Care to Dance?
It’s August 8th as I sit here with my morning cup of coffee. I just did my part to curtail this year’s drought by doing a rain dance in my front yard. I think it worked. After turning on the morning news, I see we may get some rain this afternoon. As soon as the kids get up, I’ll send them out to do the same. What a sight it would be to see all of us a South Riding doing a rain dance in our front yards before going to work Monday morning. Now that’s a community that works together!

I know everyone has been beleaguered with news and information about rain, or the lack thereof and I promise this will be my last conversation with you about the subject. I hear at this point we would need 3 weeks of steady rain to fill rivers and reservoirs to normal levels. It’s like your old college grade point averages, the closer you move towards graduation the harder it becomes to raise your average. Don’t I know about that!

All of us have young, community street trees in front of our houses, Honey locust, Willow oaks, Maples, London plane trees, Linden trees and a few others. You may have noticed the Linden trees over the past few weeks being devoured by Japanese Beetles. The beetle usually starts at the top of the tree and works its way down. It looks bad but most if not all will recover. Many of us have been helping the developer and the proprietary by watering these trees when possible. During the water restrictions this will be difficult. Water is critical for these young trees. When and if possible, your assistance in watering the trees in front of your house will serve as a valuable investment in our communities’ future. Just a trickle of water twice per week early in the morning. Check the soil’s moisture by pushing a screwdriver into the root ball. If it slides in easily, your water has been soaking in. Mulching around these trees will help retain moisture, 2 to 3 inches will be good but remember not to put soil or mulch right up to the trunk or any woody parts of the plant.

I have also noticed there are Bagworms on some of the Honey locust trees. By pulling these bags off the trees now, you will keep these pests from laying eggs for next years populations. You will also keep the worms from defoliating the trees this year. Bagworm populations can explode quickly, so efforts here will be well worth your time.

Rick, Casey and their staff have been working arduously in efforts to keep these trees alive. Not only are the small trees in peril but the large established shade trees within the Tree Preservation areas are struggling. Steps are being taken to assist those old giants as well. Your help with your street trees will be greatly appreciated and I will keep a close eye on all of them and do whatever I can. For now, I’m headed for my closet to get out that old leisure suit, put on KC and the Sunshine Band and try some disco dancing in the front yard. I wonder what the neighbors are thinking? I wish you the best of health for you and your trees!

Copyright 2005 by Peter Deahl. All rights reserved.
 
Back to Articles
The Pruning School 16 Berkeley Court Sterling, Virginia 20165