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Battling oak tree roots and more acorns
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Now that cooler weather is here, I have been working in my yard trying to get everything caught up before the onslaught of leaves that inevitably end up in my yard.

I have several planters and pots near my driveway that I like to keep filled with flowers. I resorted to using planters because nothing I planted in the ground thrived or even lived. I was planting my flowers under a huge oak tree, and its roots simply deprived everything I planted of water and choked my flowers to death.

I bought the planters so I could have flowers that lived. For a while, that fooled the oak tree. Then came the years of summer droughts we have had recently. The oak tree sent roots up through the drain holes in the pots and still chocked my flowers to death. I tried putting aluminum foil in the bottom of the pots. That did not work. I tried putting saucers under the pots. The oak tree roots simply climbed over the saucer and into the hole in the bottom of the pot. I tried putting the pots on bricks. The oak roots circumvented about half of the bricks.

So my first order of business was to throw away my impatiens and empty my pots. Most of them had a root about the size of a finger growing through the drain hole and were full of oak tree roots. I separated the roots from the soil and threw the roots away and replaced the soil and then planted pansies. I did this the last week of September. I went to a local chain store to buy some potting soil to replace what was lost when I took out the roots. Do you know that the garden center at this store was completely empty and the employees were beginning to fill it with Christmas decorations. The last week of September. Really.

Then I began cutting back the bushes around the house and in the yard. That took me about two weeks. I don't mean to imply I have that much yard. I only work around two hours at a time and don't get the time to do it more than about three days or so a week. I did finish about the middle of October. It went a lot more quickly this year as I have my new and sharp lopers and hedge trimmers.

The leaves aren't falling yet, but the acorns sure are. I have three huge old oak trees in my yard and my carport has a metal roof. I think those trees plot to make sure they are able to aim as many acorns as possible at that metal roof. It sounds, as those acorns hit the roof, like World War II. The roof is slanted, so they hit the roof and then rattle their way down the roof and off.

My driveway is covered in small tan splotches of crushed acorns. When you drive on the driveway, you can hear a constant crunching noise as the tires drive over and crack the acorns. I have learned the hard way to leave them there until the trees are through throwing the acorns at my driveway.

I used to use my blower weekly to round up the acorns and get them into the street. My theory was that the more acorns I got out of my yard, the fewer squirrels I would have. I was hoping to starve a few squirrels to death. I realize now that my quest was futile.
One year, while still trying to rid the driveway of acorns, I managed to get a small army of them to the end of my driveway. I made the mistake of turning around to alter the direction of the blower and accidentally stepped on the sea of acorns. It had the same effect as walking on BBs. I truly went feet over head and landed on my bottom with a resounding crash.

I was younger then. I am not so sure I could survive that now. Even then it took me a while to realize what had happened, check my self for injuries and then gingerly get back up.

Now when I walk on the driveway I watch the ground and aim for the acorns. The more I crunch, the fewer I will have to scatter before me with the blower.

I'm not exactly happy to be ready for the leaves, but I am. That contest will last until Thanksgiving or later.

Paula Travis is a retired teacher from the Newton County School System. She can be reached at