Monday, April 23, 2012

A Real Earth Day Pushover,...or He-Man Comes to Clearwater

What did we do to celebrate Earth Day?   Well, we were working out in the yard, walking around, deciding what to plant where, when I pushed on the big dead cottonwood that had given up and finally died over the winter.  (It was one of those pseudo-cottonwoods, the "cottonless" kind you buy all too often at box stores and even nurseries.)  It seemed like there was a little give in the trunk, so Greg and I started discussing whether he would take it down or if we should  call a tree trimming company to do it.

The trunk was big enough that Greg wasn't sure he could cut through it with his chainsaw, so we were leaning towards calling the professionals in. 

Just for kicks and giggles, thinking of how much the tree had swayed when I pushed on it, we decided to give it a serious push, together.  It definitely moved.

Another push or two, and we started hearing roots cracking underground.  The soil surface heaved a little.  Maybe it was our imagination, but the tree seemed to be leaning just a bit.

Quick, the camera!  Just in case we were successful, we wanted a record "on film"!  (Yeah, I'm that old - and older!)

So, here's the (almost still upright) dead cottonwood, with Greg, the soon-to-be Cottonwood Conqueror standing beside it.




And down she goes!

He-Man, the Cottonwood Conqueror, is triumphant!!!  All with one person power, the lurking symbol of loss is removed from the front yard!!!

The clean-up did, unfortunately, require the use of some stored hydrocarbons, but the Cottonwood Conqueror came through and completed the job.  Then, the loss of one tree, the beginning of a new life for that area of the yard and garden....  But that's a story for the next post!


ProfessorRoush said...

What happened to the pseudo-cottonwood Gaia? Drought? An ice storm? I guess I've seen them die, but usually I have to kill them to keep their numbers down around here.

Gaia Gardener: said...

This was one of the retail "cottonless cottonwoods", which I've learned is actually a hybrid poplar of some sort. This explains why they are so much less hardy then true cottonwoods - most of them I've seen succumb to borers just about the time that they reach a reasonable size and start looking like trees. The original owners of our home had planted 3 across the front yard - one was dead and the second was dying when we moved in. This one had been dying now for about 3 years. All 3 have now been felled.

You can get true cottonless Eastern cottonwoods (Populus deltoides) - the males of the species fit the bill. The problem is that most cottonwoods do not start to flower until they are about 15-20' tall. One nursery down here (Hillside) apparently has a cultivar of the true species that was developed from a male tree, but I haven't actually seen it.

~Gardener on Sherlock Street said...

Way to go Greg!
And, you got it on "film."