Spring Damage Control at the Farm

Reader Contribution by Joan Pritchard
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I was at the farm yesterday to do early spring cleanup and begin the process of sorting out needed work. It has been a late spring, but yesterday was in the mid-70s and the wind was low so it was near ideal.

I had a fire there two years ago, and we have also had a major drought, so many of my trees and garden standouts have suffered. When we live in a climate like this, we certainly put that “drought-tolerant” test into practice. I am amazed by what I lost, and by what we didn’t lose.

If I thought a tree was lost from fire damage, I have already removed it, but I have several that were left standing to see if they face the challenges. The initial damage from fire blistered the trees and the bark fell off. I imagine the sap inside was boiling as well. But we have all seen trees live with half the bark gone.

This winter I lost one tree from drought, one from deer damage and one from damage from the fire. Not a good winter for sure. Growing domestics on the Kansas plains has its challenges in best of circumstances.

Here is what I find doing the worst with the drought: asparagus, lilacs, ornamental blooming trees, cottonwood, ornamental evergreens, and small decorative trees such as redbud. I may not be able to save any of these.

What did well were the weeds, poison ivy, euonymus, established ground cover, bulbs such as daffodil and tulip, succulents such as lives-forever, and all manner of unwanted grasses.

I have a positive attitude, and I will replant some trees. I want to build a small house there and I need all the shade I can get. When one is blessed to be the steward of land as beautiful as this, you just have to stand and fight. That’s just life on the Kansas prairie.

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