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Thursday, August 16, 2018

Ploetry - Our Gift

Buds; Later, Blossoms

Pollinators, Mates, Wind, Contact

Fruit Grown, Time

Seeds Fallen, Scattered, Sent

New Life

More of Us

For More of You

Copyright © Doug Ingbretsen

A Majestic Friend Along for the Ride

I have been labeled the shrub whisperer and bush master by a few (more later, not important) and I have not had much issue with those insects we most often fear when I am working in or among shrubs or trees.

Luck, karma - I have no idea, but I somewhat know those critters which can cause harm and those which are less likely to do so.

If one can truly adore an insect other than those gorgeous ones (bees, butterflies and others) which help pollinate those plants we love and provide us much more than beauty, food, it's this majestic form - the Praying Mantis.

I went for a ride today on my bicycle, and he or she (I'm not researching this.), decided being an ornament on my front light was a good place to show off - not characteristic of a praying mantis, as they are usually quite stealthy, waiting to pounce on less suspecting insects. Perhaps there was a relationship I never anticipated.

For the purposes of this story, it, the praying mantis is a female, simply because I believe females are kinder creatures.

I went into a convenience store to pick up a few things and I felt she was still there, somewhere in my hair. I asked the cashier and she said, "Yes, that thing is still in your hair."

I was flattered. For some reason, I believed she would make it all way home. She did.

Some two miles later, approaching home, I felt she was still with me, and she was.

I brought her inside for awhile while I pulled what I needed out of the refrigerator to make dinner.

I later walked out with her on my shoulder to crack a beer, have a smoke and visit my shed for tomorrow's projects.

This was her opportune time to get back to where she prefers and she bounded off of my arm.

I have a feeling, some similar experience, will occur again.

What a Difference a Day Makes, or Three or So

This is the property, aside from the owner's residence, which has the little blue-gray house, but this is not about the little blue-gray house which is on the back side of the property.

This is about the streetside bed on the front of the property. It pretty much looks like a wild forest that happened to show up (over many years) in someone's front yard.

You may think this looks somewhat attractive compared to the after-photo. Yeah, okay, for now. Wait 'til next spring.

Here was the plan, simplified:

Remove unwanted growth and death (plenty of that).
Remove smaller trees and those which have no healthy future or aesthetic value.
Remove as many vines as feasible and/or cut back to the ground.
Raise the canopies of remaining trees to allow for the planted (many, many years ago) shrubs to have a chance and serve as the lower screen.

There were sizable dead branches which had killed or were preventing shrub growth, and vines which were guilty of same or were adversely affecting their growth habit. In fact, an overwhelming amount of foliage your see in the photo is not from the trees and shrubs. Yep, it's vine.

There were azaleas and dwarf azaleas, nandina, fatsia and some other shrubs hidden in this collage of whatever. Many had died, and the the azaleas which were being held to roughly two feet high by everyone else who decided to live in here had already come up to about four feet with a potential of roughly six feet.

I literally had to crawl through here in some places when I was scoping out this project.

One can actually walk through here now. And, look at the sunlight now getting through.

We couldn't remove every vine which had wrapped itself around upper branches without doing some serious damage, but they are dead now and eventually their leaves will fall and make room for other, intended, new ones.

With some periodic ground maintenance, occasional pruning and a little time this should actually look like a plant bed with shrubs responding and the trees beginning to show more of their own foliage.

These two palmetto trees received some attention.

Besides making the use of the driveway a somewhat dicey venture, they simply didn't have the appeal we expect from our state tree.

Actually, this is not our state tree. That would be a sabal palmetto (cabbage palm). These are pindo palms and I sometimes prefer them for their frond leaves and how more uniform the frond structure is.

Below is the result of the pruning.

You may notice the debris pile to the rear of the right palm. This was the result of all our work and it virtually ran the distance of the front of the property at about four feet tall and deep.

Sorry we have no updates for the little blue-gray house, but the owners assured me our next project will be to expose the right side of the small structure which was once hidden.

Who knows what we'll find.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Fire Wood Alert - August 14, 2018

The wood indicated was left left of the driveway at 5826 Lakeshore Drive.

Some of the wood is dead and mostly dry and light - great for fireplace or pit.

If you pick up this wood, out of courtesy, please take the entire lot and let me know you did so.

