Lately I’ve been bugged by how close my apple tree is growing to my mandarin orange tree. It seems like it’s going to just push it out of the way. I’m sure that when they were planted they seemed far enough apart, but not anymore. The Mandarin is huge and fruitful and the apple is not as huge and definitely not as fruitful. My town is very hot in the summer and not really the best environment for apples, and honestly, I just value the Mandarins more than I do the apples. So recently I decided I had to do something about it before the apple got any bigger.
At first I thought I’d just get someone to cut it down – cut my losses, so to speak, but that seemed harsh. So a couple of weeks ago I spoke with a Nurseryman at the Farmer’s Market and he told me how to cut it way back and then dig it up. He said that it should have a small top to balance with the root ball, so the roots didn’t have too much to support at first. That made sense to me, and so I decided I would transplant my apple tree. I went home and wiggled it a little, and it seemed pretty loose, so I thought this was a project I could handle. He warned me that it had to be done within two weeks before it blossoms, so last Saturday was the day. I talked it over with my son and he agreed we could do it this weekend. I especially liked that idea. The “We” part really appealed to me.
Saturday morning dawned cold and clear, with a sky full of puffy clouds. I was still in the aftermath of my coffee temper tantrum of the day before, but I went out for coffee with my friends anyway. As I left the cafe, having reinvigorated my grouchiness by talking about it, I decided I needed a walk, so I headed out to the tree farm. Do you have one of those in your town? It is so beautiful, and the perfect place to let go of a head of steam. I walked and took pictures, stopped to meditate for a few minutes and then went home to face the apple tree. (Below is a shot of the bamboo grove at the tree farm. So cool!)
When I arrived home, my son was gone, as I suspected he would be, so I got out the shovel and got started without him. I trimmed the top, then began to dig. I dug and jiggled and dug and jiggled until finally I had a root ball loosened. My plan was to replant it at my daughter’s house. She has an acre of prime topsoil where I’m sure it’ll be happy. At least I hope it will. I found the sheet I use to cover plants in the frost and wrapped it around the root ball. This tree was so heavy. It was beginning to get sort of big, but I was determined about this course of action. I pulled and carried, and finally stuffed it in the back of my Prius and off I went. I dug another hole, in that lovely topsoil and planted it in its new home. I came back and filled in the hole in my yard, and with arms scratched and bleeding and an aching body, I rested, satisfied with myself. Now to figure out how close I can plant a lemon tree out by the Mandarin. Buying a house that’s got a landscaped yard isn’t without responsibility! It’s an ongoing experience, and I wear my gardening battle scars happily.