Thursday, April 29, 2010

Preparation for new planting

As part of the preparation for the new planting on May 8th I spent some time tagging the small trees with bright orange tape so that people can see them more easily.

I took a bit of an inventory of the trees and shrubs that survived from last year. I may have missed a few or double counted a few but by my count the survivors are as follows:

- 3 Pagoda Dogwood (had a lot of die back)
- 11 Red Osier dogwood
- 8 Speckled Alder (vigorous)
- 3 american elderberry
- 12 staghorn sumac
- 3 chokeberry
- 4 unidentifiable bushes
- 32 Red Maple (stubby red bud)
- 26 Sugar Maple (long narrow greenish brown bud)
- 14 tamarack (deciduous conifer)
- 6 white spruce
- 12 trembling aspen
- 5 white pine
- 3 colorado spruce
- 4 white cedar
- 2 hazelnut
- 2 basswood (tentative id )
- 8 oak (red oak? the oaks were a favorite of the voles)
- 2 black spruce (tentative identification, these did not survive transplanting well as several others went brown last summer)
- 15 bushes tentatively identified as service berries
- 5 unknown trees/bushes of very slender fragile twigs with pale drooping leaves. Buds are very slow to develop and more of the ~20 that were planted may have life in them yet. (Very tentatively identified as hackberry)
- 9 unidentified trees (most small twigs with buds only slowly developing)
- 47 white spruce seedlings

A total of 232 trees and bushes survived the first year. We were supposed to have planted 350 last year so about 66% survived. Some trees didn't show any signs of life after being transplanted. They may not have survived the previous winter or may not have been able to handle the shock of transplantation. More than a few bare twigs were planted that never developed a viable bud. A few only had one or two buds that developed. A few of the spruce trees turned brown over summer. A few of the aspens lost all of their leaves mid-summer. Some of the seedlings didn't survive transplantation and some got covered up by the summer grass. Some were chopped down by the mower last summer. The major culprit, however, was winter and rodent damage. At least half of the oaks that were planted did not survive the winter. The service berries received a lot of damage as did the sugar maples, the sumac and the hackberries. Some of the bushes were munched right down to their base and are unidentifiable. Some of the trees lost all of their roots to the rodents and toppled over. Some of the trees that are still alive are not likely to survive the summer because the rodent damage is so extensive around their base. But where there is life there is hope.

On Monday evening at dusk while I was taking inventory of the surviving bushes I noticed several bats swooping around over the 2009 planting taking insects on the wing. It is good to see bats as I don't often see them around Manordale.

In flower:
common speedwell
garlic mustard
yellow rocket
creeping charlie
canada plum (? back north corner)

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