Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Roots and Luck

Over the weekend I finally finished digging the 30 post holes out back. Normally in Florida this would be no big deal because we are just sitting on a big pile of sand, but our new fence travels through the several very big oak trees that just happen to be in the way, and these trees own quite a bit of real estate underground.

An oak tree has roots that fan out to the tips of its branches, a huge network. Like blood vessels, the roots out at the edge are tiny but the ones near the trunk (the heart) can be big. And some of my holes needed to go near the big trunks. I didn't know what to expect.

It wasn't until the very last post hole, the one at the front corner of the yard, that I ran into bad luck. In this corner I knew exactly where I wanted the hole to go. The first plunge of the post-hole digger returned a dull thud. A root. I brushed away some sand to find the edge of the root, but there was no edge. The root was massive, bigger underground that most of our trees above ground, a great pillar of a root, probably 18 inches wide, with smaller roots fanning out.

I tried and tried but could not get a good picture.

There was no cutting through that root, or cutting it would surely kill the tree, so I felt around it until I found a pocket big enough to sink my 4 x 4 post. Now the fence will be crooked in that corner. Oh, well.

If this had happened on the first tree I encountered, I would have been very discouraged. I know now that I was lucky to begin with, lucky that I had no problem with the 5 or 6 other big oaks, but luck is quickly taken for granted.

This weekend was chilly and blustering, perfect for digging holes.

On Thursday on my fencing should be delivered. Next step: setting the posts.

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