Monday, July 26, 2010

Planting a Tree is easy


In any part of the world one might be living in there are some varieties of trees that are really easy to plant. For example, where I live at the moment - Jaipur – all one needs to do in the monsoon months is stick a drumstick branch into the ground and within months it turns into a pretty tree with elegant lace like foliage. I have planted six of them around my urban home here and now that it is raining they are all a brilliant green.

Planting a tree is one of the easiest services or expression of gratitude for Mother Earth because trees are her ornament. They feed so many of her offspring from insects to birds to humans. I have been an urban person all my life but I have planted trees wherever I have found room for them around my home, by the sides of the streets and in parks where access has been permitted. If I owned a farm I would have turned most of it into a forest in a matter of years.

Often trees come up by themselves on vacant land. The seeds fly in through the wind and bird droppings. In this case, I clear the area around the tree and remember to water the new young trees through the dry months of the following year. About half the trees that grow around my home have come up that way. We choose which trees to grow but trees too choose where to grow. It is nice to respect that choice whenever possible. This year I was planning on planting some small Sitaphal trees (I am unaware of the English name of this fruit – it has a thick uneven green exterior, white sweet pulp and large black seeds) and somehow magically two of them have sprouted up on their own at the correct locations. It has been my experience that if a task is approved by Nature then Nature cooperates in its execution.

At the present time many persons in the world are concerned about global warming. The easiest thing they can do to improve the situation then is to plant a tree and then some more instead of wasting their time over trying to limit carbon emissions (mostly carbon dioxide). Those will take care of themselves when the fossil fuels run out. In the mean time we can help the glorious carbon dioxide flow into green biomass through assisting the growth of trees. Otherwise some of that carbon dioxide turns into stones such as calcium carbonate and goes out of the cycle of life.

The photo is entrance of my home in Jaipur

14 comments:

Hayden said...

Willows are like that here. They are beautiful, graceful trees, and you can see their relationship to water in the flowing lines of their branches and leaves. And yes, they are very thirsty, fast-growing trees. And you can set a branch in the ground and quicker than quick, it will take root and begin to grow.

ashok said...

That sounds like a neat tree for the boundaries of any property then. If I was a Michiganer I would have gone around collecting willow sticks and then sticking them into the ground anywhere I could.

There is a tree called weeping willow that grows on the banks of Nainital lake. Wonder if it is the same or similar tree. It is indeed very pretty, ideal for a pond or lake side because its lacelike foliage does not obstruct the view completely.

Hayden said...

oh, yes, the weeping willow grows beautifully here! Same family... salix.

Willows do have drawbacks.... they're very messy, drop sticks and leaves abundantly, and their roots will invade septic systems and water lines. So one must be careful. Their messiness does add dramatically to the work if they're used near ponds, one must be constantly cleaning out the pond to keep it from filling up with willow debris!

Because they're so thirsty, they can also steal more than their fair share of available water, leaving other plants suffering. I have 3 low places here that I'm thinking about planting them. There is a spot inside the orchard where I'd love to have a pond dug: near there would be good for a willow or three. But - I should dig the pond first, and can't afford it at the moment, so..... tree planting must wait. The other two spots need some thinking, because they would seriously disrupt the land available for crops. I think I've decided on one spot, where they would form a nice separation from the road, but am waiting for next spring when I'll have completed a full year here. I like to have time to think before planting something so permanent as a tree!

ashok said...

Hayden, Did you move into your farm this spring? I was under the impression it was earlier last year.

Some farmers here managed to get a pond dug out for free by selling their dug out soil to a construction project. However, those who were not careful neded up with ponds with very steep sides that are dangerous as well and useless for birds and animals. Ponds with a gradually sloping side are convenient for animals and humans and remain pretty as they shrink in dry months leaving grassy banks.

Hayden said...

I'm afraid there's not much market for fill dirt around here! Getting rid of it can be a problem...

I arrived here in the last week of October, my stuff a week later. So - I think of it as Nov 1. There is much to be learned in every season, and it takes many years to REALLY learn, but - I want to see fall through first, and by then it will be much too late for any planting here. "Late" planting here is August, otherwise roots aren't well enough established to withstand the cold.

It might be possible to get assistance in pond digging from one of 3 organizations that are interested in returning more wetlands here. Despite having my heart set on a pond in the orchard, I wanted to see how things look in the dryest, hottest part of the year - next month - before getting serious.

Yes, the slope is very important! I agree with you that a low, slope-sided area is very important. But I also want a deep area, with a more abrupt bank - but backed by thick bushes. The thick bushes will discourage wanderers and offer good habitat, and shade the water. That will make it a nice spot for fish to rest safely, and in my fantasies, the pond is well stocked with bluegills. They are very tasty, and herbivores... so presumably a healthy source of omega 3!

ashok said...

One side adrupt and another gently sloping does look pretty and is easy to dig that way for tractors that dig out basements. They use the gently sloping side to pull out the dirt. I would not worry about getting rid of dirt because piled on a portion of the side it makes a hilly mound that is neat when grass bushes and a tree or two come up on it, if there is a path to walk to the top. All that can add contour and character to the land.

If and when i get a ten acre plot i would convert two acres on the side near the road for a potential sale as one acre lots incase in need of money or company at a future date, covert an acre into a lake or pond, an acre for mixed wild tree growth of every possible type with a two room cottage inside for farm helpers. That would leave five acres for home, farm and farm animals that would be allowed to graze inside the wooded portion as well. The wooded area may form a boundary for a part of the lake/pond as well as an enclosed pasture. Anyway thats just day dreaming and loud thinking at the moment right now. The actual division would depend very much on considerations of the time and place.

Vincent said...

You have a lovely garden, Ashok. It looks like a shady oasis in an urban or suburban neighbourhood.

I was thinking about your tree-planting suggestion the other day whilst I was walking amongst the hills surrounding