Saturday, April 4, 2009

So Long, Honey... suckle

When we first bought this house, I posted the "back view" photo (below) that the realtor had used in the MLA listing. The pic had been taken in the springtime, and the honeysuckle was in full force, to say the least. We knew right away, if we were going to have this woods and not let the woods have us, we were going to have to take care of that honeysuckley pest.

I think we had lived in the house all of six weeks before we started getting estimates for clearing some of the underbrush. Sure, we're DIYers (in theory - it hasn't really been applied, yet), but there are some jobs that are very much worth the money it takes to hire professionals. Like, cutting and hauling extremely thick and tangly honeysuckle off of a 60 degree slope - in the snow. Even if we had cut and cleared it, we had no way to burn or haul it. What would we do with it? Estimates to have it hauled out were around the same price as the amount we paid to have the whole thing taken care of. No brainer. We were able to score a great deal with the tree guys because the weather was so crummy; there just wasn't a lot of work around. Although our little project was less than desirable (we actually had one guy tell us he didn't want the job), we eventually found a willing and capable tree service. Then, we talked them down to the price we were willing to pay. Hiring out exterior work in the winter certainly has its benefits.

The top photo is looking straight back at our property (facing east). You can see our nearest neighbor to the east - their house is through the trees there. The second photo is a shot of the left side of the woods and much of the north bordering neighbor's backyard. The third shot is to the right of our woods, showing some of our property and most of the south bordering neighbor's lot.

We have a little less than an acre total, and much of that is wooded. It feels like far more woods, though, because our property is adjacent to lots of other properties that share the same woods. Sam and I tried to estimate it, and our best guess is that our little woods is part of about 100 continuous wooded acres. The woods are, of course, bordered on one side by our street. On the other side they eventually skirt along a highway that we can hear when the trees are not leafed out, but cannot see at all. The photos above are taken from our back patio, while the ones below are taken from the second story - our master bedroom. It was very cold the day that I took the pictures, and you can see how my warmth made steam on the window as I tried to take the shot. I think they cleared the honeysuckle around January 21st.

When the tree guys were done with all their chainsawing, they tied rope around the bundles of honeysuckle and pulled them up the hill with a pick-up truck. They were very smart about their work - often using pulleys to route the brush into the path they wanted. They also did a great job of being mindful of our neighbors' yards... ours too, but there's only so much they could do to keep our yard looking nicely when they were basically piling large mounds of honeysuckle brush right in the front yard. This pic gives a general idea, but it was taken fairly early on. The piles got much bigger!

It took four to five men a total of two full days to take care of the honeysuckle on the slope. We're no where near rid of the pesky varmint, but the work they did that day gave us a head start. Now, Sam has a place cleared where he will be able to hopefully burn the remaining honeysuckle after cutting it. We're maybe a tenth of the way through it. Besides needing to clear the rest, we have to diligently keep the already cut stumps topheaded. Honeysuckle grows back. We really want to try to take care of it without chemicals if at all possible, so herbicides are out for now. There are highly recommended "Honeysuckle Pullers" on the market that are supposed to get the stump and lots of roots out, but we were getting rid of the honeysuckle on a steep slope very close to our home. In other words, we didn't want to loosen any of the soil and potentially make our slope a huge candidate for erosion issues. We have plans to excavate next summer and replant on a more gradual, (less frightening for a mother of small children) slope.

So, that's our first bit of real progress on the woods! It was money well spent, and having a clear view of the rest of the property nearest the house gives us a chance to visualize what we'd like to do with it down the road. The redbud trees are getting ready to bloom in our part of Ohio... love them. I'm thinking two or three would look right at home down under our larger trees :)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You can paint stump killer on the cut ends and they will die.