Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Tree Huggers Beware. Timber!

The Hemlock trees, Tsuga caroliniana in the Appalachians and Tsuga canadensis in all of the eastern US and Canada are being attacked and killed by the Woolly Adelgid. I attacked and killed a bunch of small ones today too.

A thicket of small Hemlocks was/is growing on the western side of my future house underneath the more mature deciduous trees where my sunset view was supposed to be. Alas, there will be no "View" for me, except maybe in the winter time and by then the sun may set behind the nearest hill across the highway and not on the horizon. I am too close to the property line and not high enough above my neighbor's forest below. These are tall trees here folks.

Off to the north, the right hand side of the picture above, a mature grove of very piqued looking Hemlocks block what may be a small view in that direction. They are on my property. Some of these trees are already dead. Some more of them may have to die. I need a little slice of the sky.

I removed these small Hemlocks for many reasons, the potential partial winter view beneath the tall deciduous trees, the fire hazard of conifers so close to the house and most important of all, cleared ground to plant other things in.

No much of anything grows near or beneath Hemlocks. I want to chose other small trees, shrubs and perennials to fill this space beneath my western forest.

And you see the perk test guy came today. He looked at the pits on the side of this ridge line and exclaimed, "Saprolite, Rejected"! There will be no drain fields allowed on this slope. That means no trench digging with big machines. This space is now free to be.

Now I was not horrified by this and sent spinning in despair because he had already approved my pits on the other side of the sunny utility valley for both my drain field and my repair area. I will be permitted to poo. Now I wait for him to fill out the paper work. He might have that ready next Monday.

So I garden.

I left four of the small hemlocks on the southern road side portion of this slope. If they survive the Woolly Adelgid, they should provide some winter screening from the highway. If they don't, then I will get to chose some other conifers to handle the job.

A huge drift of the Gooseneck Loosestrife, Lysimachia clethroides lives nearby. It has gotten a low invasive rating from the resident gardeners, happy, but not a thug. I am going to be dealing in very large spaces. Happy is good.

After our daily afternoon mauka shower, blue skies appeared above the towering, yet thinning Hemlocks. Blue skies with racing clouds shine above a ridge of saprolite filled with potatoes. The rain water percolates perfectly nearby, a point 5, not too fast and not to slow, with biological soil activities to cleanse septic separated poo. Ya Hoo!

And the "View"? It is everywhere. My little piece of it too.


deb said...

Congrats on the "yes, you can have a house" permit. The other inspections might make you change something or other, but once the house is started you get to keep it.

Keep my place in mind when browsing the plant nurseries.

Anonymous said...

You sure know how to keep busy! If he said the permit would be ready by Monday then it should be ready by the following Monday! They always stretch the truth!

Annie in Austin said...

Taking out a few trees for more view seems logical to me, Christopher, but in the meantime, you can always look up for a slice of sky.

Congratulations on passing the perc test - now you won't end up like that old joke with the pig and the monkey and the cork and the last thing seen.... Philo told me that one when we were in college so it's really old.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Anonymous said...

You seem to have a knack for ending up in places with gorgeous views. I like your current view even better than your last, but I've always been fond of the Smoky Mountains.

Carol Michel said...

I can't even keep up with all the work you've done so far, yet it is just beginning, isn't it.

Your views across the mountains are beautiful.

Anonymous said...

If I may access your Hawaii knowledge a bit, my husband and I recently managed to grow a pineapple to delicious fruition (with the help of a greenhouse in winter) here in zone 7. He started it from the top of a purchased pineapple and I said, what the hell; we'll try it.
The plant is now "branching"; do the branches, or whatever you call the new growth centers, have any chance of making a pineapple, or should we start over with the top from the one we just ate?

And congrats on your poo permit. My very mature hemlocks all died too, the only remnant being the wonderful acid soil they left behind, the best in my lot. I thank them for that.

Christopher C. NC said...

Deb, I have had a few thoughts for your front hill in the native plant department.

Keeping busy is not a problem. The forest is messy by nature and if I want to plant a garden there is a lot of clearing and cleaning to do first. Once I know where everthing will be house and cabin wise, I can start creating nice wide paths to the various locations on the property. That will make tidying things easier too.

I don't think I have heard that joke Annie, but I can picture it in my mind.

The "View" I have been showing is borrowed from the resident gardeners who live higher up than I will. They like me enough to let me stay here for now.

In Hawaii they will get two or three harvests from a field before they plant fresh, so yes the keiki sprouting from the base of the mother plant, which is now going to die, can be grown to fruiting. It is best to let the mother plant wither away substantially before you remove the leaves down to the root crown.

There are hundreds of Hemlocks on this property. Some of them hopefully will survive this plague.

mmw said...

Ah, there you are. You should make an announcement over on Trop. Emb. incase anyone else is staring blankly at their RSS feed.

Anonymous said...


Thank you for the pineapple advice. I promise not to keep asking. I hope you are right about the hemlocks; the adelgid has been a real plague to a beautiful tree.