The next three days

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The next three days; Thursday;11-3 thru Saturday; 11-5

My laptop has no battery power remaining, and a pen and paper by candle light are used to write my thoughts early in the morning before sunrise.  Again, sleeping late was not happening.  I decided to not type over or edit the handwritten thoughts.

On Saturday, we began our extensive project cleanup in the yard.  I used loppers specifically used to prune twigs and small branches to clean up large limbs, while Steve had the chainsaw for bigger projects. We saved the big limbs for future woodstove needs and fire pit parties in the backyard.  And, of course, I collected pine cones attached to branches that fell from the tops of the trees, and acorns for use as decorations in only one more month’s time for the holidays.

I kept thinking of how I’ve never experienced something like this before. When an unexpected storm strikes, it gives us lessons for the future about how to care for our new trees, often planted in the fall because it is an ideal time – when cold weather slows growth above ground, but roots underground still grow well, and there is usually less stress compared to summer’s hot weather.

Planting in the fall also gives you a jump start on spring, but for this year’s fall and winter, I suspect the clean-up required for many of us will set us a step back as we focus how to deal with torn limbs and broken leaders or tips of trees, and accept those that can’t make it as losses to our landscape.

This storm also prompts thoughts on how to deal with future issues in our yard’s landscapes to prevent more damage should another storm come to pass in our future.  Like planting large trees in spaces with plenty of room and based on their mature sizes, avoiding brittle trees and not planting trees by power lines or valuable structures.  Another important step is keeping trees healthy by pruning when young so they are strong when older facing storms.  And last but not least, watering, fertilizing and protecting trees as they grow.

Many of us will be removing those old, diseased, or insect infested problem trees going forward to avoid future damage. Of course hiring a professional to mend any weak or split trees with cabling or braces as needed is recommended for those that were damaged, or perhaps are vulnerable.

But among all those tasks created by Snowlloween, one to look forward to will be replacing any treasured lost trees with new exciting candidates when you are ready.  Just take the time to select the best size for the location, check if there are overhead or underground utilities before planting, have the soil tested to ensure it suits the species, and think about the type of maintenance you are willing to do to keep the trees thriving.

Almost all of the damage to our power lines and homes was the result of trees or limbs crashing onto them.  In East Windsor alone, the J.I. newspaper stated there’s an estimated 25,000 cubic yards of debris piled up around town from this storm.  People have been piling it up at the designated town garage on Woolam Road for days, which is very near my parent’s home. As I drive by it, the pile grows larger every day.

Trees have so many economic and social functions.  They can increase the beauty of your surroundings, provide wind breaks or privacy, improve the air we breathe, provide a home for birds resting and feeding, control the climate around our homes, offer shade in summer and protection from harsh winds in winter, and overall increase the value of our landscape.

The spring flower display of many trees and autumn colors give us a sense of renewal each time it occurs.  Some trees have a symbolic meaning to your life – as with my dawn redwood, planted on the day we celebrated my parent’s fiftieth wedding anniversary. We all know how bitter sweet the loss of a special tree is, but nature allows us to replace it with a new favorite in time and with patience.

Over the next few days, our focus is getting the yard cleaned up bit by bit, piece by piece, and waiting for restored connectivity. But before our power returned, something else interesting took place…, and of course, what this is, is “to be continued.”

P.S.  Tomorrow evening, 11/17, the CT Hort Society hosts its monthly program meeting in West Hartford. Before the featured speaker begins, a discussion on how to handle damage by the storm and what to expect in your gardens next season will occur with experts.  For more information, visit:  http://www.cthort.org.

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