Spring tree planting was in full swing this weekend. Tulip poplar, chinquapin oak and maple leaf virburnum seedlings from the Berrien County Conservation District found their places on a grassy slope facing N. Watervliet road. The work was closely supervised by our resident vixen who recently brought at least 7 kits out to play. Determining the exact number of little ones is challenging because they’re always in motion, but thanks to my neighbor’s photographic and observational skills we get incredible close-ups and updates on the pack. The leafing-out of underbrush and spring grasses will soon hide the kits and their den.
The lingering Winter makes it hard to believe that many of this year’s Bluecircle tree seedlings will be planted over the next 4 weeks. The Chief River Nursery Co. of Grafton WI and the Berrien County Conservation District will again be my chief suppliers. The conifers will be scaled back both in number and variety to Scotch Pine, Black Hills Spruce and Red Pine. I expect these to be more drought-resistant than White Spruce, and the new well stands in reserve. However, success or defeat depends largely on timely rain.
For the first time this year we will supplement poplar cuttings from hybridpopular.com with some from the Bluecircle, more on that in later posts. The early failures of the majority of poplar cuttings last year may have been due to premature emergence of leaves, so for the first time these cuttings will be sprouted on the Farm.
For the first time red oak and sycamore will be added to the plantings, albeit in small numbers. Some of these will have the additional protection of nursery pots so drip irrigation can be added if the clouds fail to deliver enough moisture. Both species represent investments in the next century inspired by the still-standing stumps of native oaks that graced these fields 100 years ago.