Sunday, October 17, 2010

Forsythia bush and I

Grandma’s house has a massive garden, or back yard as it’s called here. Near the house was a equally massive bush called a Forsythia. Very pretty in the spring with bright yellow hues, sadly it’s one of those plants that, left a few years, would cover half the globe so it had to be stopped.

I offered to pull the thing up and lay it to rest on the burn pile. I figured the thing was like a tree with a central ‘trunk’ and shoots emerging from this one location. Wrong… In actuality the plan grows from one place, leans its tendrils outwards and where they touch the ground, they root and the process repeats. This plant is old and covered an area around 40x50feet and had hundreds of stems, most of which were small enough to pull right up by hand, but many weren’t and had to be dug out.

I attacked it with vigour and soon learned that it’s no small job, after about 12 hours I was down to the core(s) of the thing and had to start digging out the stumps. Progress went slow at this point as each one was connected to each other by long, 2 inch diameter roots which needs finding, exposing, severing and ideally yanking up. I looked at the remaining 20 or so stumps and realised I was looking at the wrong end of around 2 days worth of work, but then something wonderful happened; uncle Doug showed up with a thing called a ‘grubber’ and 5000lbs of Detroit's finest diesel powered 3/4 ton truck. I was pleased with the introduction of 2 machines to my work.

The grubber is a sort of cantilevered jaw with spikes at one end, and a chain and hook at the other. Sort of like this:


Its operation is simple and pleasingly destructive. Clamp it to the offending stump, attach to the nearest torquey GMC and drive the latter away from the former. The more you pull, the tighter the jaws close more or less guaranteeing an uprooting! See footage here:

It was a beautiful sight. Each stump removed saved me about 60 minutes of tiring digging!

Now there is much more space, more light for the house and less vegetation to trap moisture against the aging wooden siding. We left a little of the plant left to give a bit of spring colour,  but if it sprouts like that again, it’s getting grubbered!

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