Saving trees. Now and into the future.
I walked under this tree tonight, it’s not mine. It belongs to my oldest customer literally and figuratively.
I had recommended that she have a tree guy do some preventative work on it like cutting off the dead wood, the suckers, and perhaps one or two limbs.
Well, the guy she hired to do it sure made a mess of it. He left 3-4” of wood past the “collar” where one is supposed to cut adding two or three DECADES to the callousing-over of the wound in a beginner act of foolish, immature, below par work. A tree almost 200 years old deserves better. Anyone who has an arborist license needs to do his work well or all the rest suffer from potential maligning of reputations. I looked up at that tree that I had come to admire and was PISSED that an jerk with a chainsaw and a bucket truck could hack up an almost 200 year old organism like that grand old red oak.
The vertical branches rising off the main branches are called suckers, and even though they needed to go, this so called “expert” left them on the tree. Why, I DUNNO!
I called my customer to ask who did the work, offering to call him, talk to him, and ask him to go back and fix what he did, apologizing at the same time for inserting myself where I really did not belong, but if it weren’t for interventions like this, some bad things could happen. Plus, guys like this need to be caught and educated so they do not go and destroy hundreds of years of careful years of growth by the tree... messing up someone else’s prized possessions!
Average red oak rings measure approx 11-15 years per inch of radius with wet soil yielding less rings per inch and dry high land yielding up to 25 years of age per inch! This tree has an appropriate diameter of 3.5’ which is, I figure, over 250 years old. One white oak tree I was cutting up for firewood was perfect. I sliced off a piece an inch wide and brought it home. My 7 year old son and I counted the rings and it was a seedling the year president Lincoln was killed. That trunk was smaller than this tree.
Still pretty cold out!
Its not T-shirt weather yet that’s fo-sure. Yet another fire tonight to keep us comfortable.
Not too many people want to toil in the yard when it’s cold and windy outside.
ONE tulip survived for over 40 years here, escaping deer to flower each and every year looking for a mate in vain.
Rare mukdenia flowering this afternoon in the almost setting sun. Great plant that once established lives forever as a great groundcover.
Yet another pink dogwood moving into a more permanent home as the new parents watched!
colorful Swiss chard survived last night’s hard frost
Euphorbia with its hardy foliage looking colorful already during a miserably cold April.
Starting fires FAST
I just got home from work. 10-12-14 hour days. I don’t mind unless it’s slow. It’s SLOW. I mind. The weather our industry relies on to grow plants and sell them has been uncooperative this spring. As you know today was not conducive for doing this and that in the yard. Despite that, hardy souls did come in and bought trees. Damn cold though, and right now my face is windburned and raw and the rest of my body is not comfortable... wood stove hasn’t warmed up the house yet.
Instructions for starting a fire FAST:
place flatish pieces on the bottom, bigger pieces on the sides. Bark facing away from the center
Cardboard goes on top with the previous fire’s charcoal on top of that. Curve the cardboard to conform to the cupping of the wood on bottom.
Put smallish pieces on top to form a roof. If the coals are still hot they light the cardboard without a match. If not, light the cardboard accordingly.
Tonight I did not need a match- it started right up. This is true with rain wet wood as well. Rain wet wood burns immediately also- the rain is irrelevant.
Within three minutes of this construction the fire was off and running and my bones are about to be comforted by my incredible wood burning stove. My July gas bill is $45.00. My January gas bill is- ummmmm- $45.00. Wood heat ain’t for everyone, but once you have discovered the joy of wood heat, you’ll never ever go back to any other source of heat.
Peetee sniffing and merrying-up the kids who were totally bored with their parent’s choice to nursery shop until Peetee joined them. They wanted to leave until Peetee showed up, then they didn’t want to go!
She impressed the kids with her airborne leap up on top of this skid of potting soil, then with her curious consoling and leaning into their caresses.
Peetee oversaw the loading of a “little twist” flowering cherry today.
Thanks to her, the tree made it into the truck unharmed!
She was nowhere to be found though when Bart needed his plum loaded. Slackard!!!
Somehow everything went well, even without her.
Pink dogwood sold today so patio dwellers can enjoy its year-round attributes.
