Friday, February 16, 2018


The above picture was taken by Roofer Reese when he was up on top of our house repairing the damaged shingles a few months ago.  The leafless tree on the right is a Bodock / Hedge Apple / Osage Orange, Maclara pomifera that has been on the "to-do" list for a while now.  It is entwined with a Hackberry tree on the other side of the fence in the field close to the drive where we park our cars.  Over time, it has grown large enough to drop hedge apples and thorny branches in the driveway plus it could possibly damage a car if toppled during a storm.  Both needed to go.

We call it a "Hedge Apple" because the female trees produce large round inedible fruit.  Squirrels love to eat them and have spread seeds everywhere.  I don't have a picture of any of the fruit that fell last Fall because they are rotted.

The branches are covered with sharp, dangerous thorns. They easily puncture lawnmower tires, soft-soled shoes, and the thorny branches are always dropping onto the ground.

Before barb wire was invented, they were planted close together and trimmed into hedges to keep livestock fenced in. Nothing wanted to crawl through the sharp thorns. This one is on the back side of our property.  A few years ago Bill cut it down right above the fence top thinking it would kill the tree; instead, it sprouted into many smaller thorny branches. 

I have two more growing in my flower bed area which is why I must always wear shoes when walking in my garden.  Forget running barefoot through the grass.  Both trees plus a third one beside the power line to our house are on the "mile-long, someday in the future, to-do list."

In the front area of my flowerbed.
The second one is in the back of my flower bed also close to our power line.  We can't fell it because it might hit the telephone pole, so we made the best of a bad situation and put an orange target on its back.

The orange spot is the target.
Bill likes to sit on the porch in a rocking chair and shoot at the spinning target on the tree. The other side gives me the creeps whenever I walk past.  It glares angerly at me as I work in the yard.

We were once told a country legend that chainsaws will shoot sparks when cutting the wood because it is so hard.  We laughed at the teller of the tall tale - we don't laugh anymore. Bill has seen the wood spark when cutting it. The grain of the wood is uneven, almost like a crooked spiral so it won't split apart and an ax will bounce off.


 One down, a zillion more to go.

My Hero, Lumberjack Bill
Cutting them down was the right decision because the area where the two trees were touching did not look healthy.

Bodock / Hedge Apple Tree

Hackberry Tree
Cutting it down was the easy part. The Hackberry tree will be used in the woodburning stove next year, but not the Bodock.  It produces a black, smelly smoke; not something we want to burn inside. Each section must be small enough to be lifted and tossed on a bonfire.  The fire will be sitting on the stump and that should, hopefully, kill it.  (UPDATE:  It did get rid of it.)

A new chore has been added to the list - mend the smashed fence so Scooter can't get out.

Good riddance
"Woe is me." moaned Scooter.  "Everyone was outside watching Dad cut down the tree but I was locked inside the house.  I could only peer helplessly through the window.  Pack Leader was afraid I would get hit by the falling tree.  Mom was worried I might get chilled since it was cloudy and I have a new haircut.  She made me wear my new sweater, wrapped me up in a blanket and left me in the warm, cozy house all by myself.  I was neglected, lonely and had to watch the sunset alone."

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UPDATE:  A year later, we hired two lumberjacks to cut the trees down in the front yard.


  1. That looks like an awful chore! I'm sorry you have more around the property......I'm growing a Hawthorne. Is that a mistake?
    Scooter looks like he's very disappointed not getting in on the action. But, how warm and comfy he is....he's got it good....tell him I said so.

    1. We don't have any Hawthorn trees, I am not an expert, but at least it has other redeeming qualities - like being medicinal and edible. I think it all depends on where it is growing and if it will puncture a car tire. Unless you want to make a bow from the branches to shoot your arrow, grow a fence post or throw a Hedge Apple at your brother, my trees are worthless. It isn't even good to burn.

      We have many thorn trees and bushes on our property because the soil is poor. Bill has slowly, slowly cut many of them down allowing the better trees to survive. The chores never end.

  2. To fell trees and to cut the wood is hard labor and not without danger.
    Those thorns of the Hedge Apple are threatening. I have read that the wood of these trees is even used by builders of violins and harps. Something very special therefore.
    Well, Scooter had the best place anyway.

    1. It is good to know the wood is good for something. If anyone wants to come to my house and cut them all down and carry the wood away, they are welcome. I will give them away for FREE and not ask for a harp in return.

  3. Wow, look at that handsome haircut!

  4. I love to cut wood. Hard work, but very satisfying. And you have a great lumberjack to boot!

    1. Well, I prefer to "watch" someone else cut the wood! I am quite content to sit back and let them do the work. It was $1,000 saved, which is the price for cutting and removing one tree. It is a shame we can't burn the wood and use it in the house. However, if it saves us from getting a flat tire or the cars being damaged from a fallen tree, it is worth the (his) hard work.

  5. What nasty trees! I'm glad you are getting rid of them, little by little. It is a bummer that they won't burn well. I think picking up the pieces will sure be hard with all those thorns.

    I love the looks of your house every time I see a picture of it. I also see work, work, work everywhere I look in those same pictures:). One would think that there would be no work at all for us, since we no longer live in the country, but......plenty left for us to do even here in town:). But, no trees to cut down. I've been watering my little baby plants, and really need to transplant a few.

    1. We do work ourselves to death and can't seem to get ahead of the chores. This past weekend I asked him to cut the trunk into smaller pieces and I will roll them to my flowerbed to hold more flowerpots. It will save effort trying to get them to burn and make my flowerbed look more interesting. I am ready to plant flowers but it is still to early.

      Wait until it stops snowing to plant your seedlings!!!!!

    2. That would be the perfect wood for flowerbeds because it probably won't rot! Ever!

      I went out after work tonight and transplanted a bunch of broccoli and cabbage seedlings into cells with the second soil we use. (We start in very fine "starter" soil, then put into a little coarser soil). I also make sure there is only one plant in each cell. Things are growing in that greenhouse! I never get tired of it.

    3. According to the internet, which is always right, fence posts made from the wood have lasted over 100 years out West on the prairie. I don't plan on moving those stumps in my flowerbed again for at least that long.

      ALREADY transplanting seedlings! You are so far ahead of me. Today I will order my seeds. I will make up my mind! I will do it!

  6. Poor Scooter. That IS a scary looking tree!

    1. Laurie, Scooter is many things, but brave is not one of them.

  7. That tree is called Osage orange? Does it get big green orbs on it? I have a cousin and his family that make regular trips to Kansas City Kansas area to see her family. 5-6years ago we were at their house and they had these day glo green fruit like things about the size of grapefruits. She had them on her porch mixed in with her fall decorations. That's what she called them. I liked the way they smell and I love the color. Now every year when they go down they bring me a bag back also and I too add to my decorations.

    1. Athanasia, yes, that is it. The two in my flowerbed are males and do not produce the fruits neither do they smell good. All they do is drop thorns. The one in the field had the large fruit, but they were beginning to drop dangerously close to the car windows.

      I suppose some people like them and have found them to be useful. Not me. I prefer complaining.