My parents lost a couple of Douglas Fir trees in great Hanukkah Eve windstorm of 2006. Well, they didn’t exactly lose them – the trees just blew over, thankfully missing any people or houses. It took a long time to get a tree company in to help them deal with the resulting mess, and in the end they were left with two giant craters and the biggest upended root balls you could possibly imagine in a suburban setting.
These remnants of once-noble evergreens will likely be there forever and a day – the arborists declined to saw apart and remove them, since they must weight a good half ton or more (?) each. So, my folks just skirt the craters and the root balls are becoming forest monuments.
I was reading about nurse logs lately and wondering if it’s possible to hurry one along artificially – it does seem like the process has already begun (above, proof that English ivy will grow anywhere, justifying its status as an invasive weed!). Another option might be to pick or spray the dirt out to expose the roots, then put a bit of good soil back in and plant some stuff in the nooks and crannies. My mom’s got tomatoes to start, though, so this is probably not high on her priority list. Plus, one of them does provide a good vantage point for my daughter to sit on and tell her visiting grandfather about the dead shark she saw in the ocean last summer.
There was a weathered root sculpture at the Garden Show last week that caught my eye (I believe it was from the Elandan Gardens display). I liked the stones placed in some of the crevices, they looked a bit like cliff-dwelling birds to me.
If you had a big old root ball taking up space in your woods, what would you do? Fire up the chainsaw and free up some more space to garden, or turn it into art? Or just sit back and watch decomposition (slowly) take its course?