Thursday, May 9, 2013

Zombie Landscaping

The clearing of trees has a single-minded thrust and wide-angled lens. I was determined to finish up this weekend, determined to clear-cut the yard and be finished with it. Normally I would take each plant into consideration and have some sympathy for it before I yank it from the earth, but this weekend I approached the yard with a zombie's sense of compassion and determination.

And this was no small number of trees. We had literally thousands of trees, though most of them were no bigger than a small weed, which is what cherry laurel trees are--weeds that spread underground, one of Florida's most invasive plants (not that I can be forgiven for what I've done). Only about 20 or 30 of these trees were too big for the lawn mower, and only about 10 were bigger than about 3 inches in diameter.

Of course, I had already decapitated them a week ago, leaving about 5 feet of trunk as a lever to help get out the roots. Have these plants been in agony this past week? Probably.

Cherry laurel roots run out laterally from the base of the tree. They typically don't have a tap root that grows straight down, like an oak. So my task was to uncover the main side roots, cut them with an ax, and then wiggle the trunk until it comes out. I discovered that these roots were often as big as the trunk. Cutting just the trunk would have been easier, but this would have left a visible trunk, and I never wanted to see these guys again.

With the trunks out of the way, I was able to run my lawn mover, and now we have a typical Florida oak hammock, waiting to be filled with new plants. Hopefully the new plants won't ever learn of the violence done here or of the zombie monster that did it.

No comments:

Post a Comment