Treenut Home | projects | reforest | 1999


Spring 1999:

April 18, 1999: Marked out and staked walnut rows:

I wanted to establish some sort of reference in this 45 acre field. The corn stubble currently made a very nice reference but I knew that this would soon decompose and be gone. I wasn't sure the walnut rows would become visible quickly enough to give us reference for future planting.

I put in three rows of stakes perpendicular to the corn rows. One near the south end, one near the middle and one at the north end of the walnut rows. I marked each walnut row with a stake and then I spray painted a numeric color code on each stake. I used the resistor code of:

  • (0) Black
  • (1) Brown
  • (2) Red
  • (3) Orange
  • (4) Yellow
  • (5) Green
  • (6) Blue
  • (7) Gray
  • (8) Violet
  • (9) White

For row numbers greater than 9 I would put two stripes (eg. the number 14 would have a brown stripe on top and a yellow stripe below). I had developed this coding system for our field research plots at UW, Madison.

I attracted quite a crowd for this process - more by coincidence than anything. Many of my relatives had heard about our re-forestation project and had heard that I would be working in the field that day and they stopped by to see what was going on. It was nice to see everyone. And it gave me excuses for breaks.

Spring 1999: Now that the corn has been harvested and the walnuts are seeded in (not in that order) and have had a year to grow - it's time to begin interplanting the evergreens.

April 21, 1999: Pre-planting herbicide treatment

We hired co-op to spray a pre-emerge herbicide on the entire 'back 40' in an attempt to control some of the weeds that had moved in so quickly once the corn was removed.

Princep @ 2 qts / acre in 25 Gal water /acre

May 8-9, 1999:

  • 3000 White Pine 2-0
  • 3000 White Spruce 2-0
  • 1000 Red Oak 2-0
  • 3000 Hybrid Poplar (Sticks)

We began planting on Row #50 (this extends from the north/west corner of the spruce patch back to the north fence of the farm). We planted the entire length of the 'top 40' following the corn rows from the stubble that was still standing after harvest. We moved towards the east (towards the road) for as far as the trees would last. We knew we didn't have enough trees to cover this whole area so we tried to stretch them by skipping two rows of walnuts for every row we planted between. This means we should have a row of walnut, a row of pine, two rows of walnut (with a gap) and another row of pine (or oak). Pretty sparce as I think back but it seemed to make sense at the time.

Planting 1999
Planting like it's 1999

Transplanting 1999 - Sunday May 9th


  1. Jordan has mastered following not-so-straight corn rows under tall weeds. 
  2. Re-charging the planter's "lift" battery
  3. Re-charging Jordan's battery
  4. Debi in the "afterglow" after planting ~3500 of the 7000 trees.
  5. Debi and Roland in the middle of it - "just get em in the ground...". 

This was our first experience with a tree planter. We rented this from the Polk County DNR for some small amount per 1000 trees planted (I think). I rented a tractor from our neighbor and the whole process worked very well.

The planter has a scalper which 'plows' a trench in front of the planting mechanism. This gives the new transplants a few inches on either side that is clear of sod (grass competition). This bare ground fills in very quickly with annuals (like goldenrod) but these don't offer as much competition for water as does grass, This is deceptive because even though they grow very tall and seem to fill in the space with their leaves and flower heads, if you look at the ground around them you still see a lot of bare space and the new transplants don't feel nearly as crowded as they do with grass.

[Continue to next year...]