Late yesterday afternoon, I started to work on the corner by the shed and realized there was an awful lot of dead debris caught in the branches of the nearby arborvitae. I grabbed on to a branch, as high as I could reach, and began shaking it hard. Tons of stuff fell to the lower branches, so I just worked my way down until most of it was on the ground beneath the tree. I worked on down the line, shaking branch after branch, tree after tree, until I had a huge pile of dead needles at the bottom. I raked out what I could get to with the rake, then did the shaking thing again.....more dead material on the ground. I ended up on my hands and knees, reaching under the lower branches to pull the piles of litter out from underneath. I'm surprised the lower branches didn't break from the weight of it during rainy periods! It was very dry and dusty now, so not the least bit heavy. There's still a lot under there, but looking at what I got out, it has to be much less stressful for the trees.
I filled two 33-gallon bags and a garbage can. I got the corner rounded off and cleared out, too. I have a large planter to paint and set in the corner to be filled with something pretty (I don't know what, yet). One more job to mark off my to-do list.