Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Kate Crowley
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Let's talk about trees

Going Nature's Way


November 7, 2019

The gardening season is over. The perennials have been cut back, and the pots put away. In the vegetable gardens, potatoes have been dug, carrots pulled up, and squash vines added to the compost pile. We did not have a hard frost until October 25, so some hardy flowers were able to hang on through the month, but when November arrives we know another growing season has passed, and we can stop worrying about watering, weeding, and the herbivores that constantly try to outwit us. After a few months, memories of the sweat, aches, and pains associated with gardening will begin to fade, just about the time the seed catalogs arrive. And so it begins again.

I learned a lot this summer working with Clarissa Ellis Prudhomme on the Moose Lake city gardens. It was a pleasure to watch the petunias spread over their beds and the various lilies, poppies and roses fill the beds with color. We appreciated all the positive comments we heard from people walking or driving by. We are thankful that the citizens and city administrators feel it is important to fund this ongoing beautification of the town.

The flowers are an obvious and colorful addition to the landscape, but not to be overlooked are the trees that have been planted on either side of Arrowhead Lane and in the campground. Our last task was the planting of a thornless Hawthorn (with the assistance of staff from First National Bank of Moose Lake) at the north end of town and a red/silver cross Maple in the campground. Careful planning and research is needed before purchasing and planting trees in these locations. They must be hardy enough to withstand exposure in the winter months to salt laden snow, pushed up by the snowplows. A changing climate needs to be considered also, since some species will not be able to adapt and are expected to disappear from our region, while others will become more common.

When choosing what to plant, Clarissa takes into consideration location, hardiness, shape, size, and overall attractiveness, whether it be the texture of the bark, the flowers, fruit or seeds that are produced, fall leaf color, and the expected longevity of the tree. As you drive down Arrowhead Lane, take time to notice the different varieties. With the leaves off, you will be able to see the bark and shape more easily. The varieties include; Green Ash, Amur Maple, Blue Beech (aka Hop Hornbeam), Ironwood, Paper Birch, and both Pin and Bur Oaks. Out at the campground, where many trees were lost after the 2012 flood, multi-trunked River Birch has been planted, in addition to the Maple. Out on South Lakeshore Drive you will find Honey Locust. Up on the north end of Arrowhead Lane you can see some Crab Apples that are doing very well.

All of us should be planting trees or supporting organizations that do. You may be surprised to learn that 49% of all forest land in this country is privately owned. People who live on 10 acres or less make up more than half of that figure. We all know the benefits trees provide, not the least of which is the production of oxygen and removal of CO2 from the air. According to the U.N. trees “provide homes for more than 80% of all the earth’s land-based animals, plants and insects.” Tree roots filter more than half of the drinking water in the U.S.

The current loss of trees annually is estimated to be 10 billion! Many of those are cut down to make way for houses, agriculture, shopping centers, parking lots, and the like. Climate change is already causing massive fires and floods that kill more trees. Many timber companies replant trees after harvesting them, as a means of sustaining their business, but the vast majority of replacement is going to fall to citizens of the world. This year we added two apple trees and a cherry to our property.

As I mentioned earlier, there are many organizations that have taken on this challenge. In Washington, DC, a non-profit set up by Betty Brown Casey has the goal of planting an average of 14,000 trees a year in that city. In East Moline, IL another nonprofit met its goal of planting a million trees by 2016 and is now aiming for the second million. The Nature Conservancy raises money to support its goal of planting a billion trees by 2025 across the globe.

One of the world’s most well-known tree projects began in Kenya. Wangari Maathai was the woman who created the Green Belt Movement. She recognized how critical trees were for the survival of the people in that country. More than 51 million trees have been planted since she began the project. She died in 2011 but 4000 affiliated community groups continue what she started.

Closer to home, the Arbor Day Foundation wants to plant 100 million trees by 2022, enlisting five million volunteers to achieve this goal. When you plant a tree, you are planting hope for the future.


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