Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Weed Control

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We had two primary goals in mind when we plotted a strategy for what we would focus our efforts on yesterday. The first was something I hoped wouldn’t take a lot of time to accomplish. There were two tipped trees with upper branches hung up in surrounding trees. Using knowledge gained by watching the tree professionals who worked for us last spring bring down similar “widow-makers,” I readied our chainsaw and headed into the woods.

With my mind focused solely on the task at hand, I failed to take any pictures of the leaning trees or the keen aftermath of my success in bringing them down. The big poplar near the road took a lot more time than I anticipated. After five successive cuts ultimately eliminating the lower trunk that had been leaning at a 45° angle, the remaining upper portion of branches stood vertical and was still tangled in the branches of surrounding trees.

I needed to go back to the shop to get our pole chainsaw to finish the job. By the time we finished cutting trees, the day was more than half over.

The second goal was to get the hay field mowed, a job that I knew would take more hours than I really wanted to give to the task.

The growth wasn’t excessively tall but there were plenty of weeds maturing and we didn’t want them going to seed. I finally finished around 7:00 p.m. after almost 5 hours out on the tractor. At one point, feeling like it was taking too long, I tried running in a higher gear to speed up progress. The bouncing and jostling were a bit too much and the high gear made backing up hard to manage. All I could do was plod along at a steady pace in the lower gear and keep making passes until the entire field was finally cut.

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Cyndie took pictures as I headed toward the gate upon finishing. For a relatively small field, it sure is bigger than it seems.

The horses were relegated to the unmowed back pasture for the day. They are doing a fair job of grazing the good grass in that pasture but there are enough unwanted weeds in that field that it will need to be mowed soon as well.

In a day or two, they will be allowed back on the grass in the hay field. Then I will spend the better part of a day mowing the back pasture.

As much as I dread doing the mowing, the fields sure look great with all the weeds knocked down. For now, in our minds, mowing is our preferred method over chemical applications for reducing weeds that are toxic to horses. It may not be as effective, but mowing doesn’t leave a weed killer residue in our soil.

I can live with giving two afternoons of my precious time to bouncing along on the diesel tractor a couple of times a summer.

It’s easier than chainsawing widow-makers!

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