The ice storm we experienced in November resulted in damage to trees and shrubs.

In my case, one of the silver maples in my backyard had a great deal of limb damage due to the weight of the ice on the limbs and the fact this tree was still holding over 80 percent of its leaves. This was compounded by the fact that silver maple trees are prone to storm damage. Other trees which showed a lot of damage were white pine and as the picture with this column shows Bradford Callery Pears (ornamental pears) were not immune to damage. Bradford should not be confused with Bartlett Pear trees which are raised for their fruit. As you may remember this cultivar (Bradford) has weak limb joints and is prone to weather damage as well.

Newer cultivars of ornamental pears like Chanticleer are longer lived and have stronger tight limb joints which are more resistant to wind and storm damage. So as the saying goes “choose wisely” in selecting a tree to plant and do your homework on the expected longevity of the plant. Ornamental pear trees have been over planted in many cases and may not be the best tree in your situation.

Firewood sales

Ohio has taken the stance for several years to attempt to help people who buy firewood to get what they pay for. Firewood is to be sold by the cord and not by the bundle, stack or other description. A cord of wood is a stack of cut firewood measuring 128 cubic feet. For example a stack of firewood 8 feet long, 4 feet high and 4 feet wide would be a cord of firewood (4X4X8 =125 cubic feet). Some stores get around this requirement by selling bundles of firewood and selling it as fire starter or fireplace bundles for example.

One problem I commonly see is storage of firewood. If you are going to go the expense of cutting/buying firewood, why not cover it with a tarp or plastic and get it off the ground to protect it from rot, termites and carpenter ants?

For more information on firewood go the Ohio Department of Agriculture website and scroll down to the Division of Weights and Measures.

Storage of chemicals

Our winters bring conditions which can result in money and product lost from frozen pest control products or those used for weed, insect or disease control. Farmers have dealt with this problem by storing liquid pesticides in insulated and temperature controlled buildings or truck beds. For homeowners that might be your garage. Note the concern in most cases deals with liquid products. It is still not too late to clean out those sprayers as well. If in doubt as to storage of products check the product label for help. In many cases frozen pesticides may not be as effective so check now for storage requirements. And, do not forget to drain fuel out of lawnmowers or similar equipment or add fuel stabilizer to the fuel tank to help prevent moisture getting into the fuel.

Crop harvest

Sadly we still have some corn and soybeans in area fields due to weather. Jim Corbet who is an Agronomy Sales Advisor with Sunrise Cooperative estimates there are somewhere around 10 percent of soybeans and 5 percent of the corn in the Greene County area still to be harvested as of Dec. 21. Statewide the Ohio Crop Reporting Service estimated the amount of unharvested corn and soybeans to be greater than this. In addition to this problem for farmers there has been crop loss from the ice storm in November in both crops.

By Jerry Mahan

Jerry Mahan is a retired OSU Extension educator agriculture and natural resources for Greene County. He can be reached at [email protected].