Sunday, May 13, 2012

#75 - Arbor Day, a few weeks late

There's a saying that the best time to plant a tree is 10 years ago and the second best time is today.  I moved into my house 11 years ago and have meant every spring to plant a tree in front.  This is the year it got done.  I originally was going to make it a boulevard tree - mostly to make mowing the front yard easier - however, the city where I live is currently experiencing some controversy over boulevard trees and who can plant them and what species the tree needs to be.  This discussion is not something that I wanted to be come involved in, so I decided to just put a tree into my front yard instead.
Waiting for planting
I did lots of thinking about what type of tree I wanted.  I cut ornamental flowering trees and fruit trees out of the list fairly quickly.  I don't want to deal with picking fruit at exactly the right time, having other people enter my yard to pick fruit because I haven't had time to pick it yet, having squishy fruit on the ground, or dealing with people coming along and cutting flowering branches off a tree that I don't want pruned.  (I've dealt with all of these situations in the past - not fun!)  Then next "category" to go were trees that are common in this area.  While I love them, I can see them walking around town or going out to a friend's house.  I also decided that I wanted a TREE - meaning a large shade tree, not a quick-growing windbreak tree or an oversized shrub.  After much thought, I decided on a bur oak - a tree that I associate with some good memories.  Though they aren't common in my area of the world, they will grow here, are highly drought-tolerant, and meet all of my qualities mentioned above.

Yesterday, I was visiting my parents' farm, and, late in the afternoon, my dad and I went out to dig a tiny oak that he had found in the old cow pasture.  I didn't take photos of that part of the tree-planting process, but I want to mention that it was surrounded by violets (one of my favorite spring flowers), so I'm hoping I might get the bonus of some volunteer violets next spring.  This tree could well be the child or grandchild of an oak that I remember growing about 50 feet away when I was little.  That old tree was the site of quite a bit of play time for me growing up - one of the limbs was near the ground and it had a little niche that I used to store my acorn "tea cups" in.
Starting to dig

Today, I dug the hole in my front yard for my little tree's new home.  It's in the ground, and I'm hoping for the best.  It looks so tiny right now, but I can squint and imagine that in 50 years it will be providing shade, homes for birds and squirrels, and acorn teacups for some other child to find on the sidewalk.
One tree against the dandelions!