My compost bins grew this Fall - from two bins and a tumbler to three bins and a tumbler. I've long wanted to add that third bin, but it took this Fall's leaves to compel me to act. Below, you can see the new third bin - on the left - and this photo serves as an 'early winter' snapshot of our three bins (in terms of how full they are) as the composting process slows down with the temperature drops: The new bin (on the left) is almost exclusively leaves. The pumpkins that you see in the middle bin are there (for now) as I break them down into chunks and layer them in every time I add more leaves to the new 3rd bin. I put in a bunch of leaves on top --> chop up chunks of pumpkins --> layer them on top of the leaves in the 3rd bin. I've done that for the top 12-inches-or-so and as that bin continues to compress I'll keep adding leaves. One other thing to note: on the bottom right, there are two white plastic garbage bags that are laying around. Those
Showing posts with the label leaves
Posting a photo here in the tree diary to show that the young London Plane Tree that I planted in Spring 2020 is exhibiting some Winter foliar marcescence with a series of brown, dry leaves clinging to the branches. This tree - the Grampy tree ( because I used some $$$ from him for my birthday to buy ) was planted in the beginning of the pandemic in 2020 . After a brief period of transplant-stress, the tree seemed to get on just fine. This past season, I was able to water this due to it being inside the footprint of some of the 2022-planted Green Giant Thujas - so it seemed to be in a fine spot with growth. However...this is the first year that I've really noticed - or documented - the tree holding on to some dead leaves. See below for a photo of the tree in early January 2023: Seeing this tree cling to some of the leaves is a good note for the tree diary - and something that is going to cause me to look over the rest of these trees - including the one I recently planted in
Just a couple of days ago, I posted the first photo of my compost bins with an initial pile of leaves from our yard in the storage bin . The leaves just don't stop. At least, until the trees drop them all. So, my approach is to try to stay on top of them with repeated cleanups in the backyard instead of waiting until the end when there's one big cleanup. I've tried that....and found that the job is TOO MUCH if I wait. So, I sent about collecting (and mulching) even more leaves and storing them in the compost bins. Here, below, is what the bins look like just a few days later: The bin on the left - the carbon storage bin - is now heaping. And the bin on the right - which is properly mixed - has settled to just below the frame. So, I put a bit of leaves on TOP of that pile, too. If you look at the foreground, you'll see that there is a layer of mulched-up leaves scattered in FRONT of the bins, too. The carbon storage bin will continue to settle and I'll be
Earlier this week, we had some snow fall overnight. And flurries flew during the day. It didn't last long, but the temperatures have hovered around freezing all week and I keep hearing people talk about how we're experiencing a "late Spring" this year. The grass has green'd up, some of our ornamental grasses (the feather reed grasses) are up, tulips have pushed foliage (but no flowers) and I'm seeing some buds swell on our shrubs. And, I keep going outside to do little garden tasks, but I haven't taken on any large scale ones. Planting a few things, cleaning some parts of the garden up. But, mostly....waiting. Waiting for the weather. Some of our perennials are moving ahead - despite the temperatures. I see hosta tips (some cultivars), Brunnera tips and (as I posted yesterday) even peonies. But the trees? They're still bare. I wasn't sure how *normal* this is: to have no leaves at all on any of our trees in mid/late April. I don't
These are the days for filling up our compost bins. Each Fall, the leaves in our yard drop all of their annual leaves and I use the mower to mulch them up and pick A LOT of them up off the grass . My process is actually a little nuanced in terms of mulching vs. bagging. I use my Ego leaf blower to clean out the beds and push all the leaves to the middle of the yard on the grass. From there, I use my mower - with the bag attached - set to the lowest level to begin to mulch-up and vacuum all the leaves. However, I don't immediately clear the mower bag once it is full. If you've done this (like I do), you know when the bag is full because you start to see dust and little leaf parts flying around because there's no place for them to get ejected into the bag, so they kind of fly out the sides. I'm doing that on purpose - so I leave a little bit of leaf litter (mulched up, mind you) behind on the lawn to feed the soil. But, after doing that for a couple of passes, I e
This Fall, I planted two very small Ginkgo trees as part of my overall fall planting program. One in the backyard. One in the front. Why two of them? Because the first one I ordered was broken upon delivery. I was PRETTY SURE that the tree was going to die. But, I planted it anyway . Because that one was broken, the online nursery sent me a second one to plant - and that one showed up in a healthy condition . Now...about one month later (those were planted the first week of October), what do the trees look like? First, then broken one. The tips of the top branches are holding limp, brown leaves. Not good. Based on my experience, Ginkgos go yellow before brown. So, my presumption is that these are lost limbs. And, for comparison's sake...here's the one in the front: Some browning on the tips, but this one is in a much better place. Seeing a little bit of that yellowing on the tips, too. I'm not sure if I can be certain, but I think I'm operating under th
A couple of weeks ago, I took some steps to head off the annual aphid infestation that has been occuring on our Greenspire Linden trees that leads to them being swarmed by Yellow Jackets who are eating the aphids. Back in mid-May, I applied a Systemic Soil-Application insecticide and - just to be doubly sure - I also sprayed a persistent contact spray to the leaves just to kill whatever might already be on the leave s. As a reminder, this is what the underside of the leaves looked like when the Linden Aphids were living on them (back in late Summer 2020). Doing this check-in on the Lindens (which...are currently espalier'd in a horizontal Cordon, btw), I looked at the underside of the leaves. And, while I don't see any of the aphids like I did last year, I do see some white, hairy spots at the intersection of the leaf veins. See below for a zoomed-in shot of the leaves: I've done as close of an inspection as I can on these photos and I can't tell what that hai
Last Summer, I posted a photo of a sign that we came across at Waterfall Glen that detailed the difference between the various Oak trees based on their foliage. About a month later, I put that new knowledge into practice and identified one of the two large Oak trees in our yard as a Northern Red Oak. (Actually...I'm pretty sure that it is a Northern Red Oak.) In that post, I mentioned that the other large Oak tree (with our tree swing) had leaves way too high up in the air to identify the species and that I should wait until some fall. Well...thanks to the squirrels in our yard, there are little clumps of leaves that have fallen in the past couple of weeks. Here's a closeup of one of them showing the pointed leaves with deep lobes. Totally a Northern Red Oak , right?
