1.19.2008

Double Trouble

Standing dead snags are great things...unless they are too close to a high-use area. Then, according to guidelines, they have to be cut down. We took down 53 dead trees on Tuesday and Wednesday. Generally, we fell them, buck them, and them toss them off the road. But not this bad boy...we called for the front-end loader to move this one after it was dropped.

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Nearly forty feet tall, this dead sycamore was wrapped up with poison ivy, (Toxicodendron radicans), and it was within two feet of the road. It had to come down.

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The vine was so big I would have had to use both hands to reach around it - not that I touched it, mind you :) We grow some impressive poison ivy in the work swamp! Luckily, I have never experienced a rash from ivy and I hope to keep it that way.

And for those of you who may be unaware of the fact, you can get a rash from poison ivy anytime of year. The oil that causes the rash is in all parts of the plant (except the flowers and berries). If you are susceptible to it and you get the oil on your skin, then you're probably going to get the rash.

8 comments:

Stacie said...

Why are standing dead snags great things?

swamp4me said...

stacie,
Standing dead trees provide food, resting, and nesting areas for a wide variety of animals (those holes in the trunk are from woodpeckers, for example). Plus, as the tree is broken down by decomposers such as fungi, it enriches the soil. Once the tree falls and becomes a dead log lying on the forest floor it provides habitat for animals like salamanders, and denning space for animals like bobcats and foxes. In short, dead snags promote life.

Stacie said...

Thank you for that! That's what I love about your blog - you find beauty in things many wouldn't find beautiful! Swamps, dead trees, etc. Our woods are wet, and sometimes that depresses me. And we have a lot of standing, and fallen dead trees. I often think that means that are woods are not healthy. But the information you provide makes me see it in a different light. Thanks again!

A Local Naturalist said...

Yikes. I love the Carolinian forest, but have suffered miserably from that vine. I itch just looking at it.

Hugh

swamp4me said...

Hugh,
We do seem to have more than our fair share of poison ivy around here. My husband is extremely sensitive to it and goes to great lengths to avoid it.

woverman said...

Just thinking about it makes me itch...

Swamp Thing said...

The pileated woodpecker that was (apparently) using that tree is going to hunt you down at your house! Hope you don't have aluminum window frames!

Nasty P-ivy. I'm only allergic to big messes (heavy exposure) of it....like the one in the picture. Good time of year to deal with it, though.

One time I was in the field (late winter) with a young biologist and he had a p-ivy branch in his hand - he had crushed the bud and was running it under his nose to determine if there was a scent...he got a nasty Hitler mustache of poison ivy about 2 days later. Classic.

swamp4me said...

swamp thing,
Cutting woodpecker trees is painful. I try my best to leave them as long as I can, but the ones immediately adjacent to the trails and roads have to come down. Luckily, there are plenty more to keep the all the woodpeckers happy.
I'm still laughing about the poor guy with the Hitler mustache...