You’ve probably heard the old saying that “You can see the forest for the trees’? When it came to the house we lived in growing up and our father’s tree obsession, you couldn’t cut the yard for the trees. No joke.
I like all types of trees, shrubs, decorative vines, and flowers. I wish we had more in our yard where we currently live. But when we were teenagers, our yard was a small woods in progress, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. However, every tree needed to be mowed around with a push-mower. Push-mowers in the 70s were a LOT heavier than those we have today.
Our yard was an obstacle course filled with rows and rows of trees. When we first moved into our home in Pleasant Hill (1969), my parents ordered a lot of shrubs and trees from the Michigan Bulb Company. One of the trees was a silver maple (Acer saccharinum) and was only three inches tall. He said that when he planted it, he didn’t expect it to live. Last time I went to Alabama and drove past (2017), the tree was still there.
Since most of the other plants they ordered didn’t survive, he searched the woods behind the house and pulled up saplings and planted them in the yard. He pulled up several yellow pines one fall and I asked if I could plant one. He gave me one and I planted it in my sandbox near the concrete brick foundation where a smaller version of our house had been before they bought it. He said that the tree wouldn’t grow because of the sand. Some years later, the tree was over twenty feet tall.
After he moved to Murfreesboro, TN, and bought a new home, he did the same thing, boxing in his property with lines of trees.
Other than the hassle of mowing around them, I loved how they bettered the landscape of our yard. Two large yellow pines were ideal places to climb whenever I played hide-and-seek from my sister. She never found me, as I was a good thirty to forty feet off the ground.
The large variety of trees was also an advantage when I reared caterpillars. Sometimes I even found species I’d never seen before, too.
And for those worried about the excess CO2 emissions, plant MORE trees and shrubs. They use carbon dioxide and release oxygen back into the atmosphere. A win-win situation, isn’t it? Trees are air filters, too, and let’s face it, a shade tree is a nice place to sit under during the summer.
Until next time ….