Our oldest plum tree had reached the end of its life this summer. It was a minimal producer since we've lived here (maybe 5 plums per summer) but this summer, it hardly even had leaves and most of the branches were dry and lifeless. So the other day, J took the chainsaw and he and Ry turned it into firewood. Without a truck of our own, branches are bulky and awkward to dispose of. So I snapped them into smallish pieces to keep for kindling this winter. (There's something so satisfying about preparing food and supplies for winter, don't you think?)
J has developed a wee obsession with Evans cherries since we saw how well they produce in a friend's backyard. We called Millcreek Nursery and they had just one established Evans cherry remaining for sale. We got a 25% discount since it's the end of the season, but of course then there's no warranty on the tree. It was exciting to see how tall it was - probably 10 feet tall already at about 7 years old.
And we had just the spot for it - except for a certain pesky plum tree stump to get rid of. Last time we took out a dead tree, we hired a guy with a stump grinder. This time, another friend with equipment and know-how came over to help out.
J and Ry dug deep around the roots, then they attached the straps to the stump after wrapping the other end of them around a nearby sturdy apple tree. Inch by inch, our friend cinched in the straps as J chopped at the roots with a heavy ax. Then they pushed at it from the bottom with a jack-all while increasing the tension on the straps. It came out like a rotten, loose tooth, and the apple tree never even faltered!
With the stump out of the way, they had to dig the hole deeper and wider to plant the new tree.
J was appalled at the poor soil quality around the roots, and quickly stirred together a concoction of the present clay, compost, ashes and spent coffee grounds that we get in big bags from Starbucks. In our urban setting, there's not much in the way of well-rotted manure to be had, but we'll probably purchase some of the bagged stuff from one of the home and garden stores and water it in well.
So the new cherry tree got planted and stands tall, proud and leafless in its new spot. We're looking forward to more cherry blossoms come spring!