Monday, February 18, 2008

Where Have All the Leaves Gone?

We all know 2007 was NOT a good year for gardening. Fewer flowers, dead plants, fewer leaves to rake...What is so bad about fewer leaves to rake you ask? For me, it means fewer leaves in the garden as a mulch. I had to go somewhere else to get leaves and what a haul! Ten plus bags of beautiful maple, oak and bradford pear tree leaves-already in a great state of decomposition.

Since the leaves are already bagged and Mr. Fix-it brought them in his handy white truck, I feel like I have been shopping or just received a lovely gift. My friend Geri is short leaves so I may just have transport some of these bags of leaves over to the other side of the county to her home to make her feel like she just got a great gift too!

She primarily puts leaves in her compost bin, whereas I use mine as mulch over newspapers, then if I have any leftover I put them in the compost. Normally, with over 50 deciduous trees in my yard, you would think I have had more than enough leaves to spread around. This year I either used all the leaves very effectively, or there were less of them. I am thinking mainly there are much fewer leaves to go around.

When the big freeze came and took away all the new growth last April, it severely impacted all trees and especially deciduous trees. Once the initial set of leaves were frozen and died, the tree had to grow new leaves. These new leaves appeared to be much smaller than the first batch. The tree canopy was not as thick and there were probably fewer leaves. (though I didn't count them!)

Let's hope this spring is not a repeat of last spring. Contrary to popular opinion we really do NOT want an early spring. The late freeze in April of last year was not the problem, as late freezes are common and the average date of last frost in this area is around April 15th. No, the problem WAS an early spring. The weather warmed up rather quickly and stayed warm for about three weeks in March of last year. This led the trees into mistakenly thinking spring had sprung and out came the new growth and leaves. Weather like the warm March is not a usual occurrance. Late freezes are and we all know the consequences. So, I know I will not be a popular person, but let's not hope for an early and prolonged warm up prior to April of this year, then when that late freeze comes our trees will be not be harmed and we will have a full crop of leaves next fall-for more raking, mulching and composting!

in the garden....happily spreading some much needed bags of leaves-not sure if Geri is going to get any or not!


  1. If we have an early spring I hope it doesn't have a late frost!

    I was hoping to make that perennial plant meeting and it probably seems like I'm making excuses but life has a way of popping things up on you. Today is the first day my wife goes back to work after maternity leave. She got to work at home for the last month which was great but now the baby has to go to the bottle. She has been a bit resistant and we'll need to be here in the evening for her. Hopefully by next month she will have adjusted and we can drop her by the grandparents for the evening. Also I have to do physical therapy for tendonitus in my shoulder. I have no clue how it will feel after that. That information on deer could be real handy!

  2. God morning Guys,
    Sleeting, freezing rain up here and has been all night. Staying at home on Presidents Day-thank you.
    Sooo, I bagged Alot of theses about 7 years ago, had them in biodegradable bags, my intent was to make a skirt for the travel trailer (used for a sewing room and also GOING) Can't see them now (snow) but they are absolute black gold! I'm using all of it this year, need something for my huge backyard which is much clay. Hubby will be spending the summer babying the grass along.
    Lola, got your post this am, funny how your title name is not highlited blue on my computer, must be because my computer is so cheesy.
    Dave, good luck with your baby, they are too cute and grow so fast.

  3. Hi --good morning everyone. Another day off --never a dull moment here. Enjoy that sweet baby --I hope the transition goes well. Tina -I have to smile when I read this --but you are so right about less leaves. I just remember years and years of HAVING to rake them off our quarters when we lived on post, lol. Now, I don't have to rake and there really are very few leaves this year. I can handle a normal spring as long as the temperatures aren't crazy cold:) My trees all took a beating last year --I can only hope that it will be a better spring/summer this year. We do seem to be getting more rain this year --but this wind thing is absolutely crazy --I don't ever remember it getting this windy here. Have a great day!

  4. Tina I am so glad you did'nt count all those leaves as you would still be there and we would not have all these great posts to look forward to.

    Dawn we have been getting just rain since 11pm last night. We had more snow than we have had all winter and now it is nearly gone.
    It is 52 degrees.

    Babies and little kids are the best thing in the world but they sure do grow way too fast. My "baby" turns 40 in April. OMG!!Terrible, how does that happen?

    Hope everyone has a good day.

