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Member Since 30 Apr 2012
Offline Last Active Oct 03 2017 07:15 PM

#1672 Pruning Rose Bushes

Posted by Dsmith74 on 28 September 2013 - 10:05 PM

Remember - not too much on a happy rugosa in the spring or you get the Suckers Revenge. I guarantee at least one will come up dead center in the middle of your absolute favorite perennial (probably an irreplaceable one that's resentful of disturbance). 

#1322 Spring Finally? (Out and About)

Posted by Dsmith74 on 28 April 2013 - 04:03 PM

So I guess spring has finally decided to arrive. 




Hmm. when I moved that maidenhair fern up closer to the house I expected a few hitchhikers, but that's quite a crew. Oh well, I guess we'll find out Allium tricoccum will tolerate juglone as well. 




Hey! A varmint has defaced my drift of daffodils!




Guess whatever this was won't be defacing anything though. 




Not all the signs are outside. A few dozen were inside the house. Boy they sure are easier to deal with now that I've learned the double-hung window trick. 




This critter is NOT a sign of spring, but of the dog days of summer (and usually a sound, not a sight). It was not happy about being dug up three or four months early either. 






Now why on Earth would varmints chew holes in gasoline cans? And only the ones with gas in them! I bet they're huffing the stuff. I've often thought of pine squirrels as the delinquents of the animal world. 




Holy girdling root! Of course cytospora canker-induced needle drop revealed it, so I guess that's the least of this tree's problems...





#1242 Critter Riddle

Posted by Dsmith74 on 25 March 2013 - 08:06 PM

I kinda forgot about this.


OK so here's the deal - those trees in the distance in the first pic are black walnuts. In 2010, all of the walnut blossoms froze, meaning that immediate area went from at least a dozen trees' worth of walnuts to zero. That caused the biggest walnut crop I've seen in 20 years in 2011. There were so many walnuts, not to mention fewer squirrels (especially pine squirrels), that even their best efforts couldn't remove them all before they were buried by snow. By spring 2012, the ground was still largely covered with walnuts. 


So that line is part of the rut made by black squirrels going from that wooded area at the back of the second pic to the line of walnut trees in the first. They took a less-than-direct route that hit every tree they could along the way, including those apple snags. They worked well into June before they got most of them picked up. 


But guess what? No walnuts in 2012 either! So far, no 80 degree days in March, so we shall see what happens this year. 

#1154 I saw the signs!

Posted by Dsmith74 on 28 February 2013 - 10:23 AM



Sorry for the quality - holding an iPhone at arm's length while stooping ('cause I don't want to tromp around on that wet soil) isn't the formula for prize-winning photography. Still, a sign nonetheless! Quite a bit of bird noise out there this morning, too. 


Anybody else got pics of the earliest spring signifiers?

#1115 Can anyone ID this red pine from a cone?

Posted by Dsmith74 on 13 February 2013 - 11:04 AM

The forum software, like many nowadays, classifies posters based on number of posts. "Breaking bud" is the class for fewest number of posts (note everyone in this thread above, except mods, also have "breaking bud" above their avatar). To change it, post often!

#937 What is this?

Posted by Dsmith74 on 13 December 2012 - 02:24 PM

That's how we got 'em. Great grandpa got them from some conservation organization back in the late sixties. He planted 4 rows of them in two separate spots around his 80 acres. Now they're everywhere. By "everywhere" I don't mean everywhere on the 80 acres, but everywhere in the area for a mile or more in every direction.


This mess is a mixture of sassafrass trees and autumn olive. The foreground is stump regrowth from an area cleared the year before. 

STA_2268.jpg .


Here's a pic from the same general location after I cleared a bunch of it. All of the silver-blue understory is autumn olive, as are the stumps in the foreground resprouting. You can also see one out in the field just to the right of the end of the line of sassafras trees, as well as along the forest edge at the top of the picture (they are actually comparatively thin along that edge, since that is the north side in the shade and the birds don't tend to congregate there after eating the berries). 



But that's not the end of the story. Below is a pic of an area cleared in 2005. This was taken in August '08. Every year after clearing it I cut it back to the ground with a brush mower. This is a few months of growth, three years after it was cleared. 



