Posts Tagged ‘Trees’

Cherry Tree

The last two evenings we’ve had nice weather here in NE Indiana.  With temperatures in the mid 50’s F,  not wanting to waste this unseasonably fine weather, I spent some time caring for the maples, arborvitaes, and flowering cherry trees.

It felt so good to get my hands in the soil again; breaking up the crust of last year’s wood chip mulch, loosening the soil, pulling clumps of grass that have grown up through the mulch and laying a fresh layer of cypress wood chip mulch.

Not only am I making the beds look nice, I’ve preparing them for the nitrogen fixers I’ll be planting in the months to come.  It looks like these poor trees have been neglected for years.


Some of the maples still had the original landscape fabric that’s probably been in place for twelve years now.  The mulched tree ring around the trees are still the same size they would have been when these trees were originally planted. 

I’ve been removing all of the landscape fabric or (worse yet) heavy plastic the previous owner used throughout the landscape.  I’m also expanding the tree rings to be more in scale with the tree’s size. 

Two of the maples (which both had landscape fabric) had very bad scars from sun-scorch on their trunks.  They were pretty well healed, but on the advice of the tree trimmer who helped with the willows, I wrapped both trunks with a paper tree-wrap.  He told me this would help them finish healing.


The five new arborvitaes have wintered over very well.  They were planted in the heat of late July last year and shed quite a bit in the fall.  I was concerned about their surviving winter, but all five are doing great.  They already appear to be growing this year.   They each got a cardboard ring (to suppress the grass) and a fresh layer of mulch.  I’ve seen the bunnies under these trees a lot this winter. After close inspection, they didn’t appear to do any damage.  I wonder if they were just enjoying the tiny pine cones or just using them for cover.

 Flowering Cherry-

The flowering cherry has issues.  It has a bad case of bacterial canker.  I’m still researching this problem and am trying to save the cherry, if possible.  To give it a fighting chance I’ve worked in a 1/2 bag of Miracle Grow garden soil into the heavy clay soil to help loosen and aerate it, mixed in some coffee grounds for my worm friends, and provided a protective layer of cypress mulch.  While prepping the soil I noticed that the tree was also planted too deep.  I dug around the root crown, with the hopes this will help the tree  breath better.  I’ll be keeping  a close eye on this tree this year.  I would prefer to treat it through environmental changes rather than chemically, but if a copper treatment is required, so be it. 

Hopefully it will make it through.


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hybrid willows in backyard- summertime

ten year old hybrid willows

The time has come to take down the rest of our messy hybrid willows.  Come Monday, they will be nothing but stumps.  We’ll have those ground out come springtime.

We were in no rush to deal with the last eight willows but after seeing the mess of switches they littered all over the neighbors’ yards after just a few good wind storms, we knew we would end up dealing with these sooner, rather than later. 

These cheap, fast growing trees make a mess and can cause severe damage to drain tiles and irrigation systems.  

The previous owner planted these as a privacy screen.  Since these have grown so tall, they are no longer serving that purpose.   Once these are gone I hope to never see them again.

I suspect we’ll get a better privacy screen from a nice slow growing, productive patch of blueberries and raspberries.  They won’t grow as quickly, but they also won’t be as destructive and messy.  Maybe we’ll plant a cherry tree or two back there, also. 

Time will tell.

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Cabin view- Wears Valley and Smoky Mountains

Cabin view- Wears Valley and Smoky Mountains

Having just returned from a vacation in a mountainside cabin in Sevierville Tennessee where the hillsides were filled with birds and other wildlife, I realized how we have yet to see a single squirrel or chipmunk since moving to our new house this past May. We have several rabbits and toads, but no squirrels and very few birds.


This winter I plan on outlining a Landscape Master Plan to help remedy this situation. It’s my intention to create a self-sustaining habitat instead of simply placing feeders.

In addition to food sources, the wildlife will need habitat to live and raise offspring. To help address this I am researching plans for bird, squirrel and bat houses that I can locate throughout the property. I plan to post drawings or links for the houses I end up making.

Starting point-
The only bearing trees/ shrubs we had on our property when we purchased it are several 20-30 year old Maples, a Bradford Pear, and some 15-20 year old White Pines and Blue Spruces. We have a large variety of plants and shrubs but most just flower. With all the flowers come a LOT of bees.

2009 Additions-
Earlier in the summer I added two blueberry bushes. The birds enjoyed the limited fruit production these yielded this season. Next year I’ll net them when they are close to being ripe 🙂

In early July we added five- five foot arborvitae and four burning bushes along the back property line. These should both provide a little food for the birds and squirrels.

About a month ago we added a 15ft tall Tulip Tree and another Japanese Maple to our property. The Tulip Tree should provide a fair amount of food with it’s seed pods.

This post is to serve as my springboard as I begin my research for this project. Time will tell how this unfolds.

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