Just yesterday, I posted a photo of our barren Oak trees in our backyard . These two mature Oaks have historically kept many of their leaves well into Winter thanks to the phenomenon called foliar marcescence. In that post , I mentioned that we were seeing something similar on other trees that normally behaved the same was as the Oaks. Today, you can see the photo at the top of this post showing all eight Frans Fontaine Columnar Fastigiate Hornbeam trees that have lost all of their leaves by mid-November. Just two weeks ago, I posted about how one of these trees shed its leaves , but the rest were keeping them. This tree (#4 from the left) has done this same thing before in 2018 . But now, ALL OF THEM have dropped their leaves. And that is, umm, alarming. Here's what these same trees looked like one year ago - on November 19th, of 2019 . FULL OF LEAVES. Dry leaves. BUT FULL. Have a look at this post showing these columnar Hornbeam trees in January of this year . The
Yesterday, I posted a photo in the garden diary of the recently set buds on our very small caliper Northern Red Oak tree that was planted just this year. In that post, I mentioned that both *that* young Oak tree AS WELL AS our two larger, more mature Oaks have lost all of their leaves. Notable, I think - as we're seeing a very different timeline than last Fall/Winter. I posted this photo of both of the mature Oak trees in our backyard on December 16th 2019 - a little bit under a year ago - showing that both of the trees had A LOT of their leaves clinging to the limbs. At the time, I poked around a little bit into the concept of foliar marcescence and how it might be a behavior that is aimed at assisting the tree by retaining some of the leaves until Spring to be used as an organic material delivery system when the tree needs it. Here's what those two same trees look like right now: barren. Wonder what caused this change year-over-year. It happened with another set o
By the time the middle of November comes around, I've been doing leaf clean-up in our yard for at least four weeks. We get early drops (Walnut), constant drops (Catalpa, Maple, Kentucky Coffee Tree) and late drops (Oaks) and it lasts more than a month. If I waited until they all came down, it would be a huge mess. Not that it isn't a good idea. It just isn't how I address the situation. When I started this year, I spent time using the mower and bagged up all the leaves as they dropped - by mowing about once per week. I filled our compost bins pretty quickly. But, with our bins filled, what do I do with leaves still on the grass? I decided to try something new this year: I just mulched them in the lawn. You can see it below - this is mostly a lot of oak leaves (which are hard to break down) that have been mulched up and left behind. I don't love this look, but I wanted to try it. Here - below - is a close-up look of the mulched in leaves. And here's
Back a few weeks ago, I posted some photos showing how Yellow Jackets covering our espalier'd Greenspire Linden trees due to (based on what I found line) what appeared to be aphids infesting the tree. Recently, we had a couple of nights of frost (overnight) and that has killed away all the yellow jackets. So, I could finally get close enough to the tree to inspect what is going on. My assumption was that the frost likely killed off WHATEVER was eating the leaves and causing the Yellow Jackets to feast. But, I was pleasantly surprised when I grabbed a leaf and turned it over. The lace-like leaf had a couple of inhabitants on the underside. Here's what I saw: See them? Here's a closer look: Two guys that are yellow and black striped and hanging out on the underside of the leaf. But, what are they? Pretty sure they are Linden Aphids. The Bug Guide has a photo that sure looks a lot like these things and, ummm, they're on a Linden tree. But, what do I do next?
