From Across the Field – 3/27/19

What a nice weekend we had here in NW Ohio. On Saturday, I spent the day at the Henry County Cattlemen’s spring preview show on the fairgrounds. There was a good turnout with 99 head of steers and heifers shown on the day. While it was cool to begin the day, once the sun began to shine, the temperature began to warm up nicely.

I used part of my Sunday to work on picking up limbs and sticks in the yard. Most of what I gathered was maple limbs that came down when we had that icy morning a while back. With maple trees as the get older and larger, the tree kills of limbs in an effort to reduce it’s nutrient requirements for maintenance. Even though there were quite a few sticks to gather, I’d rather they maple than something such as ash.

With many ash trees having been dead now for a few years, ash limbs or entire trees laying on the ground tend to break apart due to the somewhat brittle nature of dead ash. However, the continual downfall of dead trees that we’re now experiencing is largely due to something a bit more subtle.

Ash wood is both lightweight and strong which is why it has long been used for baseball bats as well as old, multi-story factory floors. Indeed, beautiful blond-colored ash wood remains a highly durable wood flooring product. However, ash has an inherent fault: the wood has little to no resistance to decay if exposed to the elements. This is one reason ash was not used for fence posts, outdoor siding, porch flooring, or for anything else where the wood could not be protected.

Continual failure of standing dead ash trees is occurring as wood rotting fungi digest the fibers that sustain structural integrity. The fungal presence is made apparent by fruiting structures sprouting from the broken ash trunks and branches. As you are outside working around dead ash trees, use caution, especially if it is a windy day.

Taking down unstable dead trees is not a job for the faint of heart; inexperience can kill. It’s highly recommended that if a dead ash tree is in an area of concern, have the job is performed by experienced tree removal professionals. If it is not, I suggest staying away from them and let them come down on their own.

With some sunshine, I was thinking that things are going to really start growing this week or two. Grass is start, but it should really take off with warmer temperatures. Are you ready to starting mowing grass? One of the most important things you can do for the health of your lawn is to have sharp mower blades. Sharp blades cut the grass, dull blades rip the grass causing slower drying and more chances for diseases to develop. In addition, sharp blades make the cut lawn look nicer. With all of the mole hills, branches and rocks in lawns, they are going to need to be sharpened more frequently than we might expect. I’ll end this week with a quote from Thomas Edison: “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” Have a great week.

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