A tidy forest is a happy forest. I have been looking at dead hemlocks on the east side of my driveway for far too long. In the winter it isn't noticeable to anyone but me. Come the time of vegetation, all that dead hemlock feels like getting poked in the eye with a stick.
It was past time to start cutting it all down. The sooner it hits the ground, the sooner it will decompose and disappear.
Two of my baby Witch Hazels are along the drive. I also planted what I hope is a Sourwood tree. They could use the extra sun and elbow room as they grow.
I cut down quite a few of the smaller dead hemlocks and cleaned the dead out of the half live ones. It's a start. There are still quite a few large ones and one monster that need to come down. I'll need the chainsaw for that.
The plague of woolly adelgid that killed the hemlocks has abated with the release of predator beetles. In the last two years the hemlocks have started to grow again. The few living ones that remain could also use some air, light and elbow room.
Hemlocks are one of the few conifers with enough latent adventitious buds that allows them to tolerate regular hard pruning. It is quite possible for the half dead ones to reassert their true nature as a dense conical evergreen tree. I'd much prefer living hemlocks along my drive than a forest full of dead ones.
It's a big chunk of forest with a lot of mess. It could take me a while to reach optimum tidy.
A sunny sixty degree day did enough melt for me to get down the driveway. I'll need another one tomorrow before I can get back up. I'd rather walk for as long as it takes than shovel.
I also planted some seed today of Goldenseal and Asclepias incarnata. They both need some cold stratification to germinate. I should get enough of that before spring. I covered the pots with another tray because there are all kinds of varmints that just love to dig in fluffy potting soil and newly planted plants. Damn varmints! I hope it works.