Monday, February 18, 2008

They Call Me Chip

With spring fast approaching and my landscaping project on hold for the winter, I was beginning to feel pressured to get things rolling. My dilemma was how to remove the tornado-damaged trees in the windbreak and make the best use of the wood. The trees I wanted to remove were bent over Arborvitaes and White Pines that had their growing tips snapped off by the tornado that blew through the windbreak in 1996. The Arborvitaes were bent over from the force of the wind but didn't break. However the damage was permanent and the trees would be considered hazards if they were near a structure.

Since I am replanting the windbreak in stages, I felt it was best to remove the damaged trees and chip as much of them as possible to use as mulch to protect their replacements. I also wanted to save the very nice, straight trunks of the White Pines to use as lumber for future projects. I think it will be wonderful to have the pine wood from the trees my grandpa planted. Wouldn't it be nice to have spruce floors from my own trees? We are going to look for someone who can mill the trunks for us into usable planks.

The only problem with my grand plan? No chipper! I called the local industrial equipment rental company and inquired about a wood chipper. The sales guy said he did have one and it could handle 6 inch logs! Perfect! We drove out to get it and $150 later we were ready to get started. The nice part about renting it on a Saturday was that we got to keep it Sunday for free. We made good use of it and I now have 4 large piles of pine mulch waiting to be used to landscape around the house and protect all the baby trees that will get planted in April.

I wish I could make this post scratch-and-sniff so you could appreciate the wonderful pine scented mulch piles that are sitting in the yard. The particle size is small and uniform, not like that hacked up junk you get when you buy a bag of mulch from your garden center. This is primo-quality stuff and the best part is we did the work ourselves. I can honestly say that I got my money's worth out of renting that chipper.

The photo shows Jim pushing the last branch into it. I don't know how large a standard Dodge Ram's bed is, but we got four truck beds full! The only difficult part of the project was getting the Ram unstuck...twice. We learned our lesson and kept it on the road after that. In the photo, you can see the cooling tower of Davis Besse Nuclear Power Plant. Now that you all know where I live you are welcome to come out and visit the Twelve Acres!

I'll have to get some photos of the wonderful logs we now have. Thank you grandpa, the trees are going to be put to good use! We only cut down 3 White Pines; the snags we simply limbed and left standing for the birds to use as nesting grounds and food sources. I'm quite certain the many woodpeckers, flickers and owls will appreciate the snags. We removed 6 bent over Arborvitaes which made a wonderful cedar-scented mulch. We found 2 pines that are very tall but quite dead. We are going to use these smaller diameter trees as the border edging around the house. It feels good knowing nothing went to waste and every part of the trees will benefit both man and beast.

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