Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Trees and flowers




It has been a glorious autumn. I've been out walking and taking pictures of flowers that have hung on to their beauty well into October and even November. It is such a treat to have color and light at a time of year when nighttime is getting longer and longer and daytime seems as if it is retreating.
On the seventh of November, I went to Veterans Park to help with the tree planting. This time, we planted twenty trees. It was a beautiful and sunshiny day for tree planting. As you can see from the condition of my boot (pictured above), it was also a very muddy day. Having to move all of that mud with a shovel made tree planting into quite the aerobic exercise! The mud was heavy and sticky! Grand Island is well known for its clay soil. As I was shoveling mud on top of the tree root, I was thinking about all of the nice pottery I could design from that clay! Not being a potter seemed like only a minor impediment to this plot that I was hatching.
Nevertheless, the trees got planted quickly. A good number of the volunteers who came to Veterans Park were well experienced in the art of tree planting. We have been well trained in our new skill by Rochelle Smith, who is a certified arborist and a horticulture instructor at Genesee Community College. Each time we plant, we learn something new about both planting and caring for trees.
The new thing that we learned this time is that the trunks of new trees have to be wrapped. We wrapped our new trees in cardboard. The reason for this is that, when the deer come out in the spring, they have the urge to get rid of all of that velvety stuff that grows on their antlers during the winter. The way that they do that is by rubbing their antlers on trees. Unfortunately, some of the trees that they choose are delicate baby trees. This action causes the trees to be stripped of their bark. As a result, the baby trees die. Rochelle said that we learned about this problem through experience. Some of our trees died for that reason. So we have learned to wrap the trees to protect the bark.
Rochelle also told me that we planted both flowering trees and shade trees. The plan is for Veterans Park to have shady areas for people who sit down and watch the Little League baseball games. Also, having a whole bunch of trees planted closely together will mean less lawn mowing for the people who work at the park.
More trees will make the park prettier and they are good for the environment, too!
The next tree planting will be in early May and I'll have more tree stories and pictures then.

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