Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I Am Honoring Earth Day with some Tree Hugging

A few years ago when Central Florida was hit with 4 hurricanes in one season, my house had a great big X target on the roof to assure that Charlie and the rest could not possibly miss us. And miss us they did not.

We had two large pines fall on the house. Worse yet were the 4 large pines that each lifted 12-15 feet of sidewalk high into the air, leaving it resting precariously on their root systems.

Our yard was such a sad sight that neighbors showed up with their chain saws to assist with cutting the pines down and removing them to the street. And all this was occurring as it was still raining. What it amounted to was that they felt sorry for us. Our home was clearly hit the worst of anyone in the neighborhood. Ugh!

Two deductibles and $30,000 later, we finally got it all fixed. Unfortunately the insurance only paid about $6500. The price of living in sunny Florida.

After having the roots ground, each area where a tree fell became a rounded bump in the lawn, brimming with mulch. The guys who did the job told me that in a few years the mulch would decompose and we would be left with an indentation. They recommended waiting to replant until this occurred, as new trees would not survive well in the pile of pine mulch left behind. The sap would kill the roots.

This year those dents in the grass are clearly noticeable. The mower often catches on their edges, skinning the grass to the ground. It's time to replant trees. This is kind of exciting, as I enjoy improving the property, yet hate to spend a lot of money at this unpredictable time in our economy.

In order to keep my cost in line, I set two criteria:

  • Plant a small tree, which is fast growing to reach a reasonable size quicker.
  • Choose a drought resistant tree which requires little water after establishing itself.
  • An extra perk would be a flowering tree, if possible.
I shopped the local tree farms and home improvement stores and easily found the tree I wanted. This darling little Jerusalem Thorn Tree is drought tolerant, has beautiful yellow blooms in the spring, and grows very fast to its 20-25 foot maximum. This is perfect for my first spot, in front of the house.

You can learn more about this tree at Floridata, if you're looking for something similar. Here is a photo of the tree's flower:

So much for my weekend excitement. While I'm still contemplating the possibility of an organic vegetable garden, the only really sunny spot (10 hours a day) happens to be in direct view of a neighbor's back windows. For now, I've got Basil and tomatoes growing in large containers. I think I'll add some Sunflowers, just for fun. They are so bright and cheery when they bloom. You just gotta love them.

Last Summer's efforts at growing organic tomatoes ended in a feast for my local Raccoon family. I'll take evasive action this year. Once my plants are bearing fruit, I'll either fence it or bring it inside the screened porch to a sunny spot. Ricky Raccoon and his family will have to subsist on the things they steal from the compost pile this year. Sorry fellas.

Tomorrow is Earth Day, which probably means the last day for big savings in Amazon's Earth Day Sale. If you need anything through Amazon, now is the time to get it at a reduced price. You can click below to begin your search. Happy Shopping!

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