Some Random Thoughts

Winter is a good time to plan for spring tree care activities – it is less hectic than waiting to do it in the “heat” of the busy season in the spring. Planning ahead is a good thing.

Plant native species whenever possible, and avoid planting invasive, non-native species at all costs. Invasives crowd out native plants and generate all sorts of problems for a home landscape, not to mention possible endangerment of a whole neighborhood or community landscape.

Some non-native trees are acceptable in the urban environment, but check them out carefully, with information from experts, before investing time and money. One of my favorites is the Japanese Zelkova. Zelkova is closely related to the elms, but is resistant to Dutch elm disease, and does not have many unfavorable attributes such as invasiveness. It has good pollution, wind, and drouth tolerance. Leaves are dark green and held late into the fall; but they do not have very good fall color. Zelkova has a nice vase-like shape, with a high branching habit, making it useful where low branching is undesirable. Japanese Zelkova; give it a looksee.

Some native trees are undesirable in urban situations: cottonwood, silver maple, boxelder, catalpa, black locust, mulberries, white and green ash, Osage orange, paw paw, and persimmon do not make good yard trees. Even black walnut (our most valuable timber tree) does not make for a good yard tree, but may be OK in a landscape situation where mowing is not required and nut production is desired.

A fast growing tree is not always the best choice. Remember: A tree that grows fast, goes downhill fast. Longer lived trees, with a moderate growth rate are usually the best choice for the long haul.

Make a list now, of things to do in the spring, and prioritize them. Write them down and pin them on a bulletin board or post on the fridge. Don’t let your list get buried under the kid’s “masterpieces.”

Want to expand your interest in trees beyond your home landscape? There are many opportunities for community involvement in tree care. Contact your local tree board or community volunteer coordinator (if you have one) to learn who to contact. Or, contact us through theĀ  MCFC website; or contact a forester at a local Conservation Department office. There are lots of ways to get involved. You can even e-mail me (as noted below), and I’ll try to steer you to someone in your locale who can help you get involved.

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