Gardener's Grapevine 2011.06.08

Written by David Green.

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.

  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

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