|By Roger Culos - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=23164794. Sweetgum tree spikey seeds.|
My neighbor across the street was trimming his Sweet Gum tree. I will try to get a photo later when I pose my stump collection. Some praise this tree, and cities once encouraged their innocent residents to plant it for shade.
No other tree is so messy, producing countless spiky seeds that cover the yard and the streets, especially here where so many grow.
| The print copies of Creation Gardening are starting to arrive,|
and they are even more beautiful than imagined.
Thank you - Norma Boeckler, Janie Sullivan, and
I began talking to the crew while Sassy worked the group for food. She eventually got two plates of meat. We talked about two of my trees that needed more pruning but were not safe for amateurs to trim. Too tall.
I asked for a family discount.
"I am his brother-in-law."
I said, "We are neighbors, like family." I patted my neighbor on the back.
They gave me a figure.
"I don't have that kind of money. I'm not a painter, like him." They laughed.
We settled on a bargain family discount, and they offered to come in a week. That changed to the next day, at 10 am. They arrived at 8 am.
They quickly reduced the maple tree to a more slender shape than ever before. In the back, they cut off a tall section of a tree that shaded the entire fence along the Wright side of the yard. The crew of three quickly stacked all the trashy parts along the curb for pick-up and cut up the trunk pieces into stumps, some quite handsome and tall.
A distant neighbor decided to bag all his leaves in two categories. Some were large bags of oak leaves. Others were filled with pine needle (no cones). They gave me two carloads with several bags still left behind. Our helper thinks we have put thousands of pounds of organic material on the yard. Counting the stumps, that is reasonable.
Our helper came over and lined up the smaller trunk pieces for more rustic fencing around the gardens.
You may be wondering, "How did those gigantic maple trunk pieces come crashing down without hurting the Crepe Myrtle plants that were just dug in?" I told them about the row of new plants on the West side of the rose garden. Although one enormous section came crashing down there, the entire row was not only spared, but looking like nothing happened. Some roses may be messed up, but they looked good too. And I could hardly expect a pruning party to do no harm below, given my own record of falling over and into the roses.
Our helper and I also raked more broken up and half-decayed maple leaves onto the big Crepe Myrtle that I dote on.
The point of leaving so many tree pieces on the ground is basic to Creation Gardening. Feeding the soil is really adding organics for the wee little creatures that break down leaves, grass, and wood into foods that other creatures use and plant roots absorb.
As Jeff Lowenfels has shown in his brilliant books. the relationships between root fungus, bacteria, protozoa, earthworms, moles, all soil creatures, and plant roots is complex and multi-layered.
Saying the plants need nitrogen is almost as useful as saying, "Turn the computer switch to on." Once the gardener realizes that microscopic fungi protect and feed plants, sending them water and nitrogen and organic compounds, the vale of leaves and dead tree parts will rise in value.
But wait - there's more. A tree stump is a resting place for squirrels and birds, which enjoy a lookout. The interface between the stump and soil is a dark, damp rotting zone, promoting and protecting various delicious creatures. Birds and toads know this, so they like stumps for food. Once the food party begins, more creatures arrive. They may be the beetles that hunt at night for pests.
Over time, as Jeff Lowenfels has shown, the organic compounds are locked up and swapped among all the creatures in the soil. A dead earthworm is a tragedy, according to the ancient Egyptians, but it is also food for ants, who carry it away in a solemn procession, or fertilizer for a lucky plant.
Knee-deep in leaves in the early spring means being knee-deep in flowers later.
|Teaming with Microbes is where smart gardeners start to understand the symphony of complexities and dependencies |
in the garden.