DIY Yards and Health

DIY Yards and Health
Helping the Do It Yourself home owner in making themselves and surroundings healthy

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Using a small Stump Grinder

I got tired of having to work around scheduling a dozen grinds to be able to pay the $120 rental fee so I bought a small stump grinder.

If you are renting a stump grinder keep in mind these smaller model are better for surface grinds and taking out surface roots.

These machines are tough on the body without a doubt. Pretty basic principle, you are spinning a grinding wheel and taking a little bit off at a time so it is tedious.

Here is a video of the process.

Do not grind surface roots on living trees. Damage to living tree roots will introduce bacteria and other fungal diseases that can eventually kill the tree.

If you have roots showing it usually is because you are over watering. It is better to cover these roots with sand and let the grass grow above them.

Keep in mind you will create a lot of saw dust. This is excellent mulch to use in your garden and if you see a tree service nearby doing a stump grind, go ask them if you can have that mulch. They are usually glad to not have to deal with it and it is the best compost addititive I have ever used.

Discharge from Tree wound

We've talked about pruning to the branch collar before but here is an example of what can happen when you don't.
improper pruning wound
For some reason even after I edit this shot wants to come in sideways but you can still see the poor pruning wound and the bacteria it allowed into the tree.

Once that branch collar has been removed, the tree has no way to heal itself. This is now a open wound for the life of the tree which has already become horribly infected with bacteria. The oozing is the tree trying to get rid of the disease by flushing it out. But what is going to happen is the bacteria will start to break down the cell tissue and introduce rot inside the tree.

This heart rot will decay the interior of the tree which is dangerous because we can't see the extent of the decay. Trees like this will continue to grow higher but without the sound wood inside to support the structure. At some point the wind will snap the tree.

There are ways to test the tree's integrity by finding out how much sound wood is still inside the tree.

Painting the wound will not help. They should not even be selling wound dressing paint any more because university studies have proven it actually inhibits the cells ability to heal the wound.

Another tell tale sign the bacteria is rotting the interior of the tree is what is called a conk or mushroom growing out of the side of the tree. These mushroom looking growths will form when there is a lot of dead and decaying wood inside a tree. This is a sure sign you need to be suspicious of the trees structural integrity.

A tree actually can continue to stand with the interior rotted out. I have a customer with a tree that you can stand up in, (if the raccoon that likes to live there will let you). The tree is very old and the outer wood that is living is doing a good job of keeping the tree erect. However, we know that this tree is very acceptable to failure and have pruned it to make sure it is less likely to do damage.

So make sure you study the correct way to prune off a limb, leaving the branch collar.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Portable Garden

For those of you who've been waiting - finally I have a working proto-type of the Self-contained Garden Cart and it is fantastic to use...
garden cart
I will put more details on it under the Health Page above but in short...
Self Contained watering system with a automatic timer, simply attach the quick release hose and it waters every day. Self fertilizing system in the irrigation. SO easy to use at waist height, easy to roll into the best sunlight, greenhouse ability and grow light ability. This is finally it, I LOVE it. My wife and I are ordering two more, the raised garden beds will be planted in flowers so no more back aches and knee bruises.

UPDATE: It has been over a year and the garden cart continues to work great. I can't begin to share how nice it is to simply empty the containers, put in fresh amended soil, press in the seeds and I'm done. Because I can get it into the direct sun out on my driveway I had new sprouts in three days. This is such a blessing to work with.