Highs and lows at Hurley Park this season

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 18, 2019

We had a fantastic Third Annual Butterfly Release this year, the weather was perfect, the new location had plenty of room and shade, and the program was phenomenal.

The only thing that could have improved the park was some rain. Yes, I said it. We are desperate for some more, and the poor park is starting to show some severe stress. Below are some emails and questions we have received concerning the park. I thought it would be best to give an update since so many people are concerned with the weather.

Question: It is so dry in the park; everything looks rough, and will Hurley be OK?

Answer: The poor park is really suffering right now. Even though we have irrigation, it can only do so much and we are looking at higher-than-normal expenses for irrigating since we are doing it more often and frequently. The bad news is that the irrigation does not reach everywhere and we have had to hand water many of our plantings. I read earlier that Rowan County has suffered since the end of August, but for Hurley we have not had a substantial (meaning really worthwhile) rainfall since July. Even though we have had some additional rain as of late, we still need more. This can be catastrophic for our plants. There are areas where our established plantings are suffering and I have even found a few spots that are cracking due to the lack of moisture. Hurley Park is typically a moist area in many places, but this year even those areas are bone dry. We are hoping that we get some rain soon and that it will stick around for a while or our plants will continue to suffer.

Question: What are all of the holes with orange cones around them? What is going on?

Answer: Unfortunately, plants and trees do not last forever. In this case, the park guest is questioning the removal of the ornamental fruit trees above the pond area. Some trees can last thousands of years, and yet, there are many that will only survive 15-30 years. This is that case, the ornamental fruit trees are usually some of the earliest blooms, many having a wonderful fragrant smell, but their downfall is that they only last on average 18-25 years. Many of the trees we removed were already close to 30 years and were on their last limbs with many hardly producing any new growth and already showing signs of fungal/rotten areas. Fall is the best time to plant trees and with the park being so dry we decided to go ahead and remove the trees while the rest of the area was in construction mode. We have to mark the holes with the caution cones so visitors are aware of the holes in the landscape. Stay tuned to see our new installation of plantings throughout the park.

Question: I read on your brochure that you have an ornamental fruit collection. Do you ever give away the fruit or trees at your plant giveaway?

Answer: Sometimes, we do have a few “volunteer” trees come up. but most of the ornamental fruit trees we plant are grafted (one variety is grown attached to a different variety), meaning the “volunteers” are usually from the original stock. The fruit produced may not be the exact variety we are looking for. This may be a perfect plant/tree to give away to someone who doesn’t mind taking a non-grafted tree. This doesn’t happen very often, but it does on occasion. Ornamental fruit trees may still produce fruit, but that is not really what they are known for. The fruit usually drops before fully ripening and many times the fruit is pretty nasty to eat. If you really want to harvest your own fruit, I recommend growing your own fruit trees/plants. Many of the nurseries carry fruit stock but, if you want to help a good cause, the Rowan County 4-H sells fruit trees and plants twice a year (spring and fall), and their plant sale is going on right now. Check out their website here for more details: https://rowan.ces.ncsu.edu/2019/09/fall-4-h-plant-sale-2019/ . I recommend planting in the fall for the best results.

Question: I missed the Butterfly Release event this year. How can I make sure not to miss it again?

Answer: Glad you asked. We had many people say they forgot, didn’t hear or read about the event, and/or were out of town on the day of the program. My best recommendation is to get on our newsletter registry. We only send two newsletters out for the year (spring and fall). You can have it emailed or mailed to you. It will notify you of our events and activities that we hold throughout the year. Plan on the Butterfly Release Event happening again next year around the same time in October. The weather and the annual migration made it a fantastic event that we are looking forward to next year. Another way to keep up with what is going on in the park is to like us on Facebook and Instagram. We post photos of what is going on, blooming, and of course, our events.

For more information or if you have additional questions about Hurley Park, please visit: www.salisburync.gov/HurleyPark, like us on Facebook and Instagram, or call us at 704-638-4459.