Attack of the Poplars

For years I have been trying to get an herb garden established. Unfortunately for me, though, a good portion of our yard floods every winter.  Each time I thought I had found a good spot, the floods would destroy the plants.  Sometimes they would struggle on for a few years, but the results would always be the same.  Finally, I started looking in other areas of my yard — even in places where I had not planned on planting anything in the near future.  As I did this, I noticed that there was a promising site next to my deck.  Originally, it would not have worked.  Our old apple tree had to be cut down, though, so this area was no longer in the shade.  Eventually, the new tree, planted a little further down the fence line, might force some of the herbs to be relocated, but that should not be an issue for several years.  For right now, this seems to be the ideal spot, except for one thing.  Establishing my herb garden next to the deck meant waging war upon the poplars.

Until I had moved to this house, I had always loved poplars.  They looked very stately lining roadways and I could understand why so many people planted them.

That was before I met my arch enemy.

Doesn't she look all innocent and peaceful?

Doesn’t she look all innocent and peaceful?

My neighbors have a gorgeous poplar growing in their yard.  Unfortunately, she is not content with merely looking gorgeous.  She intends to conquer the world.

This is the army she is building in her own yard.

This used to be a backyard.

This used to be a backyard.

We weed-eat/prune our “wild” areas at least once a year, so this is the worst it has gotten in our yard.

They grow faster than the apple tree that they surround.

They grow faster than the apple tree that they surround.

Even our lawn is not immune.

Mowing just keeps them short.

Mowing just keeps the poplars short.

Despite this unrelenting attack, I decided to go to war.  First, I used my heavy-duty pruners and cut down all the saplings.  Then I loosened the soil as well as I could with a shovel.  After all that, I went to work with a long-handled claw.  Whenever I encountered a poplar root, I pruned it out if I could.  Usually, though, it meant digging around the root, pruning off all its runners, and sawing through the taproot.  Despite being a relatively small space, several wheelbarrows of roots were hauled off to our brush pile before I was done.

One of many wheelbarrow loads of roots.

One of many wheelbarrow loads.

Eventually, I had cleared out the worst of the roots, and the bed was at the stage where I would normally prep it for planting.  Unfortunately, during my battle with the poplar roots, I had discovered that this was just the beginning of the war.  Buried well under the dirt, there were cement bricks throughout a third of the bed.

Mostly root free, but hiding even more obstacles.

Mostly root free, but hiding even more obstacles.

To be Continued . . .

The End Result



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3 Responses to Attack of the Poplars

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