Before They Can Nest I Take Out The Bush


Corner of the deck, the bush before I start.

Corner of the deck, the bush before I start.

Well, the bush has been cut back to an impressive collection of stumps. There was an overgrown hedge-style bush by the corner of our deck. It was very tall, and over the years has spread out so that it overshadowed the steps leading to the yard, especially if it had rained.

Now, I didn’t particularly dislike that bush, and my philosophy where most trees and bushes go is live and let live. I liked the fragrant white flowers this bush has in June, and I liked that it was a frequent nesting spot, sometimes for robins or cardinals.

But, it was getting too big to manage. I could not trim it easily, and it was crowding other growing things. So my wife and I had agreed last year that it should come out.

But when? I didn’t want to take it out last year, since there might be young birds in there. So it was to be a winter job. And what a winter it has been. I assumed I would take it out over Christmas break, but that break came and went so quickly and so coldly that it didn’t happen.

With the calendar saying “March,” I was getting a bit antsy. I have already ordered some new flowers for this garden, partly under the assumption that it would be more open with this bush gone. And robins have become more visible again, a sign that, ever so slowly, spring is coming.

Grandkids were around Saturday, but after lunch I went out and got my limb saw, branch pruner and hatchet. And I attacked.

The bush put up a pretty good fight. It turned out that the limb saw was the most useful tool. As I worked, I gained a chorus of watchers. The grandchildren, armed with cardboard swords their grandmother crafted, sallied forth to observe and comment. Amelia kicked snow at me and giggled and chatted. Tristan was more direct—waiving a sword through the bars of the decks, announcing that he was helping, and hacking at the branches with his cardboard.

It took a bit more than an hour to reduce this old bush to multiple stumps. And longer to drag the branches to the back fence and toss them over. I had planned to drag them farther into the woods, but snow and ice have the back gate sealed.

I don’t like to see a pretty bush go, but there are five others of exactly this type growing in my yard at various places, and the birds have many nesting sites to choose from.

And I am happy that it was done on time. The only nests I saw were old crumbling ones from past seasons—nobody had tried to move into this bird apartment house yet this spring.

And now the Rose of Sharon and the Prairie Fire crabapple that had been crowded by this bush have room to grow.

An hour or so later. Lots of branches to drag away.

An hour or so later. Lots of branches to drag away.

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