Gardener's Grapevine 2011.06.08
Last weekend we traveled to Cincinnati for our nephew’s graduation. One nephew graduated from high school and his brother from college. Graduation always makes me think of the progression of time. When you think of 10 or 20 years it seems like forever, but when it’s over it seemed to fly by. This is something that is of extreme importance when planning gardens, yards, or even choosing a tree.
Some trees are so slow growing that if you need shade you may be dead before it matures. Oaks are beautiful, there is a fabulous specimen in front of Eric and Mary Johnson’s home. It has to be well over 100 years old. It would take two people holding hands to encircle it. Last weekend many beautiful old trees were destroyed in our town. There were two trees that fell across from the church that had to be around 100 years old. It left a very bare area with no shade to the home there at all.
Another example of longevity is at the cemetery. It is so beautiful with the long trunks of the oaks and maples towering over our loved ones. I enjoy walking the cemetery paths and wondering about who these people were and what they contributed to our community.
A property can only support so many trees and keep them healthy to reach their full potential. Many people plant trees in their yard without looking to the future to plan out where it will be when it’s mature. This is why you see trees and bushes that are too tight to the house. The roots and branches can cause some major damage to foundations and siding. What may seem appropriate when a tree is in its infancy can be wrong in the mature state.
When picking a tree or bush you must consider many of the same things that you consider when choosing flowers. Location, mature width and height, if it flowers or not, which zone it will grow in, how much sunlight it needs, if it is a fruit tree will it produce what you desire or be nonbearing, and how fast it grows and need to be considered.
Some people plant fast growing trees to provide shade, which is great except they tend to be willowy and get damaged easily in storms. It is usually a good idea to mix both so when the rapid growers come apart in a storm, the slower growers are mature and can take their place.
Have you ever notice how people tend to purchase a home and tear out the landscaping not long after? This is usually due to a desire for a cleaner and fresher look, or if the landscaping is overgrown and removal is the only answer. Mature landscaping can make a property look distinguished if a good plan has been followed. Unfortunately, most owners don’t think of what it will look like in 20 years.
Trees and bushes give so much to our environment and are well worth the effort. When you see a tree felled in a storm it should make you sad; it took years to mature and will take years to replace. Plant a tree…just put it away from your home.
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