|The hedgerow in the fall|
At one time the kitchen in this house must have been renovated. A new stainless steel sink installed. But what to do with the old cast iron sink?
Apparently it was too heavy to carry very far. Can you believe there's not even a chip in it? We have left it to sit in the garage while we deliberate our own kitchen renovation. It is possible this sink will see new life again.
Wandering around in the hedgerow got me wondering what other purposes it might be used for. Were there types of plants best suited to being planted here? These questions led me to the MacPhail Woods Ecology Forestry Project. This is a wonderful group that is working to restore natural forests on PEI through education and research. Their website provides a cornucopia of information including the use and care of hedgerows. Years ago hedgerows used to divide farmers fields, providing shelter to livestock grazing in those fields and providing wind protection for crops in the fields and homes. However most hedgerows were torn out so that large farm machinery could manuevre into the fields or as in the case of our own hedgerow they were simply neglected and the trees and shrubs began to die off. The loss of a hedgerow means that snow and dirt are easily swept up in winds and blown away. It also means the loss of wildlife habitat. Foxes, coyotes and rabbits use these small corridors to provide cover as they move across the land. It also provides homes and food to rodents and birds.
Once I realized the usefulness of having a hedgerow I began looking at ours with a critical eye. The perennials that thrive there in summer don't provide any wind break in winter. There is some shelter for animals in summer but shrubs providing shelter and food all year round would be preferable.
Last week we have finally started work on revitalizing this piece of our land. From the garage to our neighbours property line there are numerous dead and dying shrubs eeking out a meagre existence in the hedgerow. I inspected them last spring and found this.
These black sooty balls are called, aptly, Black Knot disease. It a fungus that attacks plants in the Prunus genus. Prunus species include cherry, almond and plum trees. It spreads by spores that catch a ride in the falling rain and on the wind. This fungus will kill a tree if left for long enough. That is what has happened here as fully 75% of the trees were dead and the others well on their way. The only way to be rid of this disease is to burn the offending wood and not plant anything of the Prunus variety in the area. Two weekends now we have spent clipping, chopping, sawing and then burning.
|The row of plum trees to be cut down|
|Starting work cutting the trees down|
|Half the hedge cut and burning at this point|
|All the trees are down with one last pile to burn.|