|(Photo: PA Education Extension, extension.psu.edu)|
Marshaling my strength, cutting back last years's detrius, then raking a and bagging a while, punctuated by dragging bags over to the municipal compost site allowed me to give different muscle groups and joints rest. It probably also builds my stamina.
I am always reminded of the Chinese proverb, (paraphrased), "Even an ant can move a mountain, one grain at a time."
I am so totally with that ant this year.
I keep reminding myself, a gardener's best tools are their brains and powers of observation. Typically, I at least rake my yard and clip the grass once in October. Didn't happen last year. Any non-weed seed bearing yard waste gets mowed up and thrown back on my beds. Also didn't happen, same for pine straw. So today when I was in my observation phase, it hit me that I was seeing a new to me fungal disease, tar spot, on my maple leaves.
At first I was worried it might be anthracnose, fully developed, which I possibly had never seen the full development of that fungus' fruiting bodies. But this was clearly not the case, for which I let out a big sigh of relief. My one maple has sentimental value and my village has a large percent of maples. I would hate to think my injury and subsequent untidy yard proved to be a vector for a fungal decimation of a large portion of my village's trees.
The source from the UW-Madison' Botany department seemed to say this is no big deal, but that tar spot is fairly common. Last fall I was paying special attention to maples collecting and drying their leaves and studying them for clues of their cross-breeding and origins. It was a bit of independent study cut short by my accident.
Tar spot was not something I noticed then. This spring as I rake up the maple leaves, it is hard to miss by someone moving slowly. So joy, joy, a fungal disease that is not a problem... Somehow fungal disease and not a problem do not happen too often for gardeners. Additionally, tar spot seems to be a genus/species specific sort of disease, so it is not going to expand to my fruit trees, lilacs, and roses. Yay!