But I went out today and it felt good.
I took all the mesh and plastic trunk protectors off the trees on the back hill and in the yard. You'd think that would be a quick job, but it took quite a while.
I spent time on the back hill cutting down multiflora rose and bittersweet. So much of it. I wanted to brush each cut stem with Brush B Gone, but really it's impossible. In the tangle of woody vines and weeds and other debris up there, I can't get to the stems.
I just lopped off what I could, took the vines down from the upper branches and moved on to the next entanglement.
I cut my hands badly on some thorns, lost a glove on the hill, got hot and sweaty in the chill air, and wound up with burrs all over me. A good day.
I saw that one of the black gums planted back there was incredibly root girdled. There were visible tightly coiled roots around the small stem, and I could see how distorted the trunk was becoming.
This is the tree, in fall 2011. It's nestled between some maples at the bottom of the hill, and it has not grown much.
I thought that was because Nyssa sylvatica is a slow grower, but this little tree is stunted, totally root strangled.
You wouldn't believe how girdled the top layer of roots was. I should have gotten a photo. I cut away what I could, lopping off quite a few tightly wrapped roots, at least the ones I could see at soil level. I hope I have saved it.
Even with all the entangled vines, the cold ground, and wet conditions, it felt good to be doing chores out in the chilly sun today.