The derecho, for lack of better words, kicked our ass here in eastern Iowa.
Oh sure, we will recover just like we did after the flood in 2008. The clean up will take a while, but the yard debris will be removed and houses will be repaired. Buildings will be torn down and businesses will reopen. It is a process that we are intimately familiar with having experienced a “once-in-a-lifetime” weather event just twelve years ago.
Recovery is a collective process. If I clean up my property, but no one around me does anything then it just means that I have the cleanest patch of land in the middle of a junkyard. This is true for a street, neighborhood, or an entire city. If any part is left to rot then it is the whole that suffers.
In that vein, I got started on what I could control relative to the recovery now that my house is cleaned up, my yard is cleared, and I am just waiting to hear back on timelines for repairs that I cannot do myself.
This is what my recovery looks like:
That is right…trees! What you are looking at is a long-planned addition to a sycamore tree that I have planted in a fairly obscure spot in my yard. The three Himalayan birch trees form the foundation for a landscaped bed that is forthcoming. My plan is to scrape the grass, add some low height elements like shrubs, and deeply mulch. Given the low lying nature of this spot my hope is that the combination of a sycamore and three birch trees will stabilize the soil and slow down erosion.
At the opposite side of the yard I finally completed the planting of trees “in the point”:
Red maples were not my first choice to complete the planting of this yard section, but limited nursery stock over the past couple of years and a killer price on two maple trees made me a convert. Yes, red maples are probably overplanted in my neighborhood. Then again, after the derecho caused so many people to lose front yard trees that may no longer be the case.
Regardless, the plan for this section is to also scrape the grass, add some low height elements like shrubs, and deeply mulch. The soil in this section of the yard is clay on top of sand. Replacing the turf with landscaping should be an improvement in terms of both soil and water management.
In the Cedar Rapids area it is estimated that the derecho destroyed 50 to 75 percent of the tree cover. I was lucky in that I only lost the top of one tree:
And I was forced to severely prune two other trees because of storm damage. Hopefully, the large size of these two trees at maturity means that the early pruning will leave them with clear trunks near ground level and no visible scars of 2020.
So, my effort to help in the recovery is replacing some of that tree cover that the community lost in the storm. It just so happens to also dovetail nicely with my goal of reducing turf grass coverage in my yard. Win, win.