At this point, most of the sarvis (juneberry, serviceberry, shadbush) is in bloom. It won’t last long, but it is beautiful while it does. Unfortunately, I see fewer and fewer of them as I look out over the ridges. I hope more people will begin to recognize them and protect them, if they have them on their property. Their flowers look a lot like a smaller dogwood blossom, but they always come before the dogwoods. This isn’t a great phone shot, but it will give you a rough idea of what a young one looks like. They can get quite large, out in the woods.
Some of the dogwoods are just starting to show their early greenish-yellow flowers. It will take them a week or two to come fully into bloom, so the window is probably the next three weeks, although it’s always hard to predict.
There’s a car show today in downtown Blue Ridge, across from the courthouse. We’ve already seen some very nice looking cars cruise past the office. It’s in conjunction with an Easter egg hunt, which starts at noon. The car show is over at 3:00.
We visited the Delano Community Market again yesterday. They are predicting about another two weeks until they have their famous strawberries. The first day of the Union County Farmer’s Market is a special event on May 9, Ramp Day. The regular market starts June 6. Hours are Tuesday 2:00 – 6:00 and Saturday 7:00 – 1:00. To find it, you turn left just past the Home Depot, if you are coming from Blue Ridge.
It is about time for the hemlocks to start showing the characteristic sign of the hemlock disease, a white substance on the branches that looks almost as if you sprayed fake snow on a Christmas tree. There are a lot of people who think that since the white stuff disappears in the winter, that the tree is healed. The truth is that all trees need to be treated, or they will die. If you have just a few trees, you can probably treat them yourself, but you have to be extremely careful not to get the chemical treatment in the water, because it is extremely deadly to aquatic invertebrates. (Those are the little “bugs” that the trout eat.) It is also a poor idea to use an airborne spray, as there is a lot of evidence that the chemical used in treatment is harming the bees. The best idea is to inject it into the ground with a tool that can be borrowed from the state forest service, or to carefully water it in around the trunk. The Save Georgia’s Hemlocks website has a lot of good information, www.savegeorgiashemlocks.org. Or call their help line at 706.429.8010. If you have a large number of trees, professional treatment is probably the best bet. Either way, it’s best to get them treated, because it’s a whole lot cheaper to treat them than it is to cut them down.
The next local hemlock event is at the April 11 meeting of Trout Unlimited at the Fannin Chamber of Commerce, beginning at 9:00 AM. (Hemlocks are vital to healthy trout streams, as they help shade the streams and maintain the cooler temperatures the trout need to flourish.) In addition to the regular business meeting, Donna Shearer, Chair of Save Georgia’s Hemlocks, will discuss recent hemlock news and the latest treatment options. She’s pretty much the horse’s mouth, as Save Georgia’s Hemlocks has spearheaded the effort to save the hemlocks nationally. The meeting is open to the public and sure to be informative.