Friday, May 11, 2012

Planting Trees (Things to Keep in Mind)

The world is a better places with trees in it.  Or, rather, on it.  We've all heard the speeches, celebrated Arbor Day and Earth Day by planting a new tree, and it's not a surprise to us because we know plants keep the soil in check, make the oxygen we breathe, supply the pulp to make the paper we use every day, provide shade for our yards, homes for animals...well, you get the idea!

This blog is NOT about that.  This blog, rather, is about how flippin' ugly my yard looked before I planted trees.  Mind you, there were two trees planted between the sidewalk and street since this is one of those 'HOA' neighborhoods, but they really don't produce much shade and I have yet to see a bird nesting in either the white maple or the ginkgo along the side.

Sure, as you can see from the picture, there were a few bushes out front, (and if you look really closely you'll see the tiny little red Japanese maple I planted in front of the porch, but that was only a week or so difference from when I planted the pine.) but overall the yard was one big sparse lot of ugly patchy grass (as you can also see from the photo).

Almost the very first week after we moved in my mother bought us a little Redbud tree.  It's out in the backyard, looked pretty darn sketchy for the first whole summer, lost nearly all of it's leaves and we were worried it would die over the winter.  It looked like this when it bloomed, and now has a bunch of pretty little heart shaped leaves.  I think it spent most of last summer laying in roots.  It even produced seed pods, which my mother's tree I planted over 10 years ago didn't want to do until at least it was 5 years in the ground.

The second tree to go in was the Colorado Spruce that you see in the photo above.  My mother bought this one for us also, picked it out at Lowe's and immediately planted it.  A few weeks later I went to a nearby garden center (Strader's) where I bought the Japanese Maple.  It's been off and on sketchy last year (the leaves went from red to green) and this year it's sort of droopy, we're thinking because of the early spring and various frosts which I'll probably need to watch it in the next years to make sure I cover it during frosts later on.  You can see a picture of it in my post about landscaping.

And finally, the newest arrivals to my household are two beautiful little Blue Spruces.  You can see them to the right of the Colorado.

Now I get to the real reason for this blog.  You need to know your pine trees.  I haven't had one problem around the Colorado since I bought it, that includes trimming the grass around it and mulching around it.  I really didn't think I'd have a problem with two little blue trees either.

In fact, when I went to the store to buy them, I picked them up, put them in my shopping cart, and got so many complements as I finished doing the rest of my shopping that I was starting to worry someone might stalk me out to my car and take them (a lady at the register threatened!)

That afternoon I bought planting soil, mulch, and went out in the chilly air that day and dug my holes and planted the trees, looking at how much better the yard will be when we have nice tall trees.  Well, I actually had another reason for planting them where I did...we had neighborhood kids playing football up and down our side lawn and they were killing our grass.  Not only that but the side of our house is pretty butt-ugly.  You'd think they'd put at least one extra window on the side, but NO!

Later that evening a rash started to break out along my hands and up my arms.  Come to find out, certain people are actually allergic to pine tree sap, and maybe also to their needles.  I found this out the hard way of course, and had to suffer with nasty little water-blister bumps along my arms for a few days until they finally settled down after enough medicine was applied.

So.... the reason for this blog is to really keep in mind what trees you're planting, and are you allergic to them?  If so...don't plant them!  Plant what you know - did you have maples in your yard growing up?  Then go with that.  Go with what you know.  I was never around pine trees more than for a little while here and there at my aunt's house, (none of my other relatives had pines) so I never got to find out the hard way.

But DO plant trees.  These new subdivision things that are popping up everywhere take out every single mature and beautiful tree, plow them down, plant boring trees out by the curb and leave everything else so barren that I'm afraid one day the neighborhood will be taken out by a tornado just because there's nothing to block the wind!  And don't get me started on noise...nothing is blocked without a nice wall of trees!

So there's my tree-hugger speech for the day.  Enjoy!

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