Monday, October 19, 2015

We Won (We Think)

Sometimes you get the tree.  Sometimes the tree gets you.  So the hard-fought-for win may still have its challenges.

About 1/3 of the pie finished

When we sold our Portland house, we left behind a monster hidden in the yard.  The buyers had no clue about the horsetail (equisetum)--at least not for a month or so.  Bend yards do not have horsetail.  I knew we were safe.  But our sellers left behind a monster hidden in the front yard under the chokecherry tree--surface roots with suckers.  They began to pop up shortly after we moved in, but because of the attention to settling, the chokecherry suckers went untended.

By spring the density of the suckers had reached critical mass.  My trusted hand hoe was the weapon of choice. It bounced off the earth like a toy.  Hidden by less than an inch of soil, massive roots were the foundation for the suckers. Now the real combat began.

The easy part!  The hard part was so hard the luxury of photos
was not part of the pie.
Divide and conquer I've heard.  The pie-shaped ground under the tree went into quarters. One quarter a day was a reasonable goal. But the wooden spaghetti did not give in easily. One quarter pie a day was exhausting. On the fourth day, I cried "uncle" and asking hubby for help. Some roots were as big as my wrist. We (hubby) chopped, sawed, and clipped all the visible roots down at least six inches into the soil.  The removed roots filled two yard debris dumpsters.

Space for the birds to eat.  Wondered why there were no
ground feeders last year.

This summer a mere handful of suckers sprouted in the pie. Our fears that we might be killing the tree were unfounded. The chokecherry produced white flowers in the spring, but far fewer "cherries," and therefore less mess on the sidewalk. The leaves came on green and then fudged into chocolate by mid summer. The final score as of Fall seems to indicate a truce. We're counting that as a win.

Moral to this story:  The easy way (snip and cover with bark mulch) is the hard way.  The hard way (remove the underlying problem) is the easy way. The second truth of the story:  Karma happens.  There's bind weed outside our back fence marching into our yard!


  1. Its very true,, the easy path is not always the best path!

  2. Karma happens.