by Tammy Taylor
I’ve tried & tried to plant fruit trees around my garden our yard but for some reason they simply will not grow in those locations. Recently I decided I wanted to try a pear tree since back in ‘the day’ all homesteads in this area had pear trees, as they were very easy to grow & could produce lots of fruit for the household. I decided not to plant it in my yard – both for my poor backyard soil issue as well as fallen fruit messes and instead I planted it a short distance from our yard. But this area is accessible to the cows & you know how cattle are – they love to rub on trees and this little sapling didn’t stand a chance if left unprotected. I needed a way to keep the cows away from it long enough to give it a fighting chance. I like to repurpose what we’ve already got to serve a need whenever possible so I put on my thinking cap & started looking around the ranch for supplies.
We had an old hay ring that wasn’t very helpful these days for feeding the cattle as years of use had caused it to be missing some of the top retainer rings. So we turned it upside down and placed it around the tree. This would allow the cows to poke their heads in & eat the grass close to the tree but not be able to reach the tree itself.
Unfortunately we discovered the cows still rub on the ring and pushed it right over our poor little sapling. I thought for sure it was a goner but surprisingly it sprouted back. So we used a couple of 2-ft long pieces of steel rebar pounded into the ground and a little baling wire to attach them to the ring to keep it from moving. But again the cows rubbed & pushed on the hayring & drug it right across the sapling, once again laying it all the way down on the ground. I guess when you have a 1,500 lb animal rubbing on something it really needs to be stabilized. But against all odds it looks like there are tiny buds trying to sprout on the tree again.
Not to be deterred RancherMan installed two full-sized t-posts on either end of the ring, pounded deep into the ground. He then double-wired each of them in several places along their length to the ring. He replaced the rebar to opposing sides of the ring and wired them in as well, thereby anchoring the ring from all four sides. This should certainly keep this protective ring from moving.
Then I used some nylon baling twine that was left after feeding hay to the cows to tie up the tree to three sides of the ring so the strong spring winds that are so prevalent here won’t rock the tree too hard. This should allow this little tree to dig its roots deep into the soil and finally have a chance to grow strong.
This little pear tree has been such a trooper and I’m anxious to see how it takes off this spring. And I’m glad that I’m able to give it a fighting chance by using items we already had on the ranch to protect it. Repurposing items to another use is not only good for the environment but good for the budget (and the TREE) as well.