Monday, May 9, 2011
One of the first things we wanted to do after purchasing the property was to plant trees. We went about it whole hog, nothing was going to deter us from planting vegetation. We were living in the city on the West side of the Cascade mountains, the property was on the East....did that make any difference to us? Nah, we were going to plant trees and they were going to grow!! We got zillion pots, ordered some supposedly fast growing birch, poplars and quaking aspens and started growing them in our teeny-tiny backyard. We babied those things like crazy until they were gorgeous and full of leaves. Finally, replanting time....we were so happy with ourselves, our own little arbor day foundation. Since we lived about 90 miles from the property, we only got to visit once a week, so our first trip back after planting was quite a shock....the trees we had lovingly grew in our postage stamp-sized backyard were completely denuded. We hadn't counted on the numerous deer munching away at our poor little trees.
Our next excursion in tree planting was to plant ponderosa pines, those massive towering trees were sure to provide a windbreak. We found a tree farm about 30 miles away from us that has a warehouse tree sale in late winter. We were really going to plant some trees this time. We decided to plant 1000 trees, how hard could it be? Never mind that we now had a newborn who breastfed almost constantly and it was freaking cold and windy at the property! We decided we would need the truck AND trailer to carry all the trees, after all, 1000 trees took up a lot of room, right? We also brought our SUV so we could set up the portable baby swing so the baby would have some comfort while we planted. Well, reality is far different and we got quite a surprise when they handed us a package the size of a duffle bag. Huh? We said 1000 trees! Oh, that's 1000 trees? At this point, our 2 rigs plus a 8 foot trailer were looking rather ridiculous.....7 years later and we're still chuckling at that! We started planting, my hubby would dig in his shovel, move the ground forward, and I would bend down and pop the seedling in. Very simple, right? 1000 times? Hmmmm, maybe we were a little exuberant about planting trees, bending over started getting old, as did running back and forth to check on the baby, change the CD so she didn't have to listen to the Muppets over and over again. Add in diaper changes and nursings, not all 1000 trees made it in the ground that weekend....or the weekend after, or the one after that, but eventually they all got in. Our biggest mistake, though, was forgetting the difference in climates, the the property is high desert and the lack of any precipitation from June through October. We realized we would need to provide water to all those trees, so my hubby made a watering system that fit in the back of the pickup and one of us walked along while the other drove the truck from tree to tree to water.
All our hard work was wasted, almost every tree died due to lack of water despite our best efforts. Did that deter us? Nope! The next year we planted 2000!
We also decided to plant some trees in a 'healing ditch' where the trees are laid at a 45 degree angle, close together. The idea is to dig them up later on in the season to re-plant them. We did fine the first year.....
But we kinda forgot them when we did the same thing the next year....today they are the best growing trees we've planted, unfortunately, they are on the South side of the garden and will block the sun someday if they don't kill each other first by crowding.
Here's the trees we haven't killed .......yet.