We’ve been blessed with some beautiful mornings lately. Snow was falling in big heavy clumps yesterday and we woke again to snow on the ground this morning. By the time the sun has come out, it all melts away quickly because it isn’t cold enough for the ground to freeze yet. The new dog, Beezee, may not have seen snow before because she found it quite interesting and she kept lapping it up off the grass like it was a real treat.
This morning, I opened the blinds in my mother’s room so she could greet the day, and I was surprised by the beauty of the sunny morning with the “mountains” of clouds on the horizon. I love Michigan when the seasons begin to change.
I have three little maple trees that I planted around the barn — let’s see, maybe 3 years ago. The first two years I was really worried about them because the bark on the southwest side of each began to crack and peel. Bugs got into them and Borers made holes in the trunks. I went to several nurseries and asked for help, and they gave me several different answers. The first said I should paint black tar on the bare trunk to protect it. The second said I should spray insecticide on the trunk and wrap it in paper tape. The guy who sold us the trees came out and chastized me for watering them, (“You’ll kill a tree by watering it!”) and blamed me for the problem.
Finally, a friend who is an “Arborist” listened to my tale of woe and said, “Sounds like Southwest Disease.” Huh? He said that when you transplant a maple, if you don’t put the north side to the north in the new location, the thinnest bark may be placed in the most vulnerable exposure and thus suffers from the elements more. Once it has been planted, there is nothing much you can do except use a razor blade to remove the curled up bark, forming a point towards the bottom so the moisture will drip out rather than collect. Eventually, if not too much bark has been damaged, it will grow together the best it can and will survive. Whatever you do, don’t apply tar. (Oops, too late.)
So, my trees are surviving. The sugar maple in the middle has suffered the most and has not grown much yet. The other two are silver maples and are beginning to take off this year. They have turned a yellow-pink color this fall, while the sugar maple is deep red. I am beginning to relax and believe that they will make it and one day we will have the beauty and the shade that I had planned.