The months roll by on the Bluecircle and soon the last of the Fall colors will be under the first blanket of lake-effect snow. Mowing is almost done for this year and both the machine and mower are ready for a break. The red oak grove and Douglas firs pictured here hide the spruce and pines behind, but the last leaves remaining at the top of the poplars show them towering over the field. After six years of planting, sun and rain this area of the farm is beginning to mature.
North Watervliet Road at the bottom of this hill marks the east edge of the property. Two-year tulip poplar, maple and oak seedlings here will eventually define a path into the older plantings above. White plastic “grow tubes” around some of the maples are needed to discourage grazing by the doe and fawns that traverse this entrance to the farm.
Looking northwest over a recently cleared and planted area with hybrid poplars and tiny pines in the foreground. Taller Scotch pines and wind-bent poplars are beginning to hide the storage barns. Behind this clearing rows of white and blue spruce seedlings will mark a corner of the Bluecircle.
The mowing season is nearly over and as the last weed blossoms fade the dark green of healthy conifers shines through. Although the volume of rainfall in late summer was less than ideal, seedlings from one and two years ago show substantial growth. A warm September may have stretched another inch or two of growth in some rows. The marking flags so critical to locating seedlings in their first year have torn and faded. Their rusted remnants will be pulled in the Spring.
Two rows of sycamore, a future shady lane, are rising between hybrid poplars that grow even more rapidly. Walking/biking trails were not in the original Bluecircle plan but as more and more of the acreage is filled with trees they become a possibility.
Future sycamore lane
Some of the tulip poplar, maple and oak seedlings planted this year have been growing in tree shelters that stand like tall white straws on the downslope to N. Watervliet Rd. This was a pilot project since the shelters cost substantially more than seedlings, but so far survival and growth in the ventilated plastic tubes is encouraging. The shelters should discourage browsing deer as well.
Poplars verus weeds, poplars win!