The tree temptations of spring …

I have a lot of grading that I must attend to—that’s part of the price you pay for teaching writing courses.

But today Audrey and I purchased two apple trees. We had two small hawthorns in the backyard, attractive trees from what I’ve read, but they have thorns and we have one grandchild and more on the way. Thorny trees and grandkids don’t seem like a good mix in the yard, so the hawthorns have come out and two apples have taken their place.

I counted one time how many trees we have in our ¼ acre regular-sized yard. The census:

Full-size mature trees:
2 Ashes (the city’s trees, they’re doomed, I know)
3 Oaks (red, I think, some native oak species)
1 soft maple

Others trees (actually, trees that we have planted since moving into the house in 2001):
1 soft maple (child of mature tree)
1 native oak (child of oak trees)
1 pin oak.
1 tulip tree.
2 trees of unknown origin, called “golden” something. Got in a package to 10 trees, their id is iffy.
6 crabapple trees
3 redbud trees
2 dogwood trees
1 cottonwood tree
1 red maple
1 weeping cherry
1 flowering plum

OK, so we’re tree crazy. It’s no wonder our yard is too shady for a vegetable garden.

I also sometimes plant trees in the streambed behind our house—mostly because the trees back there are predominantly ash, and when they all die I would rather that area not be without trees. It’s a vain effort, the deer love the salad garden I lay out for them each spring. One of the hawthorn has been put in the deer buffet (the other put in the front yare where it should not interfere much with play).

I know people who don’t have many trees, but I don’t really understand them. Sure, trees mean you have to rake, but who wants to be inside on a crisp sunny autumn day and why pay hundreds of dollars to join a gym and the eschew free exercise?

I’ve noticed lots of interesting things about the trees. Cottonwoods, which seem to grow everywhere, are hard for me to transplant. The deer eat the volunteer walnuts and oaks that I put in back, but they don’t need to bother with the cottonwoods—they die all on their own. I do have a 3-foot tall one in the yard that seems to be coming back in it’s 3rd year, so it is possible—but I have probably planted 100 cottonwoods over the years in back, with zero trees to show.

The tulip tree is a curiosity. It and the pin oak were part of the same 10-tree Arbor Foundation pack. Both look happy and healthy, but the oak is under 2 feet tall and the tuplip tree is over 8 feet tall. Interesting, I would think in the long run the oak will be a bigger, and longer-lived, tree.

I’ve also always been lucky with redbuds—have planted them where we’ve lived. My mother wanted redbuds and we planted them in the yard of the house at 7th Avenue South in Clinton, but the tops always died and the roots would send up new shoots each spring. We have one taller redbud that is blooming well, and two smaller that aren’t of “bloom” size yet, but they are both around 4 feet and I expect may bloom next spring.

Anyway, back to the grading. But somehow it’s easier to do with some new trees in the yard …



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4 responses to “The tree temptations of spring …

  1. Anne

    The oak will probably live longer, but the tulip tree may be much the larger. They are one of the tallest species in the eastern part of the country if they get to their full potential size. I don’t know how this will go in a city back yard. You may need to check on them in 50 or 100 years and find out.

  2. Golden Raintrees maybe? Mom just got two from the Arbor Day foundation, along with 8 other trees.

  3. crgardenjoe

    The “Golden Raintree” name rings a bell. I remember there were two tall trees and two shorter ones (the crabapple) and I was trying to plant the shorter ones not far from the Tulip tree, recognizing that it would grow tall (just not realizing how tall how fast). Anyway, what I thought were the two taller trees I planted in front where they would have more room. But strong evidence (their shorter stature, the fact that one bloomed this spring and is growing crabapples) suggests that I got the guide mixed up and put all three tall trees together in back.

  4. crgardenjoe

    However, I also Googled “Golden Raintree” and the results don’t look even vaguely like my two mystery trees … too bad since the actual Golden Raintree seems like an interesting beast!

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