The past few days, I've added some entries to my garden diary showing off some late Summer growth on our Dawn Redwood tree , our front-yard Bald Cypress tree and most recently the hedge of Hicks upright yews . The Summer has been hot and dry. And, therefore, it hasn't been all good news for the yard. In the photo at the top, you can see some of the foliage of our London Planetree. It is clearly stressed. A good portion of the tree is going yellow - and it is just early September. The history of this tree - which I call the Grampy tree: Bought in April (during lockdown) on an early am run to Home Depot with some birthday money from Nat's Gramp y. Got around to planting it in May. And it was immediately stressed due to the transplant . It recovered and leaf'd out again this Summer. I've tried to water it a bit, but have not paid nearly enough attention to this tree - and it shows. Here, below, is another look at the yellow leaves. Also,
Just a few days ago, I posted a photo of our three-trunk River Birch in our backyard that we inherited with our lot. If you look close enough at the photo in that post, you'll see a few yellow leaves on the tips of the tree. I didn't notice the yellow at the time, but when I was out in the yard this week, I saw something that surprised me: the yellow leaves covering this thing. And...seeing a bunch of leaves drop to the ground. Here's what the patch of grass underneath this River Birch looks like (photo below). In the top right corner of the photo, you can see the three-trunks of the tree. Seeing all those leaves on the ground is, ummm, concerning. I mean...it is early August. Not early October. And, it has happened really fast. Like, from green a week ago to yellow and dropping now. I went poking around and found some (potential) answers. Miller Nursery says it is one of two things : Stress. Or something called chlorosis - which sounds like it is l
A couple of weeks ago, we planted a fast-growing Lombardy Poplar tree in our far backyard and had high hopes that it would provide a little bit of screening in a quick way. But, today I went by to inspect the tree a little and was surprised to see it was having some trouble. Look at the photo above to see the leaves that are wilting and browning out. This is certainly NOT a good sign, but I'm not calling it yet with this tree and I hope it can bounce back. I'm pretty certain that this was a recently-planted bareroot tree that came in a burlap sack. This was the first tree that we received in one of those burlap sacks and I decided to NOT plant the sack. I think that was a mistake. It *could* be frost damage like what we've seen on some of our ferns , but I'm not sure. On the next tree - which I'll post about soon, I trimmed the burlap sack down to be pretty small and planted the sack to try to keep the soil around the tree roots a bit more. I'
Back in the end of November, I posted a few photos of our columnar Hornbeam trees retaining all their dead leaves this year. For garden diary purposes, I also wanted to post a closeup photo of the leaves as they stay on the tree. You can see that they've turned from green to brown, but have some green staying in the background and the edges of the leaves gaining some jagged, dried-out edges. I'll try to revisit these trees and the leaves later this Winter to see if I can spot more changes as they continue their slip into dormancy.
This photo is about a week old, but shows you (basically) the current state of our three-bin compost setup that I made in the easement behind our lot. Using some fence panels and long stakes, I made three 36" by 36" square 'bins' that I've been using this Summer and now Fall. Here's the original post showing the three-bin composter being setup in May of this year . Also, one note (for the garden diary ): I've also filled the Compost Tumbler again this fall with a combination of greens and browns. The three bins all have distinct purposes and you can see that kind of taking shape here. Bin one (on the left): making a layered batch. Nitrogen. Then Carbon. Then Nitrogen. Then Carbon. Layers. Earlier this year, I added a bunch of grass and most of our weeds to provide some nitrogen. I just added a layer of browns to this bin to get that layering going. But, before I add more, I need to add some 'greens'. With Winter here, that me
We've been composting in our yard since 2009 when we bought a Lifetime Compost Tumbler from Costco . We've been filling it each Fall since (except for the two seasons we lived in Equation Boy/Man's house in Elmhurst) and by late Summer, we have a nice batch of black gold. In the ten years that I've been composting, I've learned that composting is a 'batch process'. Meaning....you have to build up a full 'batch', get the right mix of nitrogen and carbon and then wait for it to cook. That 'batch process' I'm talking about is the big part of why our current setup (with a single large tumbler) isn't working hard enough for us. What we currently do is during the Spring cleanup and all through the early part of the Summer, I collect material and just kind of pile it up next to the tumbler. Why? Why not *in* the tumbler? Because it is still FULL from the previous batch. About June or so, after we've had six or more weeks
Back in May of this year, we planted a hedge of seven Frans Fontaine European Hornbeam trees along the fenceline on the northside of our property right outside of our screened porch. These are trees that I had researched and dreamed about since we moved in . Prior to their installation, I documented what the 'view' was like of the space where they were going in April (when there was still a little bit of snow on the ground) and then again in late May , right before they were planted. I tried to baby them all Summer and with the help of a couple of soaker hoses, I tried to keep them happy and hydrated. I most recently visited these trees in late August when I posted this photo of the 'late Summer' view of the hedge. I've noticed that all seven of the trees have handled their transplant differently. Some of them have done just fine. A few have even shot up leaders at the top. One of them seems to be growing wider at the top than others, which is intere
One morning in the past few weeks, I witnessed this weird event: a tree in the front yard was shedding all of it's leaves at once. Check out what seems like a shower of leaves falling. One right after the other. You can see from the pattern on the ground that this tree was dropping them all in a matter of minutes while the other trees still are holding on to theirs. You can also notice that there's frost on the roof across the street from us and I *think* that this might have been the first frost? Could that have set off this reaction?