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Weeding and Cleaning Trees

March 18, 2015

 

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CLEARING AND WEEDING THE YARD!

This year is going to be a big year for clearing out the debris from our 2.5 acre mountain yard.  We have trees leaning on trees, fungi or moss infested trees, short trees that cannot get tall because they have other trees hanging over them, and so much more causing them to not reach their fullest potential.  I also don’t love all the leaves I am cleaning up in the Fall when half the trees aren’t even pretty.  If I’m going to labor over raking, I certainly want the beast whom dropped said leaves to offer me some beauty during Spring and Summer.

So, which trees do I eliminate?  This I will do with great care because trees are a great natural resource and they are beautiful when they are healthy and happy.  We are so enthralled to live in the wooded mountains surrounded by nature’s plants, birds, and animals.  While there are three groups of trees I am going to cut back, my ultimate goal is to see each and every tree on my land turn into the beautiful creature it was meant to become.

 

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Eliminate unhealthy trees!

The first question I need answered though in order to select the right trees to cut down is, “what makes a tree unhealthy?”  I definitely want to cut down the unhealthy ones first.  There are eight marks of a healthy tree.

1) If a tree has more than one center.  Most trees need to have one central leader.  Exceptions are fruit trees, trees with more than one trunk, and some bonsai and topiary.

2) Dead or broken branches.

3) Bare patches with no leaves, which tell you one of several things.  Either that side is deprived of nutrients or water, an animal is eating there, those branches are being pruned improperly, or they are being damaged by insects or pesticides.

4) Leaves have incorrect color, shape or size.

5) Tree is infested with insects or disease.

6) Tree is wilting.

7) The bark is loose or peeling.  Gashes in the trunk can lead to infestations and disease.

8) There is NO evidence of annual growth.

The first group I have already eliminated, and that is the biggest trees.  Over the winter we had a logger come and take about 10 of our biggest trees.  Why would we want to get rid of our BIGGEST trees?  Well, If we ever want out little forest of trees to be able to breathe, then we have to do some weeding and cleaning… just as we would do with a small garden. Weeds can choke out other desirable plants making the entire garden unhealthy and unprofitable.  My goal is to pick the biggest and smallest trees and to leave all the mid sized trees there with increased circulation.  In doing this I will be considering each tree’s health.

The second group I will eliminate in the Spring is all of the trees that are still just mere twigs.  See my post on raking.  A similar process will be followed here.  One thing to add though… in this 2.5 acre tree filled yard we also lay a tarp down, rake leaves and twigs onto it until it’s full but the kids can help us pull it’s weight still.  Then we pull it across the yard to our burn pile.  We’ll sit outside for a few days in the Fall and a few in the Spring and burn continuously.

The third group isn’t standing trees at all, but fallen ones. Such a mess is created over years and years of growth with little clean up. Sure, leaves create mulch and revitalize the dirt with vitamins and minerals, but too much leaves, twigs, and fallen trees decomposing provides way too many homes to bugs… and I must reduce that just a smidge on our little mountain!!

So, what will we do with all this debris?
1) $800 was made selling the largest trees to a lumber yard.
2) Firewood will reduce our propane heat bill in the future. We predict we will have 8 cords of firewood.
3) Mulch?  I will be researching places I might be able to send debris to potentially make mulch.
4) Now we will have endless campfires all summer long!!

Benefits to the trees…
1) More air leads to taller, fuller, healthier, and drier trees.
2) Less mold and moss after air circulation is increased.
3) More birds once the trees have sturdier branches and healthier trees to make homes on.
4) Less invasive insects to further damage plants on our property.

Thanks for reading, and please do say hello or give me feedback if you’ve done a similar project!

Cheers,

The UnGardener

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