  5. dave, it is SO okay. you can come whenever it works out for you. i will do a post on deer proofing to help out. enjoy the baby and gail and i will be sorry we miss you.

    also, get that tendonitis taken care of. gardeners can't garden too well with something like that. i live on ibuprofen for my pain. sigh. it is worth it.

    dawn with peaches, good thing you all have the day off. if i remember correctly growing up in maine, the only real time we had snow days was when it was sleeting. bad driving.

    leaves in bags do turn to black gold. i am still trying to figure out where all the ones went i put out in the beds. i can see geri's getting less and less all the time...

    anonymous, don't you just love not having to maintain the home to us standards anymore? not that raking is a bad thing, but if it is not your thing it stinks if you get cited by the on post folks-who are really just doing their job. the one good thing on post if i am correct, if you don't compost those leaves, they provide a haul away service. if it was still the season geri and i could go help them haul away those leaves.:)

    not so windy today but colder. enjoy the day off.

    mom, it took me a minute to figure out your baby turning 40. i finally got it. not the sharpest tool in the shed. usually you talk about the grandchildren or great grandkids. not your youngest. btw, has she EVER checked in here yet? she might learn a thing or two.:) not that gardening is her thing. that is ok. we all have our things.

    i am finding i am getting overwhelmed with posts. i was low for a while then i just get my camera out and magic happens, i start talking (sometimes too much) and posts come. my fear is not getting them all out and i don't want to overload. gardening season is here. even the overwintered coleus in the house are growing faster. it is amazing. it comes too soon like most things in life. even when the puppies go i will say it came too soon, but right now it can't be soon enough. we have had them 3 weeks now! hard to believe. i need to get them scheduled to be altered then transported. hopefully before the end of the month when i will be out of town with our extension agent helping her teach a landscape class. i am looking forward to it but i have find a home for the pups and maybe for jimmy. sigh.

  6. Tina,

    Hello...I am so impressed with the ease you post...and the subjects are always interesting.

    Funny that the topic tomorrow is deer proofing the garden. While walking I stopped to talk with a neighbor about the deer that have begun to visit our gardens. Occasionally we would have a visitor but now they have replaced a fab old farm with Nashville West...we shall see more displaced animals moving into the neighborhood's wooded areas.

    Sorry Dave won't be able to make it to the meeting.


  7. hi gail,
    i guess i didn't get your comment. only just noticed it. thanks for the compliment. i work hard on it and find i always have bunches to talk about. blogs are great in that folks can tune in to hear or not. i probably talk a bit too much for blog posts. but that is me. i used to probably bore my friends with garden talk, so instead of them now it is on here. what a great outlet for me though it takes time.

    i learned to prepare posts in advance and always try to be flexible. i include my commenters and my community in my posts so posting is really easy for me.

    you do a great job too. when did you really start? recently? i have been posting since the last week of september. it has gone by fast and i have almost 200 posts now. i try to do things in season and share whatever is going on. like all bloggers do.

    i too am looking forward to carol's subject tomorrow. she is a smart gardener and very active in the society. fortunately i don't have a deer problem (knock on wood), but i know many do. i hope they don't totally decimate your 20year old garden. can't imagine gardening in one place for so long but sooner or later it will come to me. seven years almost. and our garden has changed so i bet you are most proud of yours. see you tomorrow. i will have a nametag.

  8. Dave, enjoy that baby & remember each incident in detail as time has a way of making you forget. As a parent, gparent & as a ggparent the memory is a great thing. They grow up much too fast.

    Dawn with Peaches, don't mind about the high-lite being different. Yours doesn't show up blue either. Neither does anonymous. Not to be nosy but where is your backyard? I agree about the bags. Had one one yr. some how a mustard seed got into it {it had broken open} & you would not believe how big that mustard plant got. As high as I am & furnished a few pleasant meals.

    Hi Anonymous, I hope you enjoyed your day. Wind & rain are good for the soil--like beating a cake-puts air into soil.
    As unpleasant as it seems, think of rain as a way of cleansing the soil for the future of glorious flowers & veggies. All things are better after a nice bath.

    Jean my baby is not far behind yours. He will be 37 this coming Sat. OMG that makes Young'un 47 in March. Yeh, they are 10 yrs. apart. Have 1 wait till it's old enough to baby lol

    Tina, don't ever think you talk too much as wisdom comes out every time you talk. I don't have as many leaves this yr. either. It is a water oak & the leaves are so small you can't hardly rake them. Just have to mow over & use bagger. Easier that way. Of course sometimes you do have to rake a little to get them little buggers out of the grass. I wish I had more of different kinds. A lot of acid in oaks. I do get some pine needles from the neighbors. {Gotta find out what happened this eve. late with them & the pit bull they had in a very small fenced in area behind their house. It's to the East of Me.} Here you have to have a license to have a pit bull in city limits.
    Anyway my azaleas are starting to bloom. I will take a pic. when they get a little farther along so you can see how pretty they are.

