$100=100 trees

Although my earlier forest attempts failed, one has, to date, been a spectacular success. In 2009, we had planned to get some seedlings from the Lower Trent Conservation Authority’s Tree Seedling Stock Program. When I was sidelined in the spring with a medical problem, that idea got scrapped.  Last year, it sat unrevived but over the winter the idea got re-examined.  One of the problems of planting into the 3 acres of the property that had been a farmer’s field is that there is immediate competition from well-established plants.  This competition is great enough to choke out young trees.  From plantings of wild grasses that we had done previously, we saw the benefits of growing in 6″ pots for a year or two to allow the root systems to bulk up.  So we decided to use the same technique with LTCA tree seedlings.  We put in an order for 40 white cedars, 20 red pines, 20 white pines, and 20 white spruces for $75 plus $20 handling.  Two hundred six inch pots cost $60 + $25 shipping. Since the pots will be re-used and re-used and re-used, they aren’t really part of the cost. To keep the weeds and grass at bay, we decided to lay down some vapour barrier on the lawn and pack the pots on to it.

A couple of the white pines and a couple of the white spruces died but everything else has thrived.  The white cedars, being the most vigorous of the four species, have done the best, doubling in size.

Tending was minimal with a heavy weeding early in the summer and two or three waterings during the summer.  We’ll keep them in pots for at least one more year before planting them out.  We’ll still need to keep the existing vegetation under control but that’s what the scythe is for.

We are so pleased with the results that we have placed an order for more trees next spring.

More pictures here.

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2 Responses to $100=100 trees

  1. Richard says:

    Your seedlings look great. I wish I had done similarly when I germinated Ohio Buckeye plants from the nuts and then planted directly into the ground and they almost all died because they didn’t have sufficient rootstock or care (from me) to survive our Georgia summers. Are you using soil from the ground where the seedlings will be planted or have you augmented the mix with compost or other supplement?


    • MikeH says:

      Hi Richard,

      Yep, we learned the hard way. Early on, we started some Big Bluestem and Indian Grass and transplanted it to pots over the summer. In the fall, we planted it out. It survived – barely, but it is only now three years later that it’s beginning to attain its potential. Native species are rugged but they need to get their root systems well established in order to survive.

      We got the tree seedlings bare root so we didn’t get any of the mycorrhizal material that might have been associated with the original plantings. As a potting mix, we used a ~50/50 mix of heavy-ish topsoil and green-waste-only compost. Looking at the bottom of the pots, many have root growth poking out the drain holes so they appear to have done well so far. We haven’t done anything special to prepare them for winter so it will be interesting to see how they survive. Given the minimal cost involved, both financial and labour, I’m not particularly bothered if the weaker ones don’t make it through the winter.


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