A Walk Through Sam's Place

Japanese beetles are definitely a scourge for tree/shrub growers. They are without question the most destructive pest to deal with in our area...by far . They alone make it nearly impossible to grow an apple without routine pesticide spraying, which is a real shame. Apple trees will never get to a size or age where they will be able to produce well without routine and persistent spraying. One of the older local orchards that is no longer in operation has hundreds of full sized trees planted. They get destroyed each season by the Japs. I heard that the owner was fined for "orchard neglect" as there are other nearby orchards planted with rows upon rows of dwarf trees that could suffer from unchecked diseases and pests. Whether that is the case or not, these beautiful trees used to be loaded with apples, but now look like they have the plague every season, and almost all of the apples get aborted or eaten. You would think that in this day and age that someone would come up with a way to set these things back significantly. They have to cost commercial plant/fruit growers hundreds of millions each year.
Nice to see this thread up and running over here. Great pictures and updates, thanks for sharing.
Where did Japanese beetles come from? I do not remember them from 10-15 years back. But you are right, they are quite destructive. I do not use much Sevin but will throw some of those beetles anytime I see them.
Japanese beetles are from...drumroll...Japan. Part of our "global economy", I guess. I am a free trade guy personally, but could have done without this one. Hope we traded them chiggers in return :).
They have been migrating across the country for the past hundred years actually. The first one supposedly came over in a shipment of Irises in 1912. Like you, they were non-existent in my area when I was a kid. In fact, I never saw one until moving back to Missouri in 2002. My farm property was spared until this year. Now they will be a part of the summer landscape.
Typically I have used permethrin and Triazicide on my fruit trees to combat Japs, but have mixed results...at least as far as longevity goes. I am thinking about going with Devon which is quite effective for 7-10 days. In the past I avoided it as it thins apples to some degree, but now that they are producing more heavily some thinning is probably good anyway.
Happy Birthday Sam! Our little guy would have been 8 years old today. Man, how time flies. Suspect he's peddling a bicycle around Heaven today.
Got to spend a couple of days out there this week. Saw a few interesting things. Will post some pictures soon.
Well, as I mentioned above, I got to spend a couple of days last week out at Sam's Place. I always like to tidy things up before his Momma comes out. Then we celebrate his birthday with a project. This year we cleaned up around a beautiful old post oak, and put in a rope swing. My father says he wants to be buried beneath that tree when he is gone. I didn't get a picture of the completed project, but will add one in the future.
During my first day, I checked on my newly planted plots. They were seeded and fertilized about 9 days earlier, but had only received about 0.2" of rain since they were planted, and had been enduring 90+ degree heat every day. To my surprise, some decent germination had occurred. This is a portion of a "U" shaped plot planted in wheat, oats, and some brassicas.
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This is another section of the same plot. When I arrived there was a groundhog feeding on the young wheat plants. If you look just to the right of the locust tree you can see him exiting the field. Groundhogs are not a common sight on Sam's Place due to the high cover.
It's hard to tell from the photo, but the area surrounding this plot is infested with sericea and Johnson grass. These are both hard to combat. Rather than fight a never ending battle, I have tried to turn lemons into lemonade. I mow wide trails through this 8' tall cover which the deer use to maneuver through this area. The trails have to be wide enough to allow them to feel safe from predators. Eight feet seems to be about right. These trails see a lot of activity during the rut as bucks search for does.
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The larger butterfly in this photo must have been a female, because she had a host of smaller butterflies chasing her around. This section of the same plot is planted strictly in brassicas...rape, turnips, and radishes.
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Here is a plot I refer to as the "Landing Strip". It was planted in a mixture last season which included Durana and Medium red clover. The clover has stood up to our SEVERE drought quite well.
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Speaking of drought, barely an inch of rain fell on Sam's Place in August, and only about 1.5 inches in July, even while nearby areas received inches more. Here is a picture of the lake. It is down to just a small stream. The only time it was lower was the drought of 2012, and then not by much.
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The whole time I was working on the first day, thunder clouds like these rolled past. I could see rain and lightening less than a mile away, but not a drop hit my place.
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Even the most drought hardy trees like persimmons, osage, and locusts were looking sick and dropping leaves. Here is a locust that has dropped over half of its leaves, while the rest have yellowed.
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Many of the hundreds (perhaps thousands) of persimmons that are located across the property were brown or leafless. Others had a more normal appearance, and nearly all the females were loaded in fruit. This small tree was hanging close to the ground for easy picking.
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These trees are just about 3 feet tall, but loaded with fruit. I have had trees shorter than 2 feet with fruit on them. Not sure if they were precocious bearers or just slow growers in this particular area.
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Many of these trees are growing in an area I call "the glade." This is a 7 acre area that was mostly native grass when I bought the property. It is in a bowl surrounded by hardwoods, and I have always been hesitant to burn it. Woody brush like sumac as well as small trees like cedar and persimmons are now a predominant portion of the glade. In its current state it is a mecca for big deer movement during the rut. In a few years it will need to be burned back, but I am not quite ready for that yet!
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