Minnesota Farmer


30 day challenge: Trimming up after the harvest

This is day 4 of the 30 day challenge.  Today, let’s look to the trees.100_2509

Our farms have about 1.6 miles of field windbreaks plus a grove of trees to protect every building site from Minnesota’s cold north wind.  Wind and ice can do a lot of damage to the branches of those trees.  This spring we had a major ice storm that left broken branches everywhere.  When the spring snow stayed late and rains continued to fall we had little time to do the needed branch cleanup.  In the worst cases we just took a loader tractor and pushed the branches into the trees and planted.  Now it’s time to clean up the mess.

I have spent days cutting and hauling branches.  Anything that is usable for firewood goes into my wood pile, the rest is either piled and burned or added to the tree row for wildlife cover.  I’ve had my workout!

Sometimes when you are pushing those branches around, something unexpected happens.  A slap across the face by a bent branch is minor.  There was the branch that tried to get under the hood of the tractor.  Before I knew it the branch had pushed up the hood and popped off the radiator and fuel caps.  Looks like I have a few more repairs to do.

100_2508As trees grow out, they will send branches leaning out over the field.  These branches tug at equipment, snagging mirrors and lights.  Over time they push the field away and take over more land than I would like them to have.  Also, branches that lean out are prone to be broken off by wind and ice.  When I can, I also cut these branches back.  It seems to be a constant process.  Yesterday we had winds of nearly 50 mph here, I know that more branches, and in some cases whole trees, will be down.

I do love these trees, but when they get unruly, they have to be trained in the way that they should go.

Michael

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