By Doug Bush, Supervisor
With so many choices out there, which apple tree should I get? This time of the year all the retailers are offering young apple trees for sale. They do this because so many of us take this time of year to buy and plant new trees. In the past I have not had the success I should have had when planting my new trees. Some young trees have died, others have failed in providing very many apples. I decided this year before I made another purchase, I would get some educated advice. When I need advice on agriculture, I usually ask Jody Carpenter. Jody Carpenter is the WV extension agent for Barbour and Randolph Count. He is a knowledgeable and always helpful reference. These are his recommendations when choosing and planting apple trees.
“These are considerations you should make before buying an apple or fruit tree. The first consideration is the variety of the tree. You should pick a variety that is disease resistant and tolerant to your soils and yield the fruit of your liking. Once you choose your variety then look closely at each tree, looking for signs of disease or insect problems. Check both sides of the leaves and in whorls for insects. Look at the trunk and stems for cracks and sunken areas. When planting the tree, you want to choose an area that is well drained with deep soil. Observe your yard after a rain event, where the water stands longer than 7 hours, don’t plant your trees in that area. After you plant your tree, don’t forget to continue your care. Your tree will need proper care and pruning throughout its life.”
The Tygarts Valley Conservation District would like to announce the sign-ups for agriculture enhancement programs will be April 19 – May 21. Cost share practices offered this year are: lime, nutrient management, fertilizer, pasture division fence, water exclusion fence, invasive species management, heavy use protection area, livestock watering systems, pollinator habitat, roof run off, and urban agriculture. To qualify, you must be or become a district cooperator by signing up at our office in Philippi, have a farm map that can be picked up at your local county NRCS or FSA office and have recent soil sample results. If you have any questions about our Agriculture Enhancement Program, please call our office at 304-457-3026.
A unique program being offered to the public this year is the Hybrid American Chestnut Project. This program, through a combined effort of the Conservation Service Agency, Wes-Mon-Ty, and Conservation Districts will offer cost shares on the purchase of American Chestnut trees. The American Chestnut tree once covered the hills of West Virginia. Its wood was extremely strong, light and rot resistant. Chestnuts were a major source of food for animals and humans. Then early in the 20th century a blight fungus killed nearly four billion American Chestnut trees. The Dunstan American Chestnut tree being offered is blight-resistant. The program offers 2 trees for proper pollination, starter fertilizer and tree protectors for a cost share price of $40.00. There is a limit of 2 trees and time on the offer. For a chance to get your trees you can contact Donnie Tenney at firstname.lastname@example.org or the Tygarts Valley Conservation District at 304-457-3026.