Sunday, April 8, 2012

We pain "stake"ingly made the wrong decision - 18 March 2012

After only nine months, our organic stakes (which we were promised would last 10 - 15 years in the ground) proved not to have made the grade. They are rotting off at a rate and the slightest wind blows them over.

So the search for new, thicker, taller, treated stakes started again. I contacted David and he immediately came to the rescue (thanks David!). He offered his secondhand stakes at a very reasonable price, se we opted to buy some from him and fetched the first batch in middle March. The car can unfortunately only take that much, so we will have to make a couple of trips to the Kapiti Olive grove.

The stakes are about a meter long and without sharp ends. After Gerry sharpened most of the first batch, we started hammering them in. Again quite a tedious task and hard on the body. But we are very happy to now also be able to tie the trees up a bit higher, since a lot of them bent over with the shorter stakes, looking like question marks and growing into weird shapes. In my infinite wisdom I thought the only reason for staking trees, is to prevent root-shake. But it turned out that the trees grew so fast that they quickly reached three times the height of the old stakes! And with all that growth, the main stems are fairly thin still, and not able to hold the canopy of the tree upright, hence strong winds and last year's snow snapped some of them in half.

An 83km wind also blew over some 20 odd trees recently. The tiniest ones that were still staked with bamboo, suffered the most. A lot of the bamboo stakes also started rotting in the soil and snapped off.

We started fixing the worst-off trees first, using our first batch of new stakes, but we definitely need to make another trip for more stakes soon.

The original short stakes and the new solid taller stake. Much better.

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