FAYETTE — Attendees at Thursday night’s agricultural tour viewed trees of different species and sizes, as a tractor, driven by tree grower Larry Henneke, took them through the farm.
More than 75 people attended the 2018 Howard County Farm Tour, organized by University of Missouri Extension in Howard County in cooperation with the Howard County Soil and Water Conservation District and the Howard County Cattlemen’s Association.
While the lack of rain this summer was not good for trees, Henneke said after the tour it did not harm trees that were already healthy. Infirmed trees have problems sooner, and for some of these, the dry summer could have been the final straw. However, if trees are well-watered and fertilized, chances are they will remain healthy.
“Trees withstand drought pretty well,” Henneke said.
Among the other dendrological information imparted during the tour, Henneke said watering a tree too much can result in more damage than not watering it enough. “Trees are like growing soybeans,” he said while showing trees planted a year ago. “It just takes more time.”
Every tree at the farm gets fertilized in the spring and sprayed with herbicide. Henneke also recommended those who grow trees to prune them at least once a year. “If you think you are pruning too much, you aren’t,” he said.
Attendees also got to view a demonstration on both how to plant and dig up a tree, as well as some pruning techniques.
Fayette farmers John and Peggy Vaughn attend the farm tours about once every two years to learn more about how to care for the 40 acres of trees on their land. John Vaughn said they have been farmers ever since his wife inherited a farm 25 years ago.
“It’s quite an operation they have here,” he said. “It was very informative.”
Fayette resident Doris Earl said she has been frequenting farm tours for the past 10 years. She was raised on a dairy and owns an agriculture store. “You learn how people make a living,” she said. “They do something different every year.”
Fayette resident Penny Van Duzer attended the event at the urging of a friend, but said she has always been interested in farm tours. “There are so many different species of trees that I never knew about (until today),” she said.
Van Duzer’s friend, Rosie Thornton, said this was an event she had to attend. “It was interesting,” she said.