A blog about a first-time house owner learning to maintain his backyard, and thoughts about nature, science, history, and life.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Cleaning Up Some Branches

As I pointed out during Looking Ahead Week, the first task of spring is cleaning up the fallen branches and unwanted plants from around the yard.  As you can see in the above photo, there are plenty of dead branches on, leaning against, and fallen below the trees.  In some places, especially around the area where I started the clean-up - that I'm discussing in this post - it was particularly ugly.

The simplest task was simply rounding up the branches that had fallen to the ground and piling them in another part of the yard so I can eventually take them to the county's yard waste collection center.  They accept branches up to 4" in diameter, so most of the branches in my yard can go, even some of the longer, larger ones.

I started this clean-up a couple of Sundays ago, when there was still plenty of snow on the ground.  In some places, it was hard to tell which branches were part of which organism, and whether it was living or dead.  Further complicating things, there were fallen branches sitting on top of or leaning over living ones.  It made for a rather jumbled situation:

The biggest pest seemed to be some vines that I had started to clear out back in the fall.  They're annoying buggers to get out of the ground, with long, straight roots.  The root of the vine below is the approximately foot-long dark brown segment in the center of the photo.

And amid the snow, grass and weeds below, you can see the thin, ropey, tangled vine that I had pulled off of the tree.  The vine grows right next to the tree, intertwining its branches with those of the tree.  As the vine gets thicker, it pulls the tree's branches down.

Here's a look at the trunks of a vine plant (left) and a tree (right) whose trunk is curved to avoid the vine's many branches.

And here's a view from farther out of the two plants.  Now you can see the many branches of the vine, low to the ground on the left, and the curved trunk of the tree on the right.  In the background is a thin, straight-trunked tree.

To end the post, here are a couple of before-and-after shots of the tree showing how much junk I was able to clear out around its base.  Of course, there's still more to clean up...there's a dangling branch that has mostly broken off, and there's the thick vine leaning up against the tree to remove.  But at least much of the rest of the mess is out of the way.

Since this initial clean-up effort, I've gotten back to the yard a couple more times to clear out some other sections.  More on that in the coming days.

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