I hope you have enjoyed your summer. The dryness that began in April has continued. February was the last month where we ran a precipitation surplus. Through August, most of us are between 60% to 75% of average precipitation. Many towns have outdoor water restrictions and some towns have outdoor water bans. August has been the wettest of our summer months so let’s hope that trend continues into September. Nights are also getting cool enough now, so many mornings we are reaching our dew points, which helps give our plants and lawns some much needed moisture.
Temperatures through the summer have averaged about 2 degrees a day above average. Usually around September 24th is when I notice leaves across the lawns. This year with the dryness we have had some trees dropping their leaves early. See the end of the newsletter for more info on the impact from our weather. The climate prediction center is forecasting for us to be above average in fall temperatures and rains around average. Let’s hope they are right.
We are now incorporating ion battery powered equipment into what we use, see below for more info. Good news, tick and mosquitos counts have been medium to low this summer.
Things to think about this Autumn are:
- Keep filling your birdbath so birds can get fresh water and fill your bird feeders if you have one. Avian botulism is in many of the drying ponds & forests.
- Help our Pollinators. Hand water your flowering or about to be flowering plants. Remember the nectar is their food.
- We can design and install your patio so in a short time you can be enjoying your property even more with family and friends.
- Clearing invasives and or bramble areas.
- Seed the open spots in your lawn; fall is the best time to germinate lawn seed, which will help, crowd-out the crab grass and other weeds next spring.
- The drought has played havoc with many of our lawns. As a lawn turns brown, in many places you can see the weeds have advanced while the grass has retreated. Treat those weeds before they go to seed.
- Planting of trees, shrubs, late blooming perennials and annuals, have your property look festive this fall! September & October are great months to plant shrubs and trees in our cooler weather.
- Planting your containers with cold season annuals so you have color and inspiration till at least Halloween and sometimes-even Thanksgiving.
- Transplanting and dividing of overgrown plant material.
- Final weeding so your beds start clean next spring, anytime after 10/1.
- Planting bulbs for next spring, plant now so they will be there in the spring!
- Use mole/vole repellant now if they have been a problem
- Add root & biology fertilizers to any plants that did not have good growth this year.
- Spraying your plants so they are protected from the deer eating them. Do it now before they get “use to” eating at your place.
- Designing new beds for spring planting.
- Let us chip your woodpile for you and use the wood chips to suppress weeds and later on to feed your soil.
Please contact me if you have any questions or if you are interested in using my services at 978.274.5633. In these challenging times I really appreciate it. Thank You!
Sophia Update: Sophia (11 years old now, holy moly!) had her first sleep away camp this summer. She loved her camp and Jen and I loved having a week with it just being us.
Where did my flowers go? In April it snowed and then temperatures dropped down to 14 and 19 degrees, that for most of us, ruined the peach crop, & also the hydrangeas, magnolias, and viburnums blooms to name a few.
Business Note: The drought has made it a challenging year; I have had to restrict hours and lay some people off. Pruning, masonry, clearing, cleaning and light construction are all jobs that we might be a good match for.
Business Update: We now have ion lithium battery operated blowers and weedwackers. As I stated in my spring newsletter a typical gas leaf blower pollutes 24 times more (per second) than my pickup truck, which we know is not great in itself. It got me thinking, how can I improve here. So we tried out the battery powered equipment and surprise, surprise, it works pretty well. We happily use the battery equipment on many of our jobs now. On some large jobs it is still better to use the gas engines, at least for now- technology is improving greatly. Get this: on the worst 2 stroke gas powered blowers, they spew more pollution than a 3,900 mile drive in a Ford pick up. The battery-powered machines are much quieter too.
Climate Update: You may have noticed in our new normal, that our summers are above normal in temperatures typically by a few degrees, but our winters are much warmer than average by many degrees. One of the key reasons summer are “cooler” so to speak, is our plants. They are actively taking in co2 during the summer, and in the winter they are not.
Industry Update: Pollinator alerts; the whole country is under an alert that we are losing them at an alarming rate. When you do plant, include plants that support our pollinators.
Turtles, frogs, (amphibians in general) are all on the move as ponds dry up from the drought, watch for them on the roads as they try to find new water sources. They are battling for their lives.
Canada, for the most part, has banned chemical pesticides, so there are many great organic pesticides on the market now.
Fall Plant of Interest: feed the birds during our winter, plant winterberry or hollies.
The value of a tree: one tree can absorb as much carbon in a year as a car produces while driving 26,000 miles. A single tree produces approximately 260 ponds of oxygen per year. In its life a single tree can absorb 1 ton of carbon dioxide.
What is a tree worth? $193,250. According to professor T.M Das of the University of Calcutta, a tree living for 50 years will generate $31,250 worth of oxygen, provide $62,000 worth of air pollution control, control soil erosion and increase soil fertility to the tune of $31,250, recycle $37,500 worth of water and provide a home for animals worth $31,254. This figure does not include the value of the fruits, lumber or beauty derived from trees.
Some fall poems follow
Take Care, John
Early Autumn – Poem by William Barton
Robins threaten from tree top vantage;
Swallows gather belatedly;
Crows test the shifty winds.
Oak leaves stay strong and green
but beech and willow
turn to twisted yellow.
Raindrops pimple the lake.
Suddenly a heavy shower –
a thirsty stream recovers its voice.
Puddles lace the pathways;
mud collects in cobbled corners
with the reek of fallen leaves.
The skies grey into dusk
and soft darkness,
in the year’s long afternoon.
Early Autumn – Albert Ahearn
The calendar foretells summer
but the trees, fauna and I know
that Autumn is now upon us
in spite of the Gregorian.
Deciduous trees are shedding
their kaleidoscopic, colored
dead on the earthen ground below;
and decaying scents fill the air,
nostrils, the mind with reverie
of indelible yesteryears.
Squirrels burying recent finds,
cheerleading and football practice
recurring signs of its presence.