In February, we discovered the mature Blue Spruce on the property was infested with a Cytospora Canker. The fungus Leucostona kunzei creates the canker, and in our tree, it manifested in branches near the tree’s apex, and lower branches showed evidence of infection. Purplish white and white patches of resin-coated a substantial portion of the spruce. In the arborist’s opinion, the cankers were girdling the trunk, and despite any treatment, we might attempt, the tree would eventually die. It was a heartbreaking decision, but we opted to remove the 30-year-old, 40-ft tall tree.
Unfortunately, the free-flowing resin infected and killed the grass. Between mangy chunks of dirt, scraggly weeds and yellow dandelions grew. After grinding out the large stump, the lawn was a complete disaster. Time for more work. We removed the top layer of soil, brought in clean fill, leveled the yard, and laid new sod. The sprinkler system required an overhaul, and we replaced broken heads and adjusted the areas covered. We selected a Black Tupelo to replace the spruce, created more garden beds, and mulched. As a last touch, we planted 60 Easy Wave Petunias in various beds.
I don’t know how it happens, but a single project is rarely straightforward, and they are always difficult to complete. One job has a way of breeding. It brings attention to other areas which look bedraggled, dirty, and less than appealing. I have plans to rework the existing borders with additional plants to better coordinate with the new plantings. The cracked sidewalk must be fixed, the front door begs for a coat of paint, the house and fence want power-washing, and the backyard is screaming for a little love. A gardener’s work is never done.
What spring projects have you tackled?
Keep on writing.
Jo Hawk The Writer