View at dawn this morning. I thought- "storms-a-coming." But it held off 'till tonight-good. We got loads of work done today. Good productive work. I felt today was the real "weatherwise" first day of spring.
Incredibly cool emerging leaves of red buckeye plant joining us in the nursery hour by hour. DON'T smoke it!
Someone came in to buy plants that would offer privacy today. Because I had a few big ones, it worked out. We got them delivered before dark- Just squeezed in before the rain. Tore up his yard though because the soil is so squishy. Two years from now there will be nice privacy.
Roots, stumps, and boulders meant that we needed to make a berm to offer protection to the root system. It's a tried and true way to plant trees in impossible situations! Trees planted like this NEVER die!
It’s FINALLY spring.
Pretty crummy weather for the last month. I haven’t felt like doing stuff outside in my yard at all, and not many others have either from what I can tell. But that doesn’t stop Mother Nature’s other critters (plants) from proceeding with their life cycle. Weeds weeds weeds in the lawn and wherever else they can grab a hold of.
Weeping Katsura tree leaves emerging in their characteristic maroonish coloration- unique to this species. I’ve had this particular tree for about fifteen years and it was with mixed feelings that I loaded it and tons of other trees into my truck so it could be planted on a 200 acre estate two hours north of NYC yesterday.
The first barn swallows are back!!!
Barn swallows have nested in our warehouse forever. I cut a hole with a chainsaw in the warehouse door so they can forage before we open and after we close for the night after noticing how pissed they were when they got locked out or kept in against their will. These birds eat millions of insects per year each, and this feeding begins at early dawn and goes on all day long until dark- don’t get me wrong- they play also. I see them "wrestling" with each other (bird wrestling=sixty mile an hour acrobatics that would make the blue angels look like beginner/novice/inexperienced pilots).
A decade or so ago I would be opening the doors of the warehouse around six am in the summer, and would step outside to attach the doors securely and the barn swallows that were stuck outside all night were PISSED!!! They circled around like angry hornets, buzzed past my head directly to their nests where their hungry and cold babies were either unattended all night long or attended by just one parent. A dull light bulb slowly brightened above my head and turned into the idea that these birds needed to be able to come and go as they pleased, and out came the chain saw. Admittedly strange thing to do. Who cuts holes in doors for birds to come and go as they please??? Me, I guess- I just felt sorry for them, and after that I watched them more carefully.
Barn swallows are the high tech fighter jets of the bird world, twisting and turning through the air so fast you really struggle to see them for long. The short video clip I posted captures a millisecond of the first noticed returnee this year, an illegal immigrant without papers or documentation, having flown all the way from Brazil (I think). This particular bird turns on a dime in my video so fast that it must have been pulling a ten G turn, a force of nature that would kill a human.
Take a minute to observe nature, there are great rewards and great frustration also, with the bird populations collapsing as the insect populations are eradicated by humans each year (75% less insects today than in 1970). Chickadee populations are 50% less today than in 1960. Hey- do you think it has something to do with the SUVs we drive, or the chemicals we put on our lawns??? Maybe the coal burning power plants, and global warming... who knows. Correction- I heard one more chickadee Saturday. That makes three this spring.
The hole that I cut into the door is about 7" by 7" and is about 7' off the ground. When they want to fly inside with meals for their babies, they circle around outside a few times then dart through the hole without slowing down. The microprocessor in my brain/eye notices their micro-adjustments as they go through the hole at approximately forty miles an hour (?). In and out, in and out, all day long, bugs in beak.
They are really interesting birds to have around. I root for them, hoping for lots of children produced yearly from our lives here. Last year was sad, with no more than five or seven sitting on the wires before their long flight back to South America first week of August. I don’t know why they died. How do they know when to go back to Brazil? How THE HELL do they get back here on the same day each year? How do birds less than a year old build a nest for the first time? People tell me it's "instinct" but I call that explanation inadequate! What is instinct? Some protein-molecule? I don't get it. Never have, never will.
This year is another year, though, and I've decided to have the guys sweep the floor of the warehouse instead of using a blower so any airborne particles are minimized. gotta keep the baby birds healthy. We species gotta look out for each other!
LINK TO ARTICLE:
I also heard something on NPR this am that I was disgusted about, and it caused me to look this up...
