Sanders County Ledger - Your Best Source For Sanders County News

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October 31, 2019

50 YEARS AGO • OCTOBER 23, 1969


Harvest operations are in full swing at the David Lawyer Nursery, a comparatively new operation which specializes in providing wholesale understocks for nurseries all over the United States which sell directly to consumers. An added problem this fall at the Lawyer Nursery is the fact that Dave underwent cranial surgery Friday in the University of Colorado Medical Center at Denver and this shifts the burden to Mrs. Esther Lawyer.

The business of supplying root stocks to other nurseries was started on a full-time basis three years ago and each year since, the Lawyers’ business has doubled. This fall, they already have orders booked from Oregon, Tennessee, Oklahoma, New Jersey and other states for their stock which will be delivered in the spring. The trees and shrubs and understocks which are taken from the ground now are stored in a huge underground cellar, in which the temperature is controlled. Then in late winter, shipments begin.

Lawyer operates the only nursery in Montana which specializes in wholesaling understocks and already Dave has introduced a number of firsts, including the use of native hawthorn for understocks (pear shoots, for instance can be grafted on hawthorn understock). He introduced the use of Bittenselder from Germany (a European wild apple) and obtains a hardy crab apple seed from Russia. Most apple trees that are sold are grafted onto a hardy understock, malus. The understock usually is a crab apple of some sort. Certain rootstocks or understocks have the benefit of resistance or tolerance to disease and insects, poorly drained soil, improved hardiness, increased productivity and tree size control, i.e. dwarf, semi dwarf or standard size.

A number of native plants found in western Montana are used. Two Missoula high school boys were employed to collect a pickup load of berries from mountain ash trees growing along residential streets in the Garden City.

The Lawyers first started growing mountain ash by planting bear droppings, which contained the seeds left from the mountain ash berries.

Another shrub, Douglasii (commonly known as western, pink or rose spirea) was obtained from one of the big islands in the Clark Fork River located east of the mouth of Thompson River.

While the bulk of the Lawyers’ nursery production involves root stocks, they also grow many fruit and ornamental trees, and each year are doing more grafting on to their own understocks.

At present, Lawyer is experimenting with a new hardy walnut tree, which he hopes will be satisfactory for the colder climates.

Assisting Mrs. Lawyer in digging the rootstocks, trees and shrubs before cold weather makes the ground unworkable are Mrs. Rod Lenz of Plains and Larry Dewey, a Plains High School student who helps after school and on weekends.

An Austrian digging attachment is used behind the tractor. The attachment digs under the roots and then shakes the earth to loosen the soil around the roots.

The plants then are placed immediately in plastic sacks so air does not dry the roots.

Lawyer Nursery, located between Thompson Falls and Plains, closed in 2018.



Deer hunting was excellent; elk hunting was poor opening day in Sanders County.

Bob Henderson, wildlife biologist for the Dept. of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, said Tuesday fewer elk were checked through the three checking stations in operation opening day than in previous opening days. However, more whitetail and mule deer kills were reported.

One of the most successful hunting parties opening day was the one composed of Bob Taylor, Stan Hoekema and Glenn Haas. Taylor got a six-point bull elk, and the other two a cow each.

Martin Gebhardt of Plains and Richard Gebhardt of Missoula bagged a cow and a calf.

Another hunter getting his winter’s elk meat opening day was Ray Olmstead of Plains.

Hunters bagging deer the opening day were:

Whitetails: Darryl Grimm, Herschel Godfrey, Ira Soule, Michael Delong, Ken Gausnell, Jim Broden, Jacob Repp, Tom Benton, all of Thompson Falls; Dennis Dawson, Charles Brackett, Lenora Lewis, Jessie Steward, Sam Steward, Brad Hadley, all of Plains; Dan Galarneau, Dixon; Jerry Eichert, Trout Creek.

Mule deer: Vicky McDaniel, Larry Watters, Judy Miller, all of Thompson Falls; Jay Ovitt, Jeff Low, Bob Heckman, George Ness, Patsy Meredith, all of Plains.


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