Friday, May 27, 2011

The Perils of Gardening

Ah, post-grading, when thoughts turn to other responsibilities.

This is one of my Tamarack trees. You'll notice that it's having a problem. The other Tamarack looks like the top half of this one.

Since it takes a while for Tamaracks to green up, the problem wasn't immediately apparent, though I wasn't seeing swelling little buds on the one at all, and only on the bottom of the other. And now that I've finished grading, I turned my attention to figuring it out.

I asked my friend who's a master gardener, and she said she didn't know much about trees.

Then I asked one of my neighbors in passing, a guy who gardens a lot and has planted a bunch of trees in his area. He didn't know, but suggested I ask at a local nursery that he likes a lot.

I went to the nursery and asked, and the nursery guy said that a lot of trees just hadn't made it through the winter this year, and lots were also very stressed from the winter. And he suggested that I try this liquid iron stuff. Handily enough, he could sell me a bottle right there.

I brought it home, and read the directions. It turns out you need to spray this stuff on the needles or leaves. That means I needed a sprayer.

I emailed my usual neighborly friends, the ones who let me play with their dog for puppy therapy, but she didn't know quite what I meant. And then I saw the first neighbor in passing again (he walks to the end of the street to pick up his son from the schoolbus every day, so it's not hard to see him in passing), and we talked about liquid iron and sprayer things, and he brought me a sprayer to use. He also warned me that he'd last used the sprayer for an herbicide, so I should wash it well first.

And I did. I hope. I rinsed it out twice, then filled it with soapy water and sprayed some of my weeds until I was bored, then rinsed it out and sprayed to get soapiness out. Then rinsed it again.

Then I measured exactly--okay, not so exactly--and filled it again, and started spraying. I sprayed my poor Tamaracks. Then I sprayed my birch, and then my two "big" pine trees. I had more spray left, and went down to the "prairie restoration area" and sprayed the poor little pine trees there. One of near a blue bird house, and I got to see a bluebird coming out, FAST! I hope my presence for a few minutes didn't scare it too much. (I didn't go nearer the box than I had to.) Then, I finished up with the maple.

So, now, I've either killed almost every tree in my yard, or not. We'll see. I don't have much hope for the Tamaracks. I don't know what to do about the half-alive one. I just hope that it has a strong enough root system that it will start a new bole.

I had a nice shower, put on fresh clothes, had dinner, and finally went to bed.

This morning, I was dreaming that the house I grew up in had a swimming pool in the dining room and I was swimming for some exercise, and then I felt something crawly on the back of my neck, just at the hairline. And I went to scratch and felt something, and instantly was awake.

What I felt was a tick. At least it wasn't engorged. But, EWWWW, I slept with a tick all night! EWWWWW!

I may never go outside again. (Not really, but I detest ticks. They totally gross me out, doubly so when they're engorged. EWWWW)

And of course now I'm totally paranoid about every little sensation.


  1. EWW -- I hate, hate, hate ticks. And I live in an area that it turns out is a center of Lyme disease, which makes me hate them even more. Yuck!

    Best of luck to your poor trees.

  2. oh, i hate ticks. there were a lot of challenging parenting moments, raising my kids, but one of the ickiest was finding A TICK IN MY LITTLE BOY'S EAR when i went to wake him up one day.

    hope your trees make it. or at least that the lower quarter of that one tree continues to thrive.