Archives for category: trees

I was afraid I’d gotten a stick instead of a tree! But apparently all the tree wanted was two sunny, over-60° days in a row.

And sufficiently unto the day are the deer thereof, say I.

This is a round from the Norway Maple I cut down two years ago. I stacked it on the stump so I can put flowerpots on it. In the wet over the last few days, the bark came away from the trunk, to reveal….

What? Egg sacs? Cocoons? I don’t know! I’ll have to monitor them to see.

NOTE This is something else I would never have seen without the daily discipline of finding something to post from the iPad!

The Northern Catalpa has sweet scented big flowers, or so I read. It’s apparently also messy, and a “weed tree,” much like its competitor, the Norway Maple I’d love to girdle if and when this tree gets big enough!

I planted the Catalpa such that its shadow is thrown north onto the property next door. That doens’t matter, because they’re a business with a lawn, and never a garden.


For a certain stratum of Maine society, Fedco tree pick-up day is practically a religious holiday, and Fedco is their Mecca. Lots of trucks in the field that served as the lot. My neighbor and I made it in early; above is the as yet unravished hazelnut section, with the trees tagged and planted, or rather embedded, in damp sawdust.

I wanted hazelnut trees as a small step toward an edible landscape, a polyculture; because hazelnuts, being smallish, do not steal sun or endanger the roof; because nuts pack a lot of nutrition; and because hazelnuts are cold hardy — even as the Gulf of Maine warms, the winter is still something to worry about.

In another part of the warehouse, here are some people:


Of course, planting trees does imply thinking more than a few months ahead…

Not my garden, I’m glad, at least so far as the light goes, to say. The squash on those mounds would be a lot happier if they weren’t spending half their lives in shadow!

I’ve been thinking ill of trees, lately. The trees that will steal light from that squash are the ubiquitous Norway Maples that were planted all over New England after Dutch Elm disease. Now, I can see vistas of tall, elegant trees in parks and in public spaces. But it’s hard for me to see a good reason to have messy, ugly, and disease-ridden Norway Maples anywhere. But it’s especially hard for me to see tall trees on property, exactly because of what the picture above shows. I need to read a book on lawns, but the ideal image at right seems to show the mindset at work. These trees were planted for the same bad reasons that lawns are.

I mean, come on. Where are the vegetables? The energy those trees take should go to food.

Our ideal for trees on the property would make more sense if the trees were short, so they didn’t steal so much light, and if they were edible: Fruits, or nuts. The exceptions would be trees that don’t shadow gardens; they would at least contribute leaves for banking and mulching. If you want a cool house, insulate, which you should be doing anyhow. A tall tree isn’t really fit for that purpose.

Every so often I still encounter something my father must have done around the property for the first time; the rope that prevents this branch from splitting off the lilac’s trunk is one such thing I only noticed today. That rope has been exerting its tension for fifteen years, at least.

Before the lilacs, the crocus, the forsythia, and then the iris.

And after the lilacs, the roses.

Not to anticipate.

Although the Norway Maple blesses us by shedding leaves that we can use to bank the house with, the Norway maple curses our soil with its gnarly roots, so close to the surface, and curses the property with the mess it makes: Here, a fallen branch taken down by the wind that followed after the snow storm.

And even the leaves are a mixed blessing: Mildew always spikes in my tomato patch after the Norway Maple leaves — hideously discolored with cancerous-looking black spots — begin to fall.

I cut one down; I should cut the other down!