In order to have an orchard, I need to put up a fence. In order to put up a fence, I need to do some clearing. Though we have the space for the fence itself, we don’t have enough space between the fence and the windbreak so that we can maintain the area with a mower. Currently, the windbreak consists of one part trees combined with two parts vine and thorny rose mixed, thoroughly, with a heaping length of barbed wire and metal fencing. We’re going to need to work on that recipe! Mowers and barbed wire just won’t mix. That is certain!
Over the last two days, I have been using lopers, a machete, wire cutters, and the tractor’s front end loader equipped with teeth to clear out the west and north windbreaks around the orchard. Tangles of multiflora rose, honeysuckle, bittersweet, and wild grape weave into and spiral about each other. They climb branches of living trees, dead wood, and fencing. Some of that vine must be 30′ long! The vegetation has already done a lot of damage to some of the trees. I like the trees that we have here: spruce and pine and sassafras and hickory and walnut; however, in this condition, they do not create an effective windbreak at all.
Once this is cleared out, not only will I be able to put up the fence and maintain it; but I can begin planting to strengthen these weakened windbreaks. Because of tight space, the windbreak cannot be more than 2 rows and in some areas only one. And, so, one project leads to the next…