Smokey the Bear
There are two ideal times of the year to deal with trees: the spring and the fall. This is because of how the tree protects itself. In the height of summer, the tree has all of its branches filled with sap and nutrients. As it prepares for the winter, it begins to concentrate its nutrients to the trunk. In the spring, it is just coming out of its winter protection, so its nutrients are mostly in the trunk. Trees are more likely to survive a pruning and keep healthy when trimmed in the spring or fall.
This means that my dad, Tom, has two big seasons of tree pruning. Given that we have over 300 varieties of trees on the golf course which equate to several thousand of trees, that is no easy job. Dad likes to keep the trees trimmed up to help with pace of play. If the branches are low on the tree, then it makes it harder to see your golf ball. It also can cause cart damage because golfers think their carts will fit under the tree when in fact, they don’t.
Dad has been very busy the last two weeks trimming all of the trees on the golf course. He takes it one rough section at a time. When he is done with all of his tree trimming, he gathers all of the branches and cleans everything up.
Upon first glance, you may think we were hit by some straight line winds.
It’s actually just a Tom storm. He trims all of the low branches on the trees as well as all of the dead branches.
Our family refers to dad as the human squirrel because he is always in a competition with squirrels in the fall for nuts and seeds. He plants thousands of seeds every year. Over the years, he has gotten selective in what seeds he plants. Walnuts no longer make the cut. The squirrels appreciate that!
Because we aren’t within city limits, we are still able to burn all of our brush. After he piles up all of the debris, he lights the burn pile. In dad’s younger years, he had quite a few exciting run ins with the burn pile. The one event that stands out in my mind was about 25 years ago, when the fire spread and covered about 100 acres of our farmland. It took about four fire departments to get the fire put out. Since then, dad has learned to be more cautious. Since you rarely live down mistakes you make in our family, he has been gifted several stuffed animals of Smokey the Bear.
My mom really likes the two weeks he spends every fall trimming tree branches and burning debris because he comes home absolutely covered in soot. Doing laundry for someone who works outside can often be full of adventures and challenges.
Even though the branches were just on a tree an hour ago, they still burn easily because the fire gets so hot. The fresh debris does produce a darker cloud of smoke.
How about you? Do you trim your trees in the fall? Have you driven by the golf course and thought we were on fire?