Sunday, June 14, 2009

Week three in the Tree

Just as a heads up, this post covers the dates of May 25-29th. These past two weeks I have been in Harrisburg, PA training with the Army Reserve. In addition, my invitation had expired, so I had to wait for that to get cleared up as well.

So, the week started rainy and ended pretty much the same. It was a week full of slipping and sliding in a mix of Pear and Green Ash Trees. We worked at one group of condos for the entirety of the week. Day one, we spent time pruning a bunch of Pears. We took bigger weight cuts to relieve stress during the winter with snow. I also punched a few holes in the top to let some light and air into the canopy. Last, we used arbor-tape (a polyester-blend fabric) to tie off several leders to eachother for support during the winter. Snow is a big problem with these trees as they have many leders that all grow with very tight V-crotches. Those crotches tend to be weak and will split under a heavy snow-load. That was only the second time I was allowed to tie supports for a tree. I made sure that it was done right, a bowline around each stem with some slack in the middle to allow the tree to move and bend.

The other trees we did were some Green Ash. These trees are not the prettiest trees, but they can survive a lot of abuse, and their deep green in the summer does look neat. For these, we did some real quick weight cuts and took off the lowers that were bending really far down. My boss found a girdling root on one and did a root collar excavation on it. The trunk was girdled the entire way around. Hopefully the tree will make it. I put up a picture of the crown. You can see how thin the foliage is and how sick it looks compared to the other trees.

The last two days were the more important, as we were taking out branches on the condos, deadwood and the lowers. I was able to put my training to the test by pruning a branch out that was over the condo roof and over a lightpost. I tied it off using a clove hitch secured by a half-hitch. Then, I put a scarf on the far-lower side and did the back-cut with my handsaw, leaving extra holding wood on the topside. It swung out picture perfect and my boss lowered it to the ground without hittig anything. Success! I included some before and after shots so you can see the difference!

Each day, we were pretty much racing the rain. We started out usually with the rain, it would let up, then we would work our butts off to get a section complete, just in time for it to start pouring. It made for an interesting week. One day, my boss took me over to do a fertilizing job to kill some time. We fertilized about 35 evergreen foundation plantings to help with overall health and vigor. We also took a ride over to another town to spray a woman's cherry tree for winter moth. It was the first spray I got to do. We used hort oil mixed with a stomach poison. I had to be aware, because there was a crew working in her garage nearby, and I had to wait to make sure they were inside, and that the wind was not blowing. I wore a mask and goves for protection. First I sprayed from the underside of the tree outwards, then moved to the outside and moved around, drenching the entire tree. While I was doing that, my boss lined up some more work while we were there, and I ended up spraying a Mugo Pine before we left. This was being eaten by sawfly, so I sprayed it with the same chemical we used on the cherry, since it works for most leaf-eating larvae.

So, after some short wet days, we had a farewell brunch for my co-worker, Jesse, who was recently hired by the state of MA to work on the Asian Long Horned Beetle epidemic that had engulfed the entire Worcester Area and now has hit a few surrounding towns. I will miss him as a mentor and friend. He taught me a lot last summer, and I hope his skill is put to good use at his new job!
Until Next week...

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