What Am I Going to Do With 10 Trees? (And 2 Bushes?)


2014-08-07 – What am I going to do with 10 trees and two bushes?

It’s all a result of a survey I took part in given by the Arbor Day Foundation. The survey came Tuesday in the mail, but I completed it online. It asked a bunch of gimme questions, wondering whether I ever climbed a tree or sat in the shade of a tree. Of course, I have done both. It ended asking for a small contribution, which I doubled. I like trees.

My thank you gift will be 10 flowering trees and two bushes, which they will ship to me so I can plant them.

I would be happy to do that. I like trees, after all. But 10 trees? Last month I planted four trees. I’m having a hard time thinking of where I would put them.

With the four recent additions, I have 10 trees on my city lot, including five growing in the parkway (I have a corner lot, otherwise the parkway would be only one or two trees). If I really stretch it, I could plant four more trees, but that would really be too much.

Six of my trees my family planted. The rest were here when we moved it. We had a few others when we moved in, but one died, and three were growing into the garage next to the alley and had to be removed.

We had one tree that rooted itself after we moved in. It was a mulberry. I say “was” because our dog Lefty stripped the bark off the low six feet of it and killed it. A mulberry bush now grows from its roots, but the top part is entirely barren. We’re going to have it removed in the fall.

Three of our trees were planted as memorials for three of my wife’s siblings. For one sister we planted a white pine. She used to laugh at the white pines we had as Christmas trees, calling them Charlie Brown trees. But I think she would like this one. For a brother we planted a river birch; he loved fishing in the Cedar River and the trees that grew on its banks. For another sister we planted a gingko tree, her favorite.

For this sister, we also have a row of trees in the parkway. Several years ago, the city came and took down a tree in the parkway that was diseased. They said we could get a replacement from the city and, by the way, there was room for more than one. They said we could order the types of trees we wanted. This sister went every year to the city to keep our request alive: a sugar maple and a red oak.

The city didn’t deliver on its promise and she never saw them planted. But we have now planted them ourselves. We ended up with two sugar maples instead of one because of a shipment mistake.

For some years, I’ve been considering the type of tree I might want to plant for my father. I had been leaning toward planting a hydrangea bush instead of a tree. The perennial punster in him would always greet every hydrangea he encountered with a cheerful, “Hi! Drangea!”

But now, the Arbor Day Foundation has me thinking. Two of the trees they will be sending me will be redbuds. I remember planting a redbud tree with my dad when I was in kindergarten. Maybe that will be a better memory.

That will leave me nine more trees to plant . . . somewhere.

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