Tag Archives: tree

Tree Swallow

Some tree swallows have taken up residence in a nesting box in my landscape.Such beautiful birds and wonderful acrobats in flight. I see them collecting insects in flight often when I’m out running on the trail. Took a peek (or a “beak”) in the nesting box to look at the nestlings………..

How many do you count? I see four.......

How many do you count? I see four…….


May Day

Here are four pictures I took with my phone on a “May Day”

Pansies waking up in the morning sunlight

Pansies waking up in the morning sunlight

Sweet Woodruff is an herbal groundcover used to float or "steep" in white wine (thank our German friends) to make a great tasting white wine for a sunny May day!

Sweet Woodruff is an herbal groundcover used to float or “steep” in white wine (thank our German friends) to make a great tasting white wine for a sunny May day!

What would May be without the aroma of Lilacs?

What would May be without the aroma of Lilacs?

Had a talk with my tree swallow friend as the day ended....it was a real bird "tale"

Had a talk with my tree swallow friend as the day ended….it was a real bird “tale”

Vacation Planning Website

Wanted to share with you a great website for my “all things horticultural friends” planning to do a little traveling this summer. Interested in seeing a “shoe tree” or giant raspberries? How about a giant apple, ear of corn or the Jolly Green Giant muscular and tall (55 ft.) from consumption of all those healthy vegetables? Tree BikeHow about the ever popular bicycle eaten by a tree on Vashon Island Washington? You can go out on a limb and form your own theories on how it got there. Check it out and begin dreaming of eating an ice cream cone this coming July while having your picture taken next to the world’s biggest watermelon. http://www.roadsideamerica.com

Shoe Tree


Oh Deer

Oh deer….time to protect those trees from deer damage. As deer remove velvet from antlers and during their pre-mating and mating season (often referred to as the rut) they can do significant damage to young trees in the suburban landscape. I’ve read that a typical male whitetail deer “rubs” from 400 to 800 trees in a season. Our suburban environment invites in wildlife because our habitat is better than theirs. We set the table by planting grass, trees, vegetable gardens, and we put out birdseed, mulch and garbage. No wonder they want to crash the party.

Fresh deer damage on a young tree

Check out this young tree just planted by my neighbor replacing a previously deer damaged tree in his yard. I’m going to wrap my trees tonight and protect them….not tonight deer!

See the deer tracks on the right side of the picture?

Oh Citrus tree oh Citrus tree….how lovely are your branches

Video of my daughter Angie in North Carolina picking out a Christmas tree. We all know the benefit of the fragrance of a fresh cut Christmas tree. Angie discovers that there is more than the “pine” scent emulated by the rear view mirror air freshners or the sweet smell of a Douglas Fir. Watch as she discovers the magic of Concolor Fir………

Make your Christmas “Greens” come true!

When it comes to your Christmas tree it’s not much different than a tree in your landscape…..it needs “re-hydration” when nature calls so to speak. Foliage or in this case needles transpire like people perspire when things warm up. In the case of an evergreen they’ll transpire indoors when you turn up the heat.

Oh Christmas Tree!

Due to a decrease in hydrostatic water pressure in the needles as they transpire the tree “pulls” water upward through the xylem to re-hydrate the tree. The same applies to trees and plants in your landscape. The big difference of course is that the Christmas tree in your living room has no roots to reach out.

You have to reach out and provide the water to your tree so the “FMC” does not drop to unacceptable levels at which point “yule” have to reach for a vacuum cleaner. FMC is Foliage Moisture Content. Make a fresh cut on the bottom of Christmas tree and immediately place it in water. When you get a wound your body begins to clot and scab the wound naturally. The tree does the same with sap at the cut which in turn inhibits or cuts off moisture flow through the tree.

When the “FMC” drops below 25% needles will drop and the tree may no longer draw water even though it is sitting in water. The greater the water pickup results in higher foliage moisture content which also provides the best ignition resistance.

Go Green!

Trees with a high “FMC” tend to self-extinguish versus a dry tree with low “FMC” can go up like a torch if subjected to an ignition source. Light up your holidays the right way and get long lasting fragrance and beauty from your tree by making a fresh cut, put the tree immediately in water and keep the water bowl full until you remove the tree after the holidays. Placing a fishing bobber or ping pong ball in the water will help you see at a glance the water level in the bowl. Pay attention to your tree’s “FMC” and it will make all your Christmas “Greens” come true!

A Tough Nut to Crack

Everyone loves a good comeback story. The aging athlete returning to peak form in the championship game, the candidate counted out surges ahead on election night or the rock band you loved 20 years ago suddenly is in vogue again. The humble chestnut is enjoying that same resurgence lately and they’re not just for roasting anymore. American chestnut trees once covered our forests until a fungal disease wiped out almost all of them.

Today many are familiar with the chestnuts roasting Christmas song but few roast or make them part of their holiday diet.

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire

The resurgence of the tree and the interest in the nuts have spurred alternate uses including holiday cheer. I noticed Michigan chestnuts are used in a Jolly Pumpkin Stone Special Holiday Ale along with white sage from California and Norwegian Juniper berries. Another Michigan produced ale uses chestnuts in a gluten free brew. Cheers! A lot more fun than having Jack Frost nipping at your nose.

The Chestnut and Chestnut trees have a long and interesting history. In an interview I did with author Diana Wells and her book ‘Lives of Trees’ she said years ago the nutritious nuts were dried and ground and stored in a drawer giving rise to the French expression “living out of a drawer” or being poor. Another expression lits de parlement or “talking beds” referred to chestnut leaves being used as mattress stuffing and the rustling noise when you turned over. It is estimated in the 1800’s every fourth tree along the eastern half of the country was a Chestnut tree. Fortunately plant pathologists are developing blight resistant replicas of the original tree so we can enjoy American chestnuts said to be tastier than their European and Asian counterparts. Today in a breeding technique called back-crossing an American Chestnut is crossed with a Chinese Chestnut. The resulting tree is crossed again and again until the only characteristic of the Chinese tree left is it’s blight resistance.

Roasting chestnuts is a romantic holiday experience….provided you score the nuts before roasting. If you don’t score them you will have a memorable experience of exploding smoking missile projectiles…not romantic but certainly memorable. You’ll also being eating healthy, chestnuts are low in calories, have less fat than many other nuts and could be considered a staple similar to potatoes or corn. They are also a good source of dietary fiber which gets my attention when trying to improve my cholesterol levels.

Thank goodness for the resurgence of the stately chestnut tree and the humble chestnut. A great comeback story of a nut that’s tough to crack.