  9. Hi Guys,
    Lola, what I think of as the backyard is the hill my house is built into. It's all baron but cleared. We moved the soil up there when we built and used it as a place to burn leftover materials, it's east. My diningroom window, diningroom door and a bathroom window faces it. It is VERY private because I have alot of space (about 20ft x 70ft) with trees, also inclining on the hill. We used contractors turf to establish a base/sod on our front yard then the following year we planted. I'd like to avoid that but I think we will end up doing it again. Hubby gets obsessed with the green grass and having a nice lawn. Sunny spot but clay dry, nasty stuff, took 3 years just to get weeds. I thought my title name was black because it was me on my 'puter, then I noticed you guys. I don't have google mail but have the user name and etc., Can't find the trashcan for deleting, can you?

  10. Hi Lola, I like your way of putting this windy/rainy weather in perspective that we've been dealt over the past few weeks. I realize it does make sense -so that wind and rain are like the salt and pepper in my recipe for a good garden. Thank you:) Hi Tina, hope you enjoyed the day with the Jimster today --back to the old grind tomorrow. I'm sure no one will want to get up as early as they do on days off, hahaha. Night!

  11. Dawn with Peaches, Your home sounds like a good location {what state?} I don't know about the trash can--will look when I post this. Come to think about it I don't know if I have a Google account, I do know I have the user name, etc.
    Will let you know about trash can.

  12. We are in the Maine mountains about 2 hours from our (tina and I) mother, she lives on the lower coast.
    Too funny about the trashcan/blue highlite. Maybe, maybe we haven't found the key to ALL bennies 'bout posting. Oh well, say la ve.

  13. hi all,
    lola, i keep meaning to ask you where you get your milorganite. i wish to use some in my garden.

    thanks for your nice words as always.

    lucky you to have a water oak. i always enjoyed them when i lived in alabama.

    dawn with peaches, i could not upload one of the pictures of the treehouse. i tried everything. but got at least one. not sure the problem.

    good morning anonymous, the jimster got up no problem this morning. now let's see if he continues the trend this week. he did well last week. yes, back to school with a bit of wet snow. it sure is pretty.

  14. It maybe with the picture file,as you know, I've had recent trouble sending them as attachments, have to send them alone. Will check. I got a shortcut icon from the majorette coach and she just relayed to me her 'puter won't let her into her mail. Will find out.
    Aw, I was hoping the front view would go, it was prettier with the sun showing and the porch, but thats ok.

  15. Hi Tina! Miss me? LOL…
    We ran to Atlanta for an unexpected overnighter so the Saint could install a new computer for our friends. Along the drive I noticed lots of trees budding out. Spring is around the corner!

    Lola, you are a bit ahead of us! We have about 50 azaleas scattered throughout our land. Sounds like a lot but not really as they are so scattered about. They really perk up the woods in the spring. The previous homeowners planted them and I wish we had been adding at least two each year as we would now have about 12 more. We did plant two small ones by the patio area though….

  16. dawn with peaches, i downloaded BOTH pictures and both are on my computer opening just fine. i tried to upload the second one about 4 times and something uploaded, but it was not in a picture format. i tried everything. you could send me it again and i could try it again, but now guarantees.

    in about two weeks or so, the leaf will be asking us to start blogging on the new format. the launch date is 17 march but there will be a trial period prior to that. will keep you all up to date as i get info.

    does anyone know where i can find downloading programs for blogger blog accounts? any bloggers out there, can you help me out? thanks. i hate to lose my almost 200 posts. i do have most on email, but not all. guess i will try to get them there.

  17. Tina, you can get the milorganite at Wal-Mart for around 8.88. It is human waste that has been processed. I know a lady that let a company spread that stuff all over her yard. The neighbors complained about the smell but guess what! she's got the prettiest lawn you ever saw.

    Skeeter, the azaleas in the woods like that are very pretty. Mine are in a row on the East side of my house. They are in somewhat of shade from the neighbors huge oak trees. I will have to trim them back after they get done blooming. Can't wait too long or I will cut next yrs. blooms.

    Wow, Dawn with Peaches, I bet your place in the Fall is to die for. With all that color. That's what I loved about N.C. The color in the fall was breath taking. You could see it change from day to day. And the veggies had a whole different taste. Something in the soil. I loved it all.

  18. you know lola i haven't seen it up here but i will look closer. i hear it is good and processed sewer sludge or not, it is organic and should be good for gardens. better than synthetic probably. the plants can't tell the difference, but i know the difference. thanks. i'll look!