Thursday, January 28, 2010

On the Subject of Trees

Melanie said that we should be sure to post some notes about what we have learned about the planting of Trees. When we arrived, we were gung ho to plant Trees. Richard has planted a considerable number of Indigenous Varieties from the Missouri Department of Conservation around the property. That seemed relatively easier.

Our House sits off by itself with little protection of Trees. From the Get Go, we could see clearly that Trees as shelter and protection for the House are definitely needed. The Drive almost serves as a "funnel" so the Wind can blow down through here almost as a gale. Plus, we had and still have designs for an Orchard. We have made some good progress on the latter, but have had challenges. Soil close to the House seems on the order of "construction fill". It's a poor start for Trees.

We found it easy to go full throttle on Trees. They take a while to grow and they are long lasting. In moving to the Farm, Richard and I were turning 60; it seems one experiences a kind of unspoken urgency as they decades go on.

Plus, I have distinct memories of the House where I grew up. When we moved in 1951, that New Brick House stood proudly all by itself. In the Summer, it was hotter than a Biscuit. In the Winter, those outside walls were as cold as a refrigerator.

My Mother and Father planted Trees over the Decades. The House now sits in a lovely sanctuary of Shelter. It is cool in the Summer even with minimal use of Air Conditioning. I never would have believed that was possible. The House is comfortable in the Winter. But those Trees also present some challenges with Leaves, Seeds, Sticks. Homeowners have a lot to ponder in our choices.

We should plant Trees right away. Right? But wait, is there more?

When we moved in to our Little House here on Butterfly Hill Farm, we didn't really know all that we needed to. We probably never will. But we knew far less then than we do now. Looking back over these 1st almost 3 years, it is a good idea to live on a property for 2-3 years to study the place, see what it needs, and seek out options that will likely work. Some Questions have emerged:

What are the Wind and Sun Patterns across the Seasons? What kind of Soil is present? Does the Soil need amendments? What Trees will do best by Soil Type, Shelter, Hardiness Zone? What Indigenous varieties will do best?

Diversity is always good in Nature. People in our Culture tend to plant mostly the "same". If a challenge comes along, they'll lose it all. We got over that approach a long time ago.

We are currently watching some of the Pines in our area as they become susceptible to disease and die. That is not a pretty sight. We know that Emerald Ash Borer is likely to become an issue. While we love Ashes, we are not likely to plant them here.

I won't say that we have our plan completely in place even yet. But we are getting closer. And that feels good. A little patience has rewards.

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