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Hurricane Hugo

When I first looked at my property, I was surprised to see how many downed trees were scattered all over the property. Since I am from Florida and have been through more than one hurricane, I immediately suspected that a hurricane was the culprit, because I noticed that almost all of the downed trees had fallen in a northeast-southwest direction. Sure enough, that was verified for me by many of my neighbors, who experienced Hurricane Hugo in 1989.

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What surprised me, but doesn’t surprise anyone who lives in Floyd County, is that all of the downed trees were black locust, an extremely dense and rot-resistant tree. These trees have been on the ground for twenty years and are still quite sound. I plan to have them pulled out of the woods and stacked for use in construction – I love the twisted grain of the logs. As you can see in the following series of pictures, there are lots of downed trees to pick from and also plenty more that are what the neighbors call “leaners” – they have been prevented from falling completely to the ground because they have hung up in neighboring trees.

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The tree at the left center is a beech tree. It is the last to lose its leaves in the fall and is called a “ghost tree” by some. I’m not sure why that should be so – perhaps one of my readers can offer an explanation?

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In the center, you can see a curving tree – that is a maple that, years ago, was bent by a fallen tree. Over the years, a sprout grew from the base of the tree and now the sprout is many times bigger than that curved portion. I will cut the curved portion off so that the rest can grow better.

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This last picture shows the northeast corner of the property, where there are quite a large number of downed trees, some lying across others. It is quite a tangle of fallen trees! It will be a number of years before I will be able to create a healthier environment for the trees on my property – lots of work ahead. I find it amusing how, when I first looked at the property, I thought that I had a wonderful piece of property. I do, but I also have an enormous amount of work that needs to be done to improve the woods. There are a very large number of twisted, split, and leaning trees, along with many others which are missing their tops from unknown causes. Ice storms? The weight of vines? Who knows? I have an interesting journey that I’m setting out on, though.

3 Comments on “Hurricane Hugo”

  1. #1 Kay
    on Nov 28th, 2009 at 8:07 pm

    Yes, you do, as do I with mine… and wouldn’t have it any other way! Caretaking my own bit of forest, bit by bit, with the labor of my hands and help of my horses, will amuse me for many years, I’m sure.

    Glad to hear your trip went well and you missed the torrential downpours!

  2. #2 Beth
    on Nov 30th, 2009 at 8:05 am

    You are so fortunate to have the black locust logs, Jeff. They make wonderful fence posts. At our last home, we had fence posts made of locust that had been there for many years and they still looked sound, if a bit weathered. And we had a lot of fallen locust trees, too, that made great fuel for our wood stove.

  3. #3 Debi Kelly Van Cleave
    on Dec 1st, 2009 at 10:04 pm

    Yeah, they burn great.

    We’ve had some tornadoes around here. Maybe that was it.

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