December 5, 2022

Greenhouse Progress: A Side Project, Actually

Every big project seems to present at least one thing that isn't the project itself, but must be addressed in conjunction with the project. This time, it was removing a clump of crepe myrtle trees that we don't want shading the greenhouse. Crepe myrtles are deciduous, but the trees were pretty large and have no other purpose than ornamental. Dan decided to tackle it when it finally rained after a long dry spell. The root system of this clump of trees was likely to be extensive, so he wanted the soil moist and workable.

I didn't manage to take a before photo, but I found an old picture.

Photo from 2019. The crepe myrtle clump is circled in yellow.

People call crepe myrtles the 'lilac of the South,' but Dan calls it the 'chia bush of the South,' because it thrives on being cut back. It will send out numerous thick sprouts and spreads by runners. It's difficult to get rid of, so digging it out by the roots was the only option.

We trimmed it back first, reserving the branches and brush for wood chips. Then the digging started.

Hand digging revealed that the root system was
too extensive to remove the clump by hand.

Dan's PTO driven auger to the rescue.

Eventually, he was able to get a chain around it and pull it out.

He dragged it to the woods, and we wonder if it will reestablish itself.

Dan filled the hole back in and resumed actual work on the greenhouse. We talked about what to do with it, and we agree another African keyhole garden would be great there. Someday.


Rosalea said...

I got a chuckle out of this. This is exactly the sort of stuff my Hubby does. Give him a project, and he'll figure out a way! Great play by play pics. Looking forward to the keyhole garden build.

daisy g said...

Yes, crepe myrtle trees are NOT low maintenance. They are all over the place here in the Piedmont, and we have two in our butterfly bed.
Great job, Dan! Men and their toys...

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

That is a huge crepe myrtle (At least for around here). Ours our much less giant.

Good on Dan for an innovative way to break up the stump.

Leigh said...

Rosalea, I think it's the challenge of the thing. There hasn't been anything yet that Dan has given up on!

The keyhole garden won't be anytime soon, I'm afraid. But I'm happy it's on The List.

Daisy, Dan would dearly love to have bigger (and more expensive!) toys, but we all just have to work with what we've got. Makes the victory all the sweeter. :)

TB, I'm guessing that crepe myrtle cluster had been around for decades. Removing it is a nice example of where there's a will, there's a way!

Billybob said...

They make both beautiful and stout walking sticks.

Leigh said...

Billybob, yes! They do! The coppice well and we use crepe myrtle for poles and firewood (although they aren't particularly good at producing heat). Walking sticks is a great idea.

Ed said...

Projects are gifts that keep on giving. Not only do they create side projects that need to be done to accomplish the main project, but they also tend to create future projects to improve upon either than main or the created side projects. I've kept a list of potential projects most of my life and I have never finished the list and thrown away the paper. I've always had to tack on another sheet of paper.

Helen said...

My parents' house had two 'bushes' on either side of the steps to the front door. I don't even remember what they were, but they were too shaded to flower much. My dad had a ball cutting them back and then getting a chain around the roots (don't remember exactly how he did it) and hooking his Allis Chalmers tractor up and pulling each out. Boy with his toy. :)

Leigh said...

Ed, it's always that way, isn't it? :)

Helen, a good farm tractor is invaluable!

Jenn Jilks said...

It is quite the project. I love it!

PioneerPreppy said...

I think that is the same exact post hole digger I got. I should take a pic of mine and post it for you.

Leigh said...

Jenn, it's nice to have it done. :)

PP, it's a classic! It's been a lifesaver around here. And useful for so much more!