photo: white-marked tussock moth (Hemerocampa leucostigma)
White-marked tussock moth
(Hemerocampa leucostigma
) – I was picking dead leaves off the geraniums on our deck when I came across these vivid caterpillars. They grow into drab, brown and gray moths, and our butterfly book calls them “a serious pest of many deciduous trees,” but they are strikingly beautiful caterpillars. After taking their pictures, I let them be. (Update: After some more reading on the web, I learned that they may be a serious pest in the southern United States, but not here.)

In the afternoon, I chiselled away at the girdling roots of our sugar maple. I noticed yesterday that the leaves looked pale, and decided that I hadn’t done enough
to help it. Carefully I chipped away at the roots, with a hand chisel so as not to cut the trunk. They had almost completely encircled the tree, embedded an inch and a half into its flesh. Now that the strangling roots are gone, I hope to see the tree push outward – and turn a deeper green – soon.