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Spruce Down :(

Like many across the Midwest and Northeast, we had an extremely windy week last week.

On Wednesday at O’Hare airport, they measured gusts of 58 mph which was the highest since 1991, coincidentally the year we moved to Chicago. In my neighborhood, gusts of 62 mph were observed and the average sustained wind speed was close to 30 mph. That, coupled with an extremely wet past couple of months led to this…

Down came a 20+yr old Colorado Blue Spruce that was just not able to handle the soggy soil and high sustained winds. Usually a spruce is able to adapt to most soil conditions, including a moderate tolerance to flooding. They also withstand wind better than most other spruces because of a moderately deep root system and they make good privacy shields because of their density.

We knew this was a wet area in the yard because of its proximity to the swale and raised it up when planting to help with drainage.  For over 20 years it did just fine. But, water soaked soil is definitely not as strong as dry, and it was no match for sustained high winds.  The same thing happened to our neighbor’s tree in an area that was also frequently wet.

We had the guys with chain saws come out to remove it.

And now part of our privacy shield has a gaping hole in a pretty ugly part of the yard.

Before:

After:

and the next day when winter reappeared for a last gasp in March.  Not nearly as bad as the East coast, but still an unwelcome last gasp.

Yikes!  These pictures remind me a bit of before and after weight loss ads. Not really fair because of the different seasons, but you get the idea. I need to think on this for a little bit about what to put in.  I don’t usually think it’s a good idea to replace a lost garden planting with the same item since there’s a reason it didn’t work out. It also a really disappointing loss since to the left of the shed is where we lost a 20+ year Freeman Maple tree a couple of years ago (read about it here).

So how much rain have I received this year so far?  Since I like knowing the amount of rain in my yard, not just the very large general Chicago area, in a previous post How Much Rain Did We Get? I described measuring rain with best rain gauge around, a Stratus Rain Gauge.  I keep track of the rain and snow in a great app “Rain Log” and this is my data for February and March.

We are way ahead of average for the year!  Normally we would get about 5 inches to date and we’ve already had over 8 inches of rain, in a few very soaking rain events.

Want to track the weather close to your own house?  Check out my favorite local weather sites that gather information from thousands of citizen scientists who report their weather every day at WeatherUnderground and CoCoRaHS.

 

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