poetry and prose about place

competition for space

with 9 comments

One of the discouraging aspects of our lake property is how fast everything grows.  In 2005, we bought 7 1/2 acres of field…

in 2012, we have 7 1/2 acres of alders and young trees…

I actually like the lush vegetation and we intend to always keep the forest of trees down by the lake, to help protect the lake environment.  But we humans need a little room to move!!!  Although we knew we would eventually have more trees than field, we always thought we’d be able to:

  1. keep the road and turning area at the lake end of the property clear of weeds and wide enough for a vehicle
  2. keep the area around the camp clear
  3. have some trails for walking and access to the various parts of the property
  4. keep our blueberries – they have trouble competing with the taller vegetation
  5. begin to groom some specific groves of maple and birch
  6. keep a small area of field so I can watch the grasses blowing in the wind.

The farmer next door was willing, for a price, to continue bush-hogging the area, just as he had done for years.  But there were trees and various herbaceous species we wanted to keep, so we bravely set out to manage things on our own.

For me, that means snipping away with my shears.  I get tired/bored very easily, so I am not much help.  I mostly spend my time discovering new plants to protect and putting wooden stakes up to mark their position!

me with trimmers and marking plants with stakes

My husband has tried to keep back the growth with his bush-saw, and last year he was able to keep the road clear and even cut a new trail to access our blackberries.  But progress is slow and within a few weeks, the alders, saplings and weeds have all grown back!

Finally, we became so discouraged, we began to think of alternatives.  In the last two years, we have tried pulling the alders and I planted beans in the holes left all over the place.   The deer really enjoyed my bean plants!

Now, we have the solution.  We bought a rough mower that pulls behind the ATV.  It is awesome!  My husband has fun and is able to make huge progress.  In just a couple of days, we have our road clear, there is a labyrinth of trails where we can walk, we have trimmed a selection of blueberry patches and we have our turning area restored at the lake end of the property.   Notice the use of the word ‘we’, although my husband does all the work!

our new Agri-Fab Rough Cut Mower, designed for use behind an ATV

You can see the before and after shots of the road trimming in the three photos below.  What you can’t see in the middle photo is the smile on my husband’s face as he mows!  He was able to trim, in a few minutes, the trail it took him days to cut with the bush-saw last year.

Now, my husband can use his bush-saw time to work on his groves of maple and birch.

the first path cut by the new mower, to the right of the road

The only problem so far has been the hawthorns.  We had a very flat tire on the mower after the first day.  The man who fixed it said it looked like a porcupine on the inside, it had been punctured by so many thorns!  Now, we are having each tire filled with foam!

5 cm thorns on the Hawthorn easily punctured the mower tires

©  Jane Tims   2012

Written by jane tims

August 22, 2012 at 7:24 am

9 Responses

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  1. It’s nice to see you, and more of your piece of the world. I really like your before and after pics. The rough mower for the ATV is brilliant! I understand this all too well as my husband and I have been learning to care for and keep up with our little bit of the Bogs. We have trees growing where we want meadow and meadow where we hoped to have trees. We rent a bush hog every two years or so to cut the meadows where we don’t want the trees. This year I paid more attention to what happens after cutting and was surprised at some of the changes that occurred. The drought likely had an effect too. Those darn trees (mostly maples) managed to come back, though. Now we’re pondering whether or not to cut down the young ash trees since we have problems with the emerald ash borer here (it’s killing the ash trees). Some communities have done that, but I’m not sure if it would help at all.



    August 26, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    • Hi. I think you understand our growth problem very well! Renting a bush hog is a good option, but we are so finicky about what can and can’t be cut! There is no question that different plants respond to cutting in varied ways. When we first bought our property (when it was recently bush hogged) we had lots of Milkwort (Polygala sanguinea) but after a few years we had none at all. I’ll be interested to see if it shows up again in the open areas. Jane


      jane tims

      August 26, 2012 at 7:45 pm

  2. I love the pictures of your land. I love the path/road through the vegetation you’re trying to control. I love paths. It was funny about the deer eating the beans you planted. We have lots of wild blueberry bushes here on my own acreage. I thoroughly enjoyed this post.



    August 26, 2012 at 5:35 am

    • Hi. Welcome to my site! I also love paths… just the mystery of where they lead. Glad you liked my post! Jane


      jane tims

      August 26, 2012 at 8:01 am

  3. When they cut down my trees and I had to do something with my little garden patch (postage stamp size) I was dealing with paralysis and there was no way I’d be able to mow grass. Then they put in sewers and filled the place in with concrete sand (it’s useless for growing anything but weeds). So I stuck some myrtle in here and there… some bleeding hearts… and a peony bed (with the help of friends.) Well, the rocks have heaved during the winter, and the concrete sand has turned to concrete (or so it seems)… it’s a rocky mess and the myrtle has gotten knee deep… and the bleeding hearts and violets are everywhere. You can’t get a fok in the ground anywhere. And at this point I have no idea what to do with this patch… except try to get someone in in spring time to till the whole thing under. Plants can grow anywere… and they can absolutely take over a place so I really feel your situation.

    On the north side of my place I have an invasive species (some sort of vine that’s killing the trees) and I’m a bit allergic to it …found that out the hard way.

    So sometimes you have to be Hercules to deal with even a small plot of land. So glad you found a way to do it and to still do your marvelous work.



    August 22, 2012 at 10:14 pm

    • Hi Merrill. Now, myrtle, bleeding hearts and violets sound pretty to me. Your own little jungle!!!! I know that keeping these things in check takes a lot of work and as I get older, I don’t have the ability to push back the way I once did. Jane


      jane tims

      August 23, 2012 at 8:15 am

      • Yea, we don’t think of that when we’re 25 do we????



        August 23, 2012 at 4:05 pm

  4. Great post, Jane. I can imagine the whole experience, including the part about you spending your time noticing new plants! The trees that take over abandoned pastures are relentless. 🙂


    Jane Fritz

    August 22, 2012 at 9:14 am

    • Hi. It gives me new appreciation for every bit of ‘reclaimed’ land I see… from mowed lawns to farmers fields, to groomed trails! Jane


      jane tims

      August 22, 2012 at 3:51 pm

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