2020 is the year trees and shrubs planted in the mid-1990s took a hit.
While mowing for the first time after the Aug. 10 derecho I noticed an Earliblaze apple tree was in bloom. The branches with blooms had otherwise died.
The Red Delicious apple tree lost a major branch during the storm. It seems unlikely to survive, although I might be able to get a crop next year. The scar where the branch was is big. Sealing it from insect predators seems a temporary solution. I had the same experience with a Golden Delicious tree a few years ago. It’s already gone.
One of the lilac bushes suddenly lost all of its leaves. While mowing I noticed new leaves had begun to form. I presume it is next year’s leaves. It’s time to cut that bush out.
Our neighborhood continues to recover from the derecho. Chain saws run almost every day. Burn piles amass, piles of firewood lay everywhere. Although I cleaned up the fallen branches and trees this week, there is more work to be done and sadly it involves a chain saw rather than pruning shears.
Planting a tree is a long-term commitment. When we have a year like 2020 one questions the merit of decades of work when the derecho, combined with disease, mitigates that work so quickly and unexpectedly. I don’t measure my remaining time on this blue-green, turning brown sphere in decades any more. There is enough time to eat apples from new trees I planted this year.
The haze through which the sun shines originated in record-setting fires on the West Coast. The arctic also has a record number of fires. The arctic and antarctic glaciers are melting and don’t get enough snowfall to offset the loss. It is an increasingly hot planet. We are all impacted as the pollution spreads through the atmosphere.
Phase two of my tree work is taking care of many dead branches that cropped up since spring. There is time to work on it. The firewood pile is getting taller though, and isn’t finished growing yet.