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Starting a Grove from Scratch - An Excerpt from A Sanctuary of Trees

Starting a Grove from Scratch - An Excerpt from A Sanctuary of Trees

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As author Gene Logsdon puts it, “We are all tree huggers.” But not just for sentimental or even environmental reasons. Humans have always depended on trees for our food, shelter, livelihood, and safety. In many ways, despite the Grimm’s fairy-tale version of the dark, menacing forest, most people still hold a deep cultural love of woodland settings, and feel right at home in the woods.

In this latest book, A Sanctuary of Trees, Logsdon offers a loving tribute to the woods, tracing the roots of his own home groves in Ohio back to the Native Americans and revealing his own history and experiences living in many locations, each of which was different, yet inextricably linked with trees and the natural world.
As author Gene Logsdon puts it, “We are all tree huggers.” But not just for sentimental or even environmental reasons. Humans have always depended on trees for our food, shelter, livelihood, and safety. In many ways, despite the Grimm’s fairy-tale version of the dark, menacing forest, most people still hold a deep cultural love of woodland settings, and feel right at home in the woods.

In this latest book, A Sanctuary of Trees, Logsdon offers a loving tribute to the woods, tracing the roots of his own home groves in Ohio back to the Native Americans and revealing his own history and experiences living in many locations, each of which was different, yet inextricably linked with trees and the natural world.

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Published by: Chelsea Green Publishing on Jul 30, 2012
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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01/28/2015

 
Gene LoGsdon
 A sAnctuAry o
 
trees
B, Bg, Baball Ba, a B
 
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Chapter 17
Starting a Grove from Scratch
 W󰁨󰁥󰁲󰁥 󰁹󰁯󰁵 󰁤󰁥󰁣󰁩󰁤󰁥 to locate a new woodlot governs how you should go about it more than the actual planting methods you use. Your climate and geographical area will dictate which trees you can grow  with the most success. Native species are always to be preferred. Te easiest place to start a grove is right next to an existing woodlot, because the trees already growing there will provide plenty of seeds for new trees. In fact, in this situation, there will invariably be too many new trees. Te second easiest place would be in towns, suburbs, and other residential areas where lots of mature trees are already growing in yards and parks. All you have to do there is quit mowing, and literally millions of new seedlings will spring up. Obviously neither of these situations is where a new woodlot is usually desired. But it is very helpful to observe the ease with which trees can spread themselves in these situations. rees in one sense are  just big weeds, and the idea that humans necessarily have to expend a lot of time and money to plant them is an assumption that arose because not many people live at home in the woods anymore. Just provide the right environment and trees will come. I surely don’t  want to criticize anyone who works hard at transplanting seedlings into an open, treeless area because this is good work. But it is so much easier to let nature, squirrels, birds, and wind do it, or for humans to
 
 A SANCTUARY OF TREES
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plant tree seeds, not transplant seedlings. I am amazed every year at the tenacity and persistence of native oaks, maples, elms, hickories, black walnuts, wild cherries and ashes seeking to engulf my gardens and yard with seedlings. Indeed, living next to woodland, we spend nearly as much time suppressing new trees as we do hoeing out regular weeds. ree seedlings especially love raspberry patches and asparagus rows because we don’t cultivate the soil in these areas, relying instead on mulch to control weeds. ree seeds love permanent mulch. Tis year in the raspberries a mulberry sprouted. I whacked it off in May when it was about six inches tall and thought that was the end of it. In August, there it was again, growing vigorously—four little trunks from the original one, the biggest of which was eight feet tall! Tink of that: eight feet of regrowth in three months. Five new ash seedlings that the raspberry canes had hidden from my view nearby were five feet tall. Tese have to be cut out below ground or sprayed with weed killer—and that won’t necessarily kill them either. Black walnut, one of our most revered trees for its nuts and its wood, is especially bothersome. One of them came up inside a serviceberry bush in the yard where I did not notice it and where the mower could not reach it. By the end of the second year, it was seven feet tall, sticking brazenly above the serviceberry. Black walnut is an especially troublesome weed around the garden because after one gets established, the juglone in its roots (as pointed out earlier) can poison some garden plants. You don’t want this tree growing close to tomatoes, apple trees, or asparagus, for example. It grows amazingly fast in its earliest years, especially if you cut it off at ground level after it grows about six inches tall. Ten it fairly leaps back out of the soil.  Te first deduction to make here is that if you are starting a grove next to an existing woodlot, or in a grassy or brushy lot surrounded by established residential landscaping, you will soon have trees growing there without doing anything at all. Tis is difficult for the  workaholic American to believe. We want to set out new trees the  way we set out tomato plants, everything neatly in rows and clean and proper, not weedy, brushy, sloppy areas for the new trees to grow in. But think of all the gas money you will not have to spend in mowing

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