to different areas of the country. Common elderberry usually grows in moist/wetter rich soil.
The " book"says to look at the color of the pith in second year twigs. pure white = American elderberry

yellowish-brown is red-berried elder.
Looks like a Chokecherry to me on that picture and yes barring any complications you will have fruit!
Looks great! Those spruce are slow growers aren't they!!!
Looks great! Those spruce are slow growers aren't they!!!
They didn't even budge until I went and zapped the grass. Then they finally started pushing out new growth. I do agree.
Looks like elderberry to me, what kind exactly, I can't say. Mine is all flowered right now too. I could be wrong
my elderberry leaves look a little different than the one in your pic and they don't bloom till June/July and I'm in NE
I suspect that is red berried elder and not elderberry. Elderberry tends to bloom in July and has more of a flat flower cluster.
Red berried elder isn't red elderberry? Is there a berry elder red? haha I'm not disagreeing with you, just seems like a silly word game...
Got back out to this area this weekend. I snapped a few pics to share what's going on.

My dad and I settled on chokecherry for the mystery blooming tree we found and released this spring

The giant crab apple tree I found last year had a decent bloom this year, but the yield is looking like it's gonna be pretty bleak. I'll get out and give this tree a haircut this fall.

The pines in the area are looking like they're rebounding nicely from their winterburn. This is a white pine.

I'm having a heck of a time with my cranberries in tubes for a few reasons. First, I was wildly successful with cranberry in 5' tubes. This one, and 4 others are in 6' tubes and they seem to be stressing at the top to branch out. I also made the mistake of using 1" oak heartwood stakes with these tubes. The stakes are so big, they have to go on the outside of the tube. Well the problem with that is that the tubes are kinking over in the wind and snapping off the cranberries where the top fastener went through the tube. Also, I've got ants all over inside the tube where the leaves and extra branches were tight. All these little white things looked like some kind of insect nest.

The cranberries that are holding up are filling out nicely with fruit this year.

I even have a few apples coming on my grafted apple trees. Not sure what this is. It could either be a snowsweet or a sweet sixteen.

The big takeaways from today's trip:

*Cranberry can do well in a 5' tube. Don't try a 6' tube.
*Spend the money on the fiberglass stakes. They fit in the tube and will prevent them from kinking in the wind.
*Never use zip ties. They degrade in the sunlight and break or loosen before the trees are ready to go it alone. Plantra now sells a heavy duty rubber twist tie that is fail safe.
*Buy tubes with a flared out top. I had some damage to my wild black cherry from the wind blowing the emerged tree against the lip of the tube. I bought Tubex this year and they have a flared top.

If you read this far, thanks!
I took some updated photos while i was back home over the weekend.

This is the cranberry that proved you can grow cranberry in a 5' tube. This was planted as bareroot in 2009 or '10.

Cannot stress enough why it's important to pick the right kind of tube stakes, to have them inside the tube, and use the right fastener. My crappy zip ties degraged in the sun and then broke off against the square edges of the oak stake. This was also a nice cranberry until the zip tie broke and the tube kinked over.
The wild plum is blooming.

This is a chokecherry planted in '09. Just now finally emerging from a 5' tube.

Black hills spruce planted in 2007. This one has done ok. If you look to the right in the background, their is another that is about 30" tall, planted the same year.

Nonetheless, they seem to be moving ahead.

'07. This one has done a lot better than the others.

Another good one. I thought these trees may grow wider than they have so far.

In 2012, I sprayed roundup around the tree to beat back the grass. It still hasn't grown back in.
What a difference a year, some brush clearing, and some pruning make. Here's the mystery giant apple tree I found a couple years ago. This picture is from last year in May when we had just cleared the brush away. The crowding caused a poor bloom last season.
apple tree4.jpg

One year later...
Everything is looking good . I need to get to my place and see what is making fruit.
Did some triage on some of the older tree tubes. This is a plum planted back in 09.

Another plum planted in 2007. Lots of problems from bad stake, bad fastener, and lack of pruning. Seems like it's gonna make it after all the doctoring.

One of the only white pines in McLeod County.

One of my prize chokecherries. Planted 2007.

I took the cages off the apple trees last fall. Zero browsing. That's how many deer are out there.

Another of my prize chokecherry trees from 07.
Your work is really starting to pay off. Waiting is the hard part. Great looking trees.
looking good! you guys are greener over there than by me so far.

you might want to try moving your trail cam so that its not looking into the sun so much
My nephew is also running a trail cam out there now. Here's some of the best pics so far. Not pictured below, but we've also found coyotes and racoons out there. May have to buy my nephew some traps to work on those coons. The yotes are going to take some other expertise. What i'm not sure yet.





Very nice. Those trees/shrubs that have become established over recent years should really put some growth on in the coming years.