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Saturday, April 2, 2011




Saturday, 9:00 AM.  37 degrees, up from 32 degrees earlier.  Wind WSW, light to moderate.  The sky is mostly cloudy with high gray clouds and some haze, but the barometer predicts sunshine.  The sap should run today, but I will not collect, as Andy and Judy’s daughter Libby, son-n-law Scott and  children Tyler and Luke came up from Milwaukee for a few days and there is plenty of help at present.  I am happy to have the break, as I have a lot of work to do with spring on its way.
    Yesterday we saw a pair of great blue herons in the big marsh just west of Ashland, and two eagles sitting on the rotting ice off Explorer’s Point. Two days ago turkey vultures were circling over town. The crows and the mourning doves are actively nesting.   
    I have mentioned before that there are several species of poplar, or aspen, prevalent in our woods.  Except possibly for the quaking aspen, Populus tremuloides,  used as an accent plant, none of them should be planted in the home landscape as they are weak wooded, prone to disease and become hazard trees at an early age.  Hybrid poplars are often touted as “miracle trees” that will grow exceptionally fast.  True, but they also become a problem that much quicker.
    The poplars pictured are balsam poplar, Populus balsamifera, which have grown quite large on city property.  They have developed huge cankers which makes them very dangerous and we are felling them to prevent them causing damage or injury.  They have a characteristic smooth,  greenish
bark that becomes blackened and furrowed over time.

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