When I was young (as in much young-er), it never occurred to me that the vast "hand-managed" landscape that I call "my yard" would ever become a thing of constant change. Looking back at old pictures reminds me of how trees, plants and grasses are living, ever-evolving things! Now that I've "arrived" at the threshold of "age and wisdom", I find that hindsight clearly is more revealing and accurate than foresight! I had previously written an article titled: "Some Thoughts On Garden Planning," which dealt primarily with managing volume, size, and workloads in gardening. This article involves primarily trees and the "involuntary" or "natural" events that can affect them. Whether we are city or country dwellers, we are sometimes faced with tough decisions concerning them.
I can write this with some degree of accuracy involving things that will (and do) change the face of our properties, farms, yards, and homes. This is not said with any special insight or "secret" knowledge base. It is a result of a lifetime of experience and realization that time changes everything! I am reminded of the book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible, which states, "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;" ...Now I am not advocating that anyone get out there and start pulling up plants or cutting down trees! I am only saying that times, circumstances, and natural events occur, which affect all our lives in some way: And of a certainty, this will include our homes and landscapes. This paragraph shows the pictures of two apple trees that I hand planted as tiny "whips" in 1974. I lost the one at left in 2014, and just last month removed the one at right. Both were given my best care, yet died of what appears to have been "natural" causes. Both came in the mail originally from Stark Brothers Nursery: and both required a chain saw and pick-up truck to carry them away! This is one illustration of how our landscapes can change involuntarily. Read on for more.
In the above four photos, we lost yet another large white oak tree, which I estimate to have been near 100 years of age. In 2014 we had lost another, which I think was at least as old. Both stumps can be seen in the second picture above, and for months now they have been a negative part of our landscape. For well over 30 odd years the trees provided shade, shelter, and nests for birds and squirrels. They gave cooling shade for a large part of the lawn north of the garage area. I do not know the cause of death of these large trees, but I was told that Emerald Ash Borers had begun to attack other species. I saw no evidence of them in either tree. Rotted, hollow places were primarily found in the horizontal branches, where birds had built nests, and squirrels had made homes. Rotted hollows can be seen in the pile of logs near the yellow truck in the picture at the right above. It is impossible to know for sure exactly what caused the loss of these beautiful old trees. Land and home owners can expect these mysteries in addition to electrical and wind storms, tornadoes, and winter icing on branches. These all can lead to very treacherous conditions.
In the pictures here are scenes of actual stump grinding which was completed this week. It has taken me all these weeks just to get the equipment and qualified people out here to get started. (Do not entrust this job to just anyone: Check out their references and track record. Do they have liability insurance? All of this is important for these jobs.
) I am glad to get this wrapped up before winter. These jobs are all factors in our ever-changing landscapes. And depending on our needs and priorities, they must be done!
The two pictures at left show the trees that were lost in the scenes above. They had been a welcome addition to our landscape for so many years. We are a "tree" family, and our children remember the rope swings that hung from several trees when they were just kids. Too bad we didn't save pictures of those, but then there were no digital cameras in those days. The picture at right was during an ice storm on December 19, 2008. Huge limbs were broken by the weight of the thick ice. Despite the damages of heavy ice, the tree still lived on until 2014. That's when we had it removed.
I suppose I've been a fool all my life for everything that grows naturally, especially trees. I remember this poem from my second-grade class. I share it here for those who might not be familiar with it.
"Trees," by Joyce Kilmer
I think that I shall never see A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day, And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in Summer wear A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain; Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me, But only God can make a tree.