meet my “tree kids”

Sharbark Hickory (Carya ovata) planted in 2013 – came from Ferguson Forestry Centre in Kemptville, Ont.

“The best time to plant a tree was thirty years ago. The next best time is now.” ~anon

The couple of acres where I live on the banks of the Round Hill River are fairly well treed. The woods are predominantly Sugar Maple and Black Cherry, with some Red Maple, Paper Birch, Yellow Birch, American Beech, Ash and Alder. There are also some old Black Locust trees around the house (they would have been planted decades ago).

When I came here in 2010, I decided to do a bit of experimenting with trees of the Carolinian forests which are more tyipcally found in the southern part of Ontario. I also wanted to see a few more of the trees native to Nova Scotia, but not found on this property, such as Eastern Hemlock and White Pine. This is my fourteenth summer here and I’m happy to say that the trees I’ve planted over these years are doing quite well. Some were grown from seed (Common Hackberry), and some were purchased locally (Hazelnut). Quite a few came as 1 or 2 year old trees from Nutcracker Nursery in Maskinongé, Québec (Bur Oak, American Chestnut, American Sycamore, Slippery Elm, White Oak, Witchhazel). A few came with me from Ontario, purchased from the G. Howard Ferguson Forestry Centre in Kemptville, when I was visiting family back home (the Shagbark Hickory trees and some Spruce trees). A couple were gifted to me by a friend (the Butternut trees).

One of several American chestnut trees (Castanea dentata) from Nutcracker Nursery in Quebec.

All of the trees are getting large enough that I can easily spot them when I’m walking around the property. Some are waist to shoulder high now. A few are much taller. The Shagbark Hickory that I planted in 2013 are now about 9 and 12 feet tall. One of the Butternut trees, in spite of being run over by a truck that was making a delivery here, is now about 8 feet tall and really branching out.

Butternut tree (Juglans cinerea) – gift from a friend who grew them from nuts – now 8 feet tall.

The American Sycamores that were about a foot tall when they came from Nutcracker Nursery are now taller than me and have huge top leaves. They are really starting to grow now!

American Sycamore (Platanus occidentalis) – there are 4 and have such huge top leaves.

So are the Bur Oak which I planted as I missed seeing them after leaving Ontario — they are one of my favourite trees.

All of this to say that I am feeling quite thrilled to see all of my “tree kids” doing so well. Many of the trees were started off in pots in the garden where I could give them water and protection from browsing Deer or other creatures that might kill them before them got a good start in life. Now most of them are planted around the property and are getting beyond the size where they have to be protected. I know I won’t live long enough to see most of them get to be very large. I would love to see the Shagbark Hickory develop their shaggy bark, but that’s unlikely to happen before I’m gone. However, it’s still very pleasing to watch the change in these trees from year to year. They really grew a lot in the summer rains this year! Grow, kids, grow!! 🙂

Bur Oak (Quercus macrocarpa) – a favourite species – now about 4 feet tall and getting lots of leaves

2 thoughts on “meet my “tree kids””

  1. I love that you have diversified your tree species with new natives ro your property and with others which should be preserved. I have always liked Shagbark Hickories. There was a huge Shagbark Hickory in Chatham, Ontario that was actually used by the original surveyor back in the 1700s to lay out land claims along the Thames River. As far as I know it is still there. The city protected it a number of years ago due to its historical significance.

    About 12 years ago a friend gifted me with a volunteer American Sycamore that had planted itself in a bucket. She needed to use the bucket so I re-planted the 12″ seedling at the top of the hill behind the house at the edge of the property next to the dry stream bed that has water when it rains. Well, it is obviously happy there because it literally shot up and is now at least 50 ft tall, probably more, healthy:-) and happy. It is quite beautiful and one of my favourite trees :-).

    Around the same time we also planted a Georgia Oak, an endangered species that only grows in the Appalachian foothills of Georgia, on our side lawn for shade. It is a smaller fast growing member of the White Oak family that is extremely hardy and it too has grown very well and has probably reached its full height now of 35′ – a perfect size for iits location. It is also a pretty tree and I love the fact that we are helping protect an endangered species. I plan to collect the acorns when it finally starts producing them – around 15 years of age – and arranging for them to find new and suitable homes as well.

    So, I am very pleased to meet your ‘tree children’ and appreciate the care and consideration you have given to their planting and their growth :-).

    1. Kathryn – so cool to hear about your ‘tree children’ as well! I knew Sycamore grew quickly, but amazing that yours is so tall already. I wanted to see if they would grow well here in Nova Scotia and, so far, so good. The Shagbark also seems to like it here. I did try to grow Pawpaw from seed and they grew to be about a year old, but then they all died during the second winter. All you can do is experiment and see which trees are happy. Anyhow, nice to grow some of the less common or even rare species!

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