New Spring Traditions

A.V. Walters–

Today was the big Spring Sale at our local Conservation District. We went, list in hand, and were able to secure almost everything on the list, 75 trees. Today, and maybe tomorrow, too, we’ll be busy planting. The trees are bare-root. That means that they ship, dormant, and naked. The best thing one can do for them is to get them into the ground as soon as possible. (Well, at least as soon as practicable, since I think we’ll eat breakfast first.) It was a nippy 23 degrees last night, so we’ll let the sun warm things up a bit first.

Some of these trees will be planted back in the forest. Once in, they will be pretty much on their own. I don’t know how we could water them on any regular basis, without carrying water with us in jugs (which we’ll be doing today.) The forest needs some filling in, and diversity, so we’ll be planting oaks (red and white), hemlock (for the north facing slopes), butternut and shagbark hickory.

Out front, in the low areas, we have red osier dogwood and flowering dogwood. We’ll be putting in two windbreak hedges of hazelnuts—that alone takes up a full third of the trees to be planted. We picked trees that provide diversity, flowers for the bees, wildlife habitat and some with nuts, for us. Of course, it’ll be years before any of these bear; at this point they are really just short sticks. It’s like planting pear trees—which are notoriously slow to reach production. (They say you plant pears for your heirs.) Mostly we’re planting for the land. I’ll be curious to see how they do.

It’s just a few days late for Earth Day. We’re thinking that this can become an annual tradition.

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