Crow’s Nest cleanup status – Thursday

November 3, 2011

We’ve spent another day chainsawing and chipping. There are only relative levels of completion; it’s difficult to say you’re ever finished. We’ve addressed downed branches along all eight miles of road frontage and in the yards of three homes on the preserve as well as a section of cattle pasture. I propped up a serviceberry tree I had planted that fell over.

I also spent some time at an “unstaffed” preserve I manage. (That’s how we refer to preserves that don’t have full time staff working on them.) Each of us manages one main preserve and several smaller ones. I spent an hour clearing just 100′ of road frontage.

Our road frontages and yards now look better than average for our area—on other properties the storm damage is still very evident from the road.

But—our trails are still a mess. A few major trees are blocking them and there are still branches everywhere. It will likely take at least another week to return the trails to passable condition. You can still walk around the downed trees and branches but this will add considerably to the time and effort it takes to visit.

The more we look, the more damage we find. We benefitted today from the volunteer efforts of two classes of WebWalkers who spent time scouting damage on the trails and picking up branches. The remaining effort involves chainsaws and power pole pruners.

Some more observations: if you were unlucky enough to plant “Bradford” callery pear (Pyrus calleryana ‘Bradford’) you have found out one reason you shouldn’t plant it: its weak crotches are doomed to fail, and since it’s such a formally-shaped tree it looks tragically misshapen when it loses a branch. (The other reason not to plant it is that it can be invasive.) Tuliptrees, known for shedding branches, did not fare too poorly, since they had already dropped their leaves when the heavy snow fell. Silver maple, known for weak wood and still in leaf, shattered extensively. Warm-season grasses such as little bluestem and Indian grass, which usually have a beautiful fall appearance of russet blades waving in the wind, have been flattened and the meadows are just mounds of green and brown vegetation.

The locals say this is the worst storm damage we’ve had in about 50 years.