16 October 2007

Returning to a whiter shade of pale

No, this isn't about my fading sun tan.

We are getting trees. When we first moved into our house, we had big, glorious and grand Elm trees on the boulevard. Not any plants or bushes in the yard because things were so shady, but we had trees.

I love trees. Growing up, my dad planted numerous trees in our yard. Meanwhile, we had neighbors who didn't want any trees marring their property. I don't get it. Currently, we have a neighbor who detests trees. He wants his yard to look like a park, just grass. Nothin' but grass.

About four years ago, the city came through and dug up the streets. Seriously ripped up everything. Neighbors were all concerned about the beautiful trees that lined the street. The City said that they would have their contractors be very, very careful, but some of the roots might be disturbed.

Uh huh. That's an understatement.

A short time later and the city had a red line around three trees in front of our house because they were dying. Dutch Elm disease or something. Yeah, right. Soon the trees were gone and we were left with stumps.

My yard, which had been completely shade and didn't allow anything to grow, was now a hot desert. I started gardening shortly after my kids were born and planted a bunch of full-sun perennials in the front (which faces due south). This was the third summer for some of the plants and things were just getting to a point that I actually liked the smattering of things growing in my yard.

As an aside, I planted an English-type garden with an assortment of plants that are falling all over each other and not respecting each others' personal space. I have to resist the urge to separate them and establish some sort of order and discipline amongst the flora. My father was big into Japanese gardening and this type of thing would've given him a heart attack. Too messy and random. Kind of goes against my nature, but I do like how it is starting to look.

Just when I got my sun loving plants, after a little trial and error, pretty much arranged the way I like them, the city decides to put in new trees. They were supposed to do it awhile back, but never did. Our next door neighbor was poised to go buy some trees himself and plant them. Now we have been notified that we are getting "Emerald Lustre Norway Maples."

Not to be an ingrate since I love trees and can't wait to get them, but a MAPLE? We went from an elm to a maple? Some of the trees my father planted in our yard were maples. A big, propeller-laden, rooty Silver Maple took over the back yard and a smaller, but still good-sized purple-red (Japanese?) Maple in the front yard. I love maple trees, as long as they are in the neighbor's yard.

I looked on the internet to find out more about the type of maples we were getting. It's on the top ten list of trees to avoid! Argh! There are pros and cons of the tree, but some of the bad things are a nasty root system, dense shade and limb breakage. The city says they want to plant a variety of trees so that diseases like Dutch Elm don't wipe out all the trees in the city in one fell swoop, but I think the real reason they picked these trees is that they got them on clearance at Bob's House of Trees.

But, beggars can't be choosers and I am still thrilled we are finally getting some trees. It will take awhile for these monsters to buckle the sidewalks and kill all my plants. By that time, the city will come through and dig up the streets again and we will be back on the list to get some new trees.


Ray from MN said...

The greatest of all trees, other than the American Elm is the Japanese Whitespire Birch, a borer resistant variety discovered as a natural variety at the University of Wisconsiin in a grove of otherwise dying birches.

nese Birch is regarded as one of the most pest resistant white-barked birches. The leaves and shape of the Japanese Birch is very close to the paper birch. It must be grown from cuttings or from tissue culture of the original tree in Madison, Wisconsin to ensure borer resistance. The cultivar `Whitespire Senior' is micro-propagated from the original tree. The tree tolerates slightly alkaline soil conditions. Birch are found most commonly mixed with white cedar or arborvitae and hemlock in low lying areas in the upper Midwest. As with most Birch the Whitespire Birch loves wet ground and full sun. Given enough water and fertilizer a Japanese Birch can grow 2-4' per year.

Inexpensive because they are available in two foot or so seedlings. But you and your children will be rewarded.

Too bad they don't have red leaves in the fall, but otherwise perfect.

Anonymous said...

English gardens, with all the herbs and fragrant blossoms, do have a tendency to over-step their boundries--especially on the south side--where they get more sunshine and have a tendency to proliferate.
But they are so beautiful--and a causual overgrown look--well I like it1

I once had a silver maple--the name sounds great--it was in my front lawn, and the roots were close to the surface--I pulled it when it was still young--and replaced it with a small-leaf tila linden tree. The linden is my favorite--only problem--they are extremely slow growing--they tolerate pollution, bugs and keep a neat and tidy triangular shape. There is a variety of Linden's that do grow a bit faster--however.

I put in a red-leaf maple last Spring, it has the most beautiful bright red-gold fall color. The roots also go deeper into the soil--I would highly suggest one--as it is growing fast, with no problems.