solarIn the late spring of 2007, single rows of trees at three meter spacings, were planted on the east, south and west borders of the Wellburn property. Where pre deep watering was available along the west side we planted, in most cases, 3 feet plus depth as the dibble would allow. Along the east and south side, holes were power drilled 1 ½ in dry soil up to 30 inches deep. Soil types varied on all the property, but were basically in broad terminology; light or hard sandy loam. Long whips (up to 8 feet), of TXD populous variety were tamped in to seal at the surface.

The east and south sides made up about 50 spitter or irrigation points directly aimed at the characters. This system was irrigated with solar panel power, a deep cell storage battery and a twelve volt DC water pump governed with a simple clock – brass contact apparatus unit to water for one hour automatically every twelve hours appropriately. The system originates at a natural pond/spring and had a big uphill push to irrigate in order to supply just enough moisture to grow the trees automatically. There were glitches in the system, however they are easy to remedy in the future. The trees grew, including replants done about three times. Some of the characters thought to be dead came up later at the bottom. It was up for discussion if there was enough water to provide one gallon per tree per day. The Wellburn crew applied some residual irrigation as per the alfalfa field. It turned out to be an excellent growing year with large monthly rains and cooler weather. Replants were required and today on site boasts about a 95% survival rate.

Long whips while good for making it simpler for identification in “natural” areas are difficult to grow at this site. It reminds us why we prefer the 18 inch magic stick method. It also reminds us that an alternate variety of the Populus family may have faired better. Over all, this site enjoys excellent results. The desired effects: dust, sound, privacy and aesthetic shelter barrier needs, will be achieved as soon as late summer 2008. Irrigation will be done again in 2008 before equipment is removed. This site is known to enjoy some natural sub-irrigated area making the deep planting method a proper idea regarding a little or no maintenance hedge row.

“Carbon offsetting”, not discussed as a benefit for shelter belts in this community could enjoy a tax “carbon credit” incentive. This is a responsible way for farms to contribute real viable air quality benefits, to responsible governments searching for real answers toward environmental sustainability. This is also a good direction toward preserving the endangered food growing land we know the population will need. For now, a shelter belt grown in several rows will be an “alternate” crop which may be an energy source in the very near future.

This report of PRS ltd activities at the Wellburn farm submitted by David R Derbowka October 21, 2007