Propping Trees

Last year, we had a severe drought.  Our golf course actually ran out of water.  It was the first time in our 40 years of business that all of the creek beds that feed our course’s ponds dried up.  By the end of the season, we looked pretty rough.  In order to keep the greens alive, we had to hand water them to conserve as much water as we could.  It was one of the harder years we have had in this business.

With the drought, we also lost many trees.  Trees need water.  My dad, Toad Valley’s Tree Guy, has been busy this spring planting new trees where old ones didn’t make it through the Iowa weather.

Dad has basically planted every tree on the golf course.  Because he is a lover of trees (the family calls him the human squirrel), he thought it would be unique to have all of our 150 yard markers be trees.  Arborvitaes to be specific.  These poor arborvitaes have had a tough last few years.  In 2010, we had snow on the ground from December through March and the deer found these trees to be delicious that year.  They were all completely eaten up as far as the deer could reach.  So, dad had to replace many of these 150 yard markers.  We also have discs and posts that mark the 150 yard markers, but the trees are very easy to see from a distance.

For the non-golfers in the group, a 150 yard marker is simply a crude method of measuring how far away from the green you are, so you can properly choose a club from your bag.  Obviously, there are apps and other more modern methods of finding the exact distance nowadays, but these are markers that provide a general reference in distance.

The trusty tree spade made its appearance because dad had a small nursery of arborvitaes just for use when they need replacement.


Then, we had lots of rain.  Almost 6 inches of rain in a week.  Add to that a little snow.  Ok.  Not a little.  Nearly 8 inches of snow.  I’m not complaining about the moisture because we desperately need it.  But newly planted trees need a little more help when it gets too wet.

Tree down!  Tree overboard!


Dad grabbed his rope and attached it to his cart to pull the tree back up into place.


My dad wasn’t a Boy Scout, but he can definitely tie a rope.  He never goes anywhere without a rope in his cart because you just never know when you’re going to need it.


My dad is very protective of his trees and his tools.  At the golf course, we have nearly 70 employees, so it is important to make sure you label where things go and what others are allowed to touch.  As I stated here, no one is allowed to use dad’s loppers nor his hand saw.


Once dad had the tree tied to the rope, he hopped in his cart and pulled the tree back up into place.


The tree stood right back up.  I think I heard that tree breathe a sigh of relief.  Dad finished off standing the tree up without cart assistance.


I love my dad.  It is a good thing that I know he loves me because trees get lots of dad’s love.  My brother, sister and I could easily get jealous.  He told the tree to stay there while he went and fetched some fence posts.  Not surprisingly, the tree listened to him and stood perfectly still.  Trees listen to my dad.


Then dad went to get some fence posts and rubber hose to prevent damage to the tree’s bark.  He put the stakes in the ground surrounding the tree and wrapped the wire around the hose and the bark .


Now our little 150 yardage marker just needs to grow some deeper roots before we can remove the stakes that are keeping him propped up nice and tall.


How about you?  Have any trees fall over because they got too much water and the soil was soft?  Who knew they required so much care!

Post by Allison

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