The single biggest killer of birds in the WORLD is glass windows. Homes/buildings/cars. We are killing everything on the planet (un) or intentionally, and each of us has gotta see if we can do our part to fix this slaughter. About a billion birds per year killed just in the US of A because of our windows!
Its unfair to present a problem without a solution. This was my first result:
some of this stuff sounds too strange.
Lupine plant flowering again this month with water droplets beading up on the leaves. Mankind could toil at the task of designing this plant for a thousand years and never succeed. How does mother nature design plants? It's a mystery. But this plant can return yearly to make your life more interesting! Something to look forward to in the spring.
Red buckeye foliage emerging from the overwintering bud at hourly rates- incredibly fast growth measured by the half-hour. Pull up a chair and a glass of wine and watch this plant flower, incredible.
Best nursery dog ever (Peetee), solid muscle no fat, all love and comfort. She keeps our lives here at the nursery feeling like we are home toiling around our house instead of being at a large nursery. Wanna get up on the tables for a hug? No prob.
Redbud tree flowering yesterday. Insane blossoms delighting people who walk past this display. Appalachian red redbud.
Cherokee brave cultivar of pink dogwood in yesterday's morning sun. We have ZEE BEST dogwoods one can buy. Straight trunks, full heads, covered in flowers even when young. Birds eat the berries in the fall, The best flowering tree you can buy for multi-season happiness.
Sunburned face/wood burning stove.
Typical spring day with variable temps, clouds, wind, sun. More birds chirping now, nobody needs an alarm clock. It was really cold when I got home and had to crank up the wood burning stove.
Star magnolia glowing profusely in the afternoon sun. This is a great flowering year for magnolias and I’m not sure why.
Three dimensional leaves unfurling on a red buckeye plant. This rare plant looks horrible in a pot yet spectacular in the landscape. Because they look so sparse when young, not many people buy them, but it sure looks stunning when it’s red plumes cover the plant soon.
We had to fluff up the soil so it can dry out a little. The weather has been acting unfairly for this outdoor product- not allowing for drying in between rain events.
Weeping Katsura tree leaves bust out of their overwintering buds to glow in the strong sun yesterday. Today, these leaves will turn their characteristic rusty-red, but only for a few days, then on to green.
You can’t see in this pic but we ground a thousand yards of awesome organic mulch today. No dye. Rots into soil eventually as all mulch does. Note- don’t put mulch around the stems of trees. The moist mulch suffocates the breathing holes in the bark. Not good.
Unloading nursery trucks in the wee hours so disruption in the nursery is minimized during business hours
Nyssa sylvatica ‘Wildfire’ about to come off the truck. This fantastic tree is awesome. Glossy leaves (so shiny you can see your reflection if you hold a leaf up to your face), berries for birds in the fall, insect and disease resistant, insane burning red fall foliage, orangish new growth turning glossy deep green all summer. It’s a tree I’ve only seen planted by Mother Nature in between driveways and in wetlands only introduced into our industry recently.
Green velvet boxwood came off the truck last- full fat perfectly grown plants ready to go home with you- a treat for you and the nemesis of deer. Seemingly tasty lush foliage that is actually never ever eaten by deer.
Next on the agenda was grinding wood chips into mulch. Huge loader is operated by a young lady who weighs 105 lbs soaking wet with winter clothes on. She breaks all stereotypes.
End of the day where the sun tried to emerge from the clouds but just didn’t have the strength. Machine resting it’s tired arms after a very long tiring day of toil. Noisy!!!
Two unusual snails found on the arborvitae while unloading. Even whilst toiling, nursery eyes are open noticing mother nature’s variety.
Fixing damaged trees...
One year in winter when the snow was deep the field mice chewed trees worth $1,000 or more.
As long as there is an inch or so of unmolested bark, you can save the tree. With a strong sharp knife, carefully apply pressure to the knife to shape the wound so it’s pointed at the top and bottom. Carefully peel the flexible bark away from the wood. Don’t push the knife into the wood, just the bark. Feed the tree. Then ignore it.
This “callous tissue” forms like rings on a tree and wraps around the bare wood. The nicest shapes heal the fastest. Happiest trees heal fastest. Well fed trees heal the fastest. This wound is three years old. Two or three more years and I’ll be able to sell this “Emperor 1 Japanese maple” again for about $1,000.