The Tale of the Trees, concluded

What I had imagined as one more post on the things growing in our yard for Thursday has grown considerably. However, after the discussion of bushes and shrubs, here and here, and of our front trees (ashes, sigh, and maple) and the western side (mostly), I have gone in imagination around the house to the north, our back yard.

Our “new” fruitless pear tree, looking west across our back yard.

In the center of the back is where we put the original fruitless pear tree, the one that died in the vicious arctic snap a few years ago. The year before its demise, Janet had decided she liked the blossoms and the relatively small size of that tree, so we bought another and put it to the eastern side of the back yard, where it still stands, having grown tall and somewhat shady (the creeping Charlie really enjoys the newfound relative shadiness of the back yard). I think it turns ten years old in 2012. Just in time for the end of the world, right?

It was supposed to be identical to the other fruitless pear, but this one has a somewhat different shape overall (taller and more slender), produces more vivid white blossoms in spring, and has definite small fruits that just donʼt mature or grow into anything but small blobs of brown. The other one never showed any signs of producing any kind of fruit. The new/living pear has started to broaden out this year, improving its shadiness.

One issue I have realized. When we first started planting bushes and trees, maybe twenty years ago, probably a little less, I was very nervous and very diligent and cautious about digging the holes just the right size (according to the directions on the little plant instruction tabs they usually have spiked into the pot) and depotting the rootballs with exaggerated care and tenderness. More recently, I have gotten more callous and quick about the whole planting process. And so far, the newer plants and trees have done better than the ones I so carefully followed the instructions on. Of course, now I do know the basic principles pretty well, so I donʼt have to read and think about the digging or hole-size much. However, what used to take all morning (or all day) to accomplish, is now whipped through in an hour or less — even multiple plants. I am thinking in particular about our two new lilacs on the east. We havenʼt put in a new tree for a long while.

The Greenspire Linden, looking south from the fence toward the house (the satellite dishes show up clearly). The trunkguard I write about is visible at the very bottom of the trunk.

Three years ago, after a year or two of consideration and research, we decided to buy one more tree for the back yard (one more, at least for now). We purchased a really sickly greenspire linden (sadly, I think, at Gasser). It stood about six feet tall (maybe only five; it seems as if I can recall looking over it once I got it in the ground). I do remember that I tried to be careful planting it, as this was a tree that will if all goes well, grow to seventy-five feet tall (a bit much for our backyard, perhaps, but then we should be gone, either from this world or at least this house, by the time that has happened, thirty years hence). It also seemed to lean decidedly in one direction (toward our house as I planted it), so I tried to adjust for that in positioning the rootball in the soil/hole. It still seemed to slant southwards at the house, so like several of its predecessors/older treekin, the linden got staked and tied to pull it upright and offer support in the gusty winds.

The home-devised “tree stake“ with rotted, green nylons still attached, between the two new lilac bushes.

We have some rubber trunkguards that we have put around the base of every tree while small, keeping the rabbits at bay. Nothing fancy or four feet tall like the pros put around tree trunks, but evidently effective. But we have no good stakes. Instead I bought a steel cornerpost with holes in it that I drive into the ground with a hammer (the top is considerably bent and distorted from the pounding), and we tie the tree to this support with old pantyhose (not mine, I assure you). The nylons usually last about two years before, green and fragile, they rot to pieces and must be replaced (or else the tree is strong enough to stand on its own and the stake goes away to await the next tree). The linden is still wearing its rubber trunkguard, and although it still looks kind of undernourished, it definitely has grown (Janet rather to the contrary on that issue). She is wrong, however, as the tree proved.

I had used two nylons to tie the tree toward the north and adjusted the tension and position on both over the years. However, back in June when I went out to mow, I discovered that the stake mysteriously had been pulled from the ground and was standing by the tree, leaning on one of its branches. The tree had grown enough to do that over the course of a week. So I just cut the nylons, leaving one bit wedged into a crotch where the branch had grown so tightly (and so significantly higher) that a little piece of nylon was forever left in the joint that had closed around it.

The linden doesnʼt give much shade yet, but we have hopes for the future. Then again, thatʼs the whole point of planting things, especially trees — hope for the future.

And (so far) that actually completes the tour of our bushes, shrubs and trees (I have skipped Janetʼs movable pots of annual flowers). Now I will actually have to invent some new topic to write about next. I wonder what it will be…

©2010 John Randolph Burrow, Magickal Monkey Enterprises, Ltd, S.A.

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