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We Planted 800 More Trees

Updated: Sep 3, 2023

This spring was very productive here at Mad Cat Farm, as we expanded our nursery to more acreage nearby. We started the year by adding 800 new fruit trees to our collection, including many varieties of apples, pears, cherries, persimmons, pawpaws, chestnuts, hazelnuts and more.

Newly planted fruit trees in our nursery.
Newly planted fruit trees at the MCF nursery.

Last year's severe drought and erratic weather took a huge toll on our younger trees, killing many of our persimmons and apples. We will replant these next year and continue to add new varieties. Our goal is to make scion of unique and resilient fruit varieties available in abundance.

Large cracks in the soil from severe drought.
Large cracks in the soil from severe drought in 2022.

Late in the winter, we ripped contoured (keyline) strips across the field at the new MCF nursery location: 40 acres of pasture and hills. This will provide plenty of room to expand our fruit tree and perennial collections and will hold our apple, peach and cherry breeding experiments; and our entire Jerusalem artichoke and elderberry collections.

We start by ripping a keyline pattern (similar to contours) across the property with a heavy duty soil ripper.

Tree planting preparation by ripping channels in the soil.
Ripping deep channels into the soil.

Next, we strip-till the ripped pathways to make for easier tree planting. This creates an ideal environment for root development and makes planting quick and efficient. The soil will not be tilled again, but will be mulched with hay in the future to develop soil life and retain moisture. A similar method is also used in syntropic agroforestry systems.

Strip tilling the keyline pattern to make initial planting easier.
Strip-tilling the keyline pattern.
A row prepped for tree planting.
A row prepped for tree planting.

We will continue to share updates and progress as our fruit trees mature and scion becomes available. Scion sales will open around December, 2023, but will be very limited.

In the meantime, be well and happy growing!

Rudbeckia flowering outside the greenhouse.
Rudbeckia flowering outside the greenhouse.

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