Today, Grand Island celebrated both Earth Day and Arbor Day. This morning, people were out in every part of the island, picking up litter, either by themselves or in groups. Also, this morning, people could go to Veterans Park and pick up trees to plant in pots and, when big enough, in their yards.
The trees were in bundles of three. In each bundle, there were two blue spruce and one white oak. They are all trees that grow well in Grand Island’s clay soil.
As I was walking from event to event, I was thinking about trees. Trees in this part of the world grow slowly. It takes them years to reach maturity. When they do, they provide shade to plants and to people and to animals. Shade is very desirable by some plants, such as hostas, black cohosh, jewel weed (touch-me-not), riverbank grape, chokecherry, camellia japonica, and rhododendron, among others. A shade garden is a relaxing place for humans and other animals during the heat of the day.
Today, however, was all about the trees. It was about the sugar maple that had been planted at Veterans Park. And it was about the other trees that I saw while taking my walk today. And this is where the wonders of modern technology comes into play. I have an app on my phone that can identify plants. It gives me all of the information that I need to know about that plant and how to best take care of the plant.
Today, I saw several species of trees while on my walk. These included red pine, pitch pine, red maple, sweet cherry,
Oregon crab apple, common pear (good for pies, but too hard to be eaten raw), cherry plum, Callery pear (the fruit is unfit for human consumption but is well-loved by birds), and Norway maple (not a native gree species).
I learned that the Oregon crab apple is good for jams and jellies but that it is too sour for anything else. I had discovered this impressively sour nature of Oregon crab apples last fall when I decided to use a bunch of them to make applesauce. The apples were very tiny, very hard, and even excessively sour.
Making applesauce out of these crab apples was not an experiment that I care to repeat in the future. I would, however, try making jelly with the crab apple.
Speaking of fruit trees, I noticed a large patch of young trees in a swampy area off of Long Road. It is very likely that these trees are callery pear.
This is a very aggressive tree species with invasive tendencies. In the future, it may be designated as invasive. The best course of action is probably to remove these trees by digging them up by the roots.
And then, plant native species of apples and pears. These would include Cortland apple, Bosc pear, Empire apple, golden delicious apple, and bartlett pear.
What kind of trees have you planted lately?