Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Choosing a shade tree is a big decision. I had to consider, climate, size when full grown, leaf size, does it produce too much trash, bug resistance etc.

For example, I loved the shade my cottonwoods gave, but they dropped cottony seeds and sticky sap in the spring, twigs, piles of big leaves that had to be shredded before they could be mulched and limbs that broke off easily. Once topped, they rotted down the center.

After researching and asking experts for advice, I chose an autumn purple ash that is supposed to adapt to most soils including clay, is easy to grow, drought tolerant, diseases are not usually serious enough to kill them, long lasting fall colors, medium-sized leaves, grows to 70 feet tall, and is a relatively fast grower, up to two feet a year. It is exclusively male so it is seedless and is hardy to zone 3. Deer do not particularly care for this plant and will usually leave it alone. The canopy is relatively dense and medium in texture, and the leaves drop nearly all at once; perfect for one fall cleanup. They require little pruning to develop well. The biggest threat are ash borers.

After having two holed dug, I had Skyview Nursery deliver and plant two of them. Time will tell if I made the best decision . . .

Shade in the making.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Weeds, Weeds & More Weeds

Can you say, "Weeds!"
 To the east of my house between the curb and the street was a large patch of weeds. Spraying with weed killer just seemed to make them healthier. For several years, I had asked several contractors for bids to replace the dirt with gravel to help keep the weeds from taking over, but none ever got around to making bids. When the man came to grind out the tree stumps, I ask him if he knew of someone who could bring in gravel, and he said he could do it.

I had the weeds sprayed again! He excavated about 4 inches of dirt and weeds and replaced most of it with road base then topped it off with a couple of inches of pea gravel. What a difference! I will still have to spray it in spots from time to time, but I can at least stay on top of them.

Nice and clean with gravel!