Thank you to those who have already help us help our customers.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Ploetry - Absence of Life

Empty Window Sills

Lost Sensors of Light, Life

Dirty Dishes, Unrinsed Porcelain, Plain Enamel, White

No Color

Absence of Green

Absence of Life

Home, unattended

Copyright © Doug Ingbretsen

Well-Managed Crepe Myrtle

I usually like to parse out and time the articles I post, but we will be working on the little blue-gray house property this week, whereafter, each day, I will be lucky to take a shower, grab dinner, a few beers and head to bed. Of course, somehow, I'll find the time to mingle with some friends and share a few dances at Tombo.

I want to get this article out a.s.a.p. because the timing is right.

I don't know if this gorgeous girl was planted by the developer, the previous owner or Mother Nature, but I would have never planted her this close to a home.

Yet, with a little good fortune and some managed pruning, it all works (no home foundation/root issues), wonderfully. Someone, prior to me, decided to pollard this Crepe Myrtle, just about or just above the roof line.

I would call this habit of cutting, Crepe Murder, but this was not quite the same. Some of the results are similar, yet not so pronounced as this tree was allowed to be a tree.

She was allowed to be a tree with a spread of roughly 30 feet and a nearly matching height, providing a wonderful amount of shade for the back yard. I wish almost every property owner had at least one of these trees somewhere on their property. Just one as a specimen plant, not three or four hacked-back trees (shrub-like) along a foundation or roadside.

She's been under my care for about five years and I'll probably make some relieving cuts on her soon to prevent me or anyone else from heading into some low hanging fruit or branches.

In the fall, hopefully before any major foliage drops, I'll get to her and make some thinning cuts on some of the whips and smaller branches which are drooping. I love pruning in winter, but I get a better feel for the plant when the feel, look and weight of the foliage is more apparent.

There are also some junior leader stems which need to be removed to keep her off the roof - a yearly endeavor, but well worth it.

This photo, upward, under the canopy and through the crown, is gorgeous, but not what it could be if she had been left alone. We end up with smaller and less substantial branches, prone to drooping, but this is what I address in what I do and the results can be as magnificent as if the tree was in a meadow of grass, unhindered by man and our structures. This takes time.

Below are her two sisters, but not as substantial. They are too close together, shading one another during different times of the day and competing for resources from the soil they both share.

They are easier to manage for such reason and their slower growth rate, but in their own way, as gorgeous as the other, particularly at night with the street light when in full-bloom or when completely foliated.

Imagine if we had none of these wondrous and wooden friends among us.

Mosquitoes: Perhaps a DIY Solution

Cutter Backyard Bug Control
In the summer of 2016, the year after the flood of 2015, I began to notice and be annoyed by more mosquitoes in my back yard.

From my side of the fence, I try to clean out as much growth as possible every so many years as I cannot easily access this and there is no individual property owner or individual I can contact or count on to do so. This space is virtually a forest.

In the early spring of 2016 I was enjoying my favorite spot to relax and heard running, flowing water I never had before. There, existed a ditch or creek which was fed by an uphill spring which was obviously dry and defunct before.

I imagine this slight stream of water became constricted during the summer of 2016 and became a nice breeding ground or watery bedding for mosquitoes because I had no problem, much worth speaking of, before. About such time I applied Cutter Backyard Bug Control® and never much thought about the results or its effectiveness until this year. A good thing I should have recognized unless luck was in my court.

Several weeks ago I was once again in my favorite spot of relaxation and I was lambasted, brutalized and totally abused by mosquitoes to the point I retreated to the indoors. Supposedly I am of the attractive blood type for these little merchants of thirst and blood sucking and there are all sorts of reasons for their existence.

I went into my shed and realized I still had plenty of Cutter Backyard Bug Control® from years ago and applied it as instructed by the label. Pyrethrum is the main active ingredient and it is safe for most every plant and animal except for some marine life. Please read the label and use accordingly.

I applied this to virtually every inch of my back yard - lawn, plants, furniture, etc. Later, not so much for relief from the heat, but to test its effectiveness, I spent some time working in the yard, over a few days, in the early morning and late evening hours when mosquitoes are most active. I've noticed nary a mosquito and the other bug counts seems lower, especially gnats.

Application of this product is very simple and coverage is quite easy incorporating a water hose.

At a nominal cost, you should try it at least once.

I have no ties to the manufacturer or sale of this product, nor do I receive any compensation for promoting its use.