People are begging me to stop. As my alarm at the dry weather rose over the past few months, I began every superstition I knew to invoke the storm clouds our way.
There was research into our predicament, and meetings with grim-voiced scientists tracking our dry-down. I joked about dancing naked through the garden, but didn’t mean it; our police have better things to do than track down an unclad, half-mad gardener.
Instead, I wrote about it and encourage people to spring water their trees, shrubs and turf. “Grass mites,” I fervently warned, “are having their way with your lawn.”
Eventually, after a few sputters and spurts, these efforts paid off. It’s raining and snowing and sleeting all at once – the weather’s so excited to be here it’s unleashing everything it has on us. Roads are flooding. Schools are closing. Weather casters on major TV stations are giddy in the knowledge that, this time, they were right (it’s true – I saw one giggle).
Those who know me have started stopping by or phoning, acknowledging my power and asking me to dial it back a little bit. Rest assured: I’m trying.
How will our plants fare through all of this? That depends. Should temperatures stay hovering around 35-degrees, the plants will be fine. A little wet snow won’t harm them.
But if we get the big dump the forecasters are predicting tomorrow, branches may be broken. Should that happen, some may think of putting their trees back together again.
Split or broken trunks and branches should not be glued, duct taped, screwed, stapled, super-glued, tied, propped, cemented or banded back onto the tree. This will not result in the tree fusing back together, á la Humpty Dumpty.
In fact, this can lead to a very hazardous situation. If the tree is seriously damaged, it may need to be assessed to determine if it is in a dangerous condition. Hazard tree assessments require specifically trained experts to address this problem with potentially serious legal complications. Many city foresters and certified arborists have the training (and insurance) to perform hazard tree evaluations.
Prune off the torn branches and clean up wound sites. If the bark is torn, take a sharp knife and clean it from the tree, leaving a smooth edge to the wound. Don’t use wound paint – the tree will seal that area itself.