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Musings About Family, Travel And Gardening With Allen Martinson.


Tree Wrangling At The Garden Center

Yesterday I had a cool experience. I had some tree work that needed to get done around the garden center. Our place is nine acres surrounded by old oak trees. In the back part of the property are 13 green houses where we grow bedding plants. Some of the neighbors’ trees have grown big enough creating too much shade for us to grow full sun annuals. The branches extend over the greenhouses making it difficult to put new plastic roofs on the greenhouses which keep the plants cozy all winter.

I remember cursing those branches when one whipped me in the face while we were battening down the hatches. The limbs from the oaks and Hackberry drop black sooty mold on the tops of the plastic creating even more shade. Those branches knew they were doomed after that cursing. I had trees branches hanging over the area where I park my 12 landscape trucks. We try to keep them clean, but the off black stuff makes the chore a little more difficult than it should be.

On another area on the property I had 13 magnolias planted by my father back in the 80s that just never looked good. We tried to revive them because I love the look he was going for but the beetle borers won that battle. While those were being taken down, I’m pretty sure I heard dad give me the thumbs up to try something else there. Mimi has come up with the fence idea for that area and I think I will replant some magnolias in his honor. On the front property on Highway 51 I have six giant VITEX trees that needed to be tamed. This time of year, I prune that bed down so the traffic on Highway 51 can see Christmas tree selling time. We do a big light show in that area. Pruning things makes for a good show in November when the trees get set up.

We basically cleaned up all of the border of the nine acres with this tree service. I could not believe the amount of work these guys got done in nine hours. They were able to do so because they have state of the art equipment. They were scooting around on robotic looking machines with tracks. They had one really big lift like a cherry picker, two skid steers with claw like buckets, stump grinders, and a giant truck with a grapple hook for picking up the mess. It was a sight to see. Mimi got some pictures that she will post on our website. The guys had all the latest safety gear. They wore hardhats, safety vests, harnesses, goggles, and ear protectors. The team had obviously been well trained because they knew how to use everything with great efficiency.

Another thing I like about this tree services is they know how to correctly horticulturally prune. The owner knows where and when to cut branches on trees being maintained for their health and aesthetics. I was so excited about the work they had done I sent them each home with an aloe vera plant so they could use them for medicinal properties.

This is the same service I use once a year in my yard. At my house they clean out the dead branches and suckers in all my oak trees but especially the live oaks lining the driveway. They are getting very nicely shaped and where they meet above the driveway the arc that is being formed is gorgeous. My live oaks are getting old enough that the branches are doing what I had hoped they would do, reaching way out and hanging low. I’m thinking 20 years from now the driveway will look something like the trees in Natchez. My trees are 45 years old now, developing nice shapes. At this point the weight and balance of the branches become very important. If too much weight is left on some low-slung branches they will crack and split. On the other oak trees the service will clean up any unnecessary branches. I want more light to pass through for my plants underneath.

Then there is the not so much fun money to be spent. Sometimes the tree just has to be removed. When I see one that is dead or that could be a potential problem to my house or barn or fence I’ll take it out. Not fun to spend money on but way better than a new roof.

I suggest taking a look up in the sky around your yard. Look for dead branches or a tree that drops black soot all over everything underneath it like a hackberry. Tree maintenance is an important part of the upkeep. Trees can dictate what you can and cannot plant in your yard. Trimming or removal of trees can really change the game as you make future plans for your yard.

I am hoping the best for everyone’s health, both mentally and physically. It’s easy to let the news get you down. I’m trying to keep abreast of the news but stay away from it as much as I can. It takes it out of me to see the lack of the sense of duty so many people have and managing this mess that can be so avoidable by doing the simplest things. It makes me crazy knowing some people won’t be inconvenienced and don’t care about prolonging the misery because they just can’t or won’t get it. It has become obvious that we are on our own as far as managing this mess so we have to work together. It seems so easy, we have to lace up our boots and become a little tougher.

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