It does eventually slow down. Below is October of '11. Still requires constant mowing, but the grasses do start to fill in and compete with the autumn olives and slow them down. The brush at the right is at the end of its second season. I now maintain that forest as edge habitat by leaving a strip about 20 yards wide, mowing 1/3 of it every year in rotation so there is always year 1, year 2, and year 3 growth. That edge habitat tends to greatly increase biodiversity, even if the basis is largely a non-native monster. 


#896 Holdouts

Posted by Dsmith74 on 08 November 2012 - 09:45 AM

These Explorers are tough. Quadra keeps on going right to the bitter(ly cold) end.


Let's see pics of some of your last holdouts!

#892 Hibernation preparation

Posted by Dsmith74 on 05 November 2012 - 03:14 PM

Let's see, hoses in (and water heater desilted)... check
Karly Rose cut back to prevent snow blower entanglement... check
*&%#$^ Norway maple leaves ground into lawn... check
House plants debugged (I hope) and inside... check
Stock tank dumped... check
Yard faucet shut off and drained... check
Mower winterized and blower prepped and tested... check

Well, I think I'm set for winter.

Oops! Forgot the Schefflera and jade plant in the conservatory! Hey, it's my 3-season porch, I can call it The Conservatory if I want to.

#881 Interesting mulch choice

Posted by Dsmith74 on 03 October 2012 - 06:45 PM

That must be it. The pic is the Alpine IHOP and someone at work said a place down on Hall had it. You can even see it from space.

#856 Introduction Averted

Posted by Dsmith74 on 08 September 2012 - 07:34 PM

Holy cow I almost made a big mistake today! I had about a dozen spare Geranium x cantabrigiense 'Biokovo' that I potted up last year after ordering WAY too many for a groundcover project (which isn't doing so well, but that's another issue). The potted ones are doing pretty good so this weekend I decided to take them up north and put them in the ground because I get so much enjoyment from providing deer with new and different things to eat.

After planting them, I gathered up the empty nursery pots, which I was going to toss in the barn for future use. As I picked one up, look who I found.


That is Limax maximus, or leopard slug, an introduced pest common around my house in Grand Rapids, but neither present (to the best of my knowledge) nor desired at the family shack "retreat" in northern Michigan. Let's hope this was the only one, which is now deceased. One isn't enough to start an invasion (unless already carrying fertilized eggs), but still too close for comfort.

I'll really be mad if I caught the adult and missed a blob of eggs in one (or more) of the pots. These little slime monsters and their crazy, swingin' sex shows are not something I enjoy, although at home they do very efficiently dispose of inconsiderate neighbors' pet waste, as well as every other kind of slug that may have once lived here. Now if I could just teach them to eat black vine weevils.

#831 Irrigation line twisted

Posted by Dsmith74 on 12 August 2012 - 01:03 PM

When I bring my hoses in for the winter (sometimes November if I planted new evergreens) it's too cold and cloudy for this to work. So I haul them into the basement all stiff and stubborn. I then hook one end to the drain valve on the water heater and wrestle the other end over to the laundry sink. Open up the drain valve, and I end up with an unsilted water heater (recommended annually by the manufacturer) and warm, cooperative hoses willing to assume the coiled position.

#823 Dream trees for 1/2 acre back yard

Posted by Dsmith74 on 11 August 2012 - 06:13 PM

If you want something purple, I'd plant a tricolor beech before a Crimson King (or any) Norway maple. The are so thick and their roots are so shallow and efficient you may have no grass (or anything else) under it eventually. They also, at least in my area, seed all over the place. The seedlings are easy to pull out, buy why do it if you don't have to? The fact that they're considered invasives may also count against them if you're concerned about that kind of thing.

Also, knowing soil pH would help. A full rundown from the Extension service is best, but you can get pretty close on pH with the instant ones at the garden center.

#652 This is May 3rd

Posted by Dsmith74 on 03 May 2012 - 08:56 AM

At 8:30 it was already 70 degrees outside. My first rose blossom had already come and gone. On May 3rd.


I'll just leave this here so we can check back in future years and marvel at how different (or the same!) things were back in '12.