Friday, November 17, 2006

Worrying about the trees

Trees are something that happen naturally on this landscape. Nature gives us all we need and more. However, over the years we have planted trees to offer privacy, and last year we planted six dwarf apple trees. One of the spruces we planted 12 years ago has been damaged by an invasive wild rose bush. As much as I enjoy the fragrance those 2 weeks in June, it really had become a nuisance. So we took it down in September and arranged to have two white spruce planted in its place.

damage from the rose bush

There is a tree farm the next hedgerow over from us, so the landscaper was able to scoop the tree out of the ground and put it in the planting hole here in one simple operation. Mother Nature has been very cooperative with the rain since they were planted and they seem very happy in their new home.

moving the trees into place

The apple trees are my big worry right now. There are three issues, the first and most controllable actually are the deer. During the warmer months I rely on Bobbex, and chicken wire laid on the ground, because the deer don’t like the feel of the chicken wire on their hooves. But in the winter I like to fence them in to keep the deer away. I have put 8 foot tall bamboo poles in the ground and will use them to hold the 8 foot tall deer netting. The second problem is “cedar apple rust.” This area is full red cedars and there is a blight that passes from apple to cedar and back again. I have avoided the impact of it by planting resistant varieties, Freedom, Liberty and Jonafree. I also have a non resistant Arkansas Black in the mix just for fun.

But it is the third worry that has me awake at night. It is the winter moth (Operophetera brumata). Soon the moths will be laying their eggs and in the spring their larvae will climb up the trunks of my trees and wiggle right into the blossoming flowers. They are particularly hard on blossoming trees in this way. Their greater local damage is to our oak trees which are attacked by the larger caterpillars in late May and early June. Last spring we were dripping in caterpillars and the infestation shows no sign of abating for 8 – 10 years! This is scary!

This scariness has captured the imagination of some local artists who created this version of the winter moth called the “Vineyard Scareapillar: eating the island one leaf at a time.” It stands nearly 10 feet tall outside of the General Store.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Golly thanks for this photo of scareapillar. I am sorry
I missed seeing it for real in the fall. It is fabulous-looking and so topical.
I have seen the real winter moths, this past week especially. Sadly many many little "mudspatters" of eggs on the walls of my house. Can't see the camoflaged eggs on trees. I hope that they are all in my neighborhood, none on your baby apple trees. The good news is that the catepillars are still tiny, like last year. The scupture reminds us our demons could be bigger.
xo, mbk