Sunday, May 18, 2014


Pruning...  That's what I've spent most of the last three days doing.  Our new home is surrounded by a fair number of trees – including over a dozen 30 to 35 foot tall pines of a species I have yet to identify.  Those pines have been neglected for their entire life, which I'm estimating at 25 to 30 years (the house was built 22 years ago, and almost certainly they were planted then).  They appeared to be healthy, but were full of dead wood (normal as lower branches get shaded out) and broken branches (most likely from snow weight).  They also had limbs low enough that their ends touched the ground, and it was difficult to walk under them.

So ... I pruned.  Lots :)  Armed with a 15" pruning saw, a pair of loppers, a pair of hand shears, and an 8' stepladder, I took off all the low-hanging branches and cleaned out all the dead wood I could reach.  Most of the trees had branches that afforded me good (safe) footing, so I climbed to get deadwood up to about 20' up.  The transformation is very satisfying – those pines are now shade trees, covering a nice green lawn and making a park-like atmosphere in the yard immediately surrounding the house.  You can see one bit of it in the photo at right; the field in the background is planted in alfalfa.  In another 5 years or so, they'll need some additional work.  Hopefully I'll still be up to it!

Meanwhile, there are still another 50 or so pines further from the house.  The bulk of those are Ponderosa pines, one of my favorite pine species, planted in a tight grove that desperately needs thinning.  Those pines are 20' to 25' high now, and the ones on the outside of the planting are noticeably more vigorous than the (mostly shaded) ones on the inside.  This fall or next spring, that's going to turn into a big project...

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