Garden Diary - October 2022

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A Good Day's Work by Steve and Son Tree Company
Tuesday, 25 October 2022

Steve and Son Tree Service have been coming for several years to do tree work for us. They come for a day on the fall. After which we book a day for the following spring. And in the spring - you guessed it - we book a day in the fall. They are so good and deservedly popular, that it only makes sense to book ahead. We booked today back in March. At which time we were not sure what they'd be doing. But knew there would be work for a full day. There was, and it was a diversity, some take down, some cleanup, some pruning. Let's get started!

There are several dead ash up behind the house, tall enough that
if they fall down hill it is possible they could hit and damage the deck.

Ash trees throughout Hunterdon County have been killed by emerald ash borer,
a non-native insect. Grubs tunnel under the bark, destroying the cambium layer.

It's a difficult site. At Steve's suggestion the three trees will just be dropped and
left there. Even so, this one hung up in surrounding trees and had to be cut, cut,
and cut again at the base until it finally came down to the ground. Awkward site.

As long as the crew of four were here I decided to have two trees by
the Rhododendron yakusimanum pruned to let more light into
the area. The shrub arrived in a wardrobe carton 20+ years ago
when we moved from Connecticut to New Jersey. It's doing well.

Wyatt nimbly makes his way up into the tree. No climbing gaffs
on his boots, but rather a rope high up in the tree and a belt

for Wyatt and for his tools. The chain saw is clipped on, and
it starts with a single pull. That's good, because it is also shut
off each time he is about to change his position up in the tree.

Wyatt cuts the branches to a size he can handle, tossing clear of the rhododendron.

The Wacker Neuson utility track loader scoops up an enormous jaw full
of debris, branches to be brought down to the chipper and chopped up.

There's all sorts of smaller bits and pieces: an additional chain saw,
gasoline to fuel it, oil to lubricate the bar and chain, a hatchet, etc.

This is a peculiar one. Several weeks ago there was a crash
on a quiet, not especially windy day. We eventually found out

that two large sycamores had snapped off. See the two snags,
one just to the left of the central tree and the other on the right.

The fallen logs, toppled to the ground, were quite sizable. And all the branches.

It was decided to leave the snags standing. They are valuable for wildlife. Birds and
small mammals use them for nests, nurseries, storage areas, roosting, and perching.
Branches chipped up taken away. And the larger diameter, cut into logs, left behind.

Getting the rest of the sycamore cut and out of the woods is going to be difficult.

The men did bring some wood from a leaning maple that was cut down and a few
sycamore logs, piling then near the log splitter. It will become firewood, but . . .

Sycamore is wet and difficult to split when freshly cut. We have ample wood
for this winter. So the better choice might be rather than split it right away . . .

the best thing might be to cut to 18 inches now, as Paul did here. And then
split it next year when it has had some time to dry and season for a while.

A very good day's work cutting trees by the crew from Steve and Son Tree Service.

UPDATE: Thursday, 3 November 2022

The men had stacked four maple logs at the bottom of the driveway, on the dirt
just beyond the lower parking area. Paul has cut them to 18-inch length, suitable,
once split, for next winter's firewood. Now to get them up driveway to log splitter.

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