Patrick's Barn: The Hydrangea Is on Life Support - Fine Homebuilding

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Editor's Notepad

Editor's Notepad


Patrick's Barn: The Hydrangea Is on Life Support

comments (3) November 2nd, 2011 in Blogs
patrick_mccombe Patrick McCombe, Associate editor

This was our beloved hydrangea Saturday after the heavy, wet snow leveled trees and power lines throughout our town. The local utility says that 90% of customers were without power. Were still expected to be without power a week later.
The mature oak trees in my yard were also victims of the storm. About six very large branches broke free after being overloaded with snow on their still-attached fall leaves. They now need to be cut and cleaned up.
I like using available materials whenever possible. Here I am using a piece of foam sill sealer and camo duct tape to protect the trunk from chafing when its tied up with poly rope.
After clearing nearly all the foliage and broken branches with pruners and a recip saw, my wife and I lifted the tree back into place. Had it been a pound heavier, I dont think we could have lifted it. We secured it with a pair of ropes and a 5-ft. piece of 2x8.
This was our beloved hydrangea Saturday after the heavy, wet snow leveled trees and power lines throughout our town. The local utility says that 90% of customers were without power. Were still expected to be without power a week later.Click To Enlarge

This was our beloved hydrangea Saturday after the heavy, wet snow leveled trees and power lines throughout our town. The local utility says that 90% of customers were without power. We're still expected to be without power a week later.

Photo: Carol Collins

It was late morning Saturday, October 29, when the heavy, wet snow started falling. By about 1:00 there was enough on the ground to gather a handful into a good snowball. About an hour later, our power went off. An hour after that, we heard and saw mature trees breaking up all around us. It's Wednesday, November 2, as I write this, and we're still without power. The utility says we might have power restored by Sunday.

As the snow started falling, I was keenly aware of a long oak branch overhanging our new barn. When it started bending under the weight of the heavy snow on its fall leaves, I was sure it would hit the barn's new roof. I just happened to be staring out the window when it fell. It seemed like a miracle when, instead of dropping straight onto the roof, it stayed attached just long enough that the free end swung down like the whole branch was pivoting on a hinge. It missed the barn by about a foot, and I breathed a long sigh of relief.

In addition to several large, broken oak branches, our landscape's most notable victim was a 40- or 50-year-old hydrangea that was uprooted and toppled over. It's our landscape's best feature. Its many beautiful blooms last for months and change color as the summer turns to fall. I was quite prepared to drag the sad wreckage to the brush pile, but my wife decided it deserved better treatment. Sunday afternoon as she cleared the foliage and removed the dead and broken branches, she convinced me that we should at least try to save the plant. Thanks to her, it's back upright, and we're hoping for the best. If anybody knows of additional measures we should take to save our beloved plant, we'd love to hear your input.

 

Read more about my barn here.


posted in: Blogs, patrick's barn, landscaping

Comments (3)

clydiemor clydiemor writes: Glad about the new barn (Whew!) And a little envious, but sad about the hydrangea.
I am guessing from the blooms on the ground it is the white one that turns pinkish in fall..a Pee Gee type. The ones that can get as big as a Rhododendron.
They are amazing plants and can if needed be cut back almost (or I have heard right to) the ground. You will not get the plant size and blooms you did in the past, for a year or two but it probably will survive. Do what you can for it now to get it as healthy as you can before the "real" winter shows up. Trim the broken branches, you already propped it up so that might be good..still no power? I feel bad for you...it is getting a bit milder for a few days, so you can make sure the ground is firm around the roots.. Hope for the best..I am sure you will let us know.
Posted: 9:51 am on November 7th

rocky2000 rocky2000 writes: Had this happen years ago to a birch. We stood it back up with the aid of a tractor and ran over the root ball to reconnect it with the earth.
Keep it watered in a wide pattern so the roots reach out and spread. The trimming should also help it.
I live in Central CT . I made several trips out to my prized dogwood to knock off snow. It survived, but lost several branches.
Got power back thankfully on Friday. My town is one that didn't make the CL&P 99%. We lost a bunch of trees including a peach and an apple. What a mess!



Posted: 7:03 am on November 7th

KJCollins KJCollins writes: This is sad news. I'm very glad that nothing bad happened to the barn, but oh, the poor hydrangea! I will hope for the best recovery possible. It really is a beautiful little tree.
Posted: 11:10 am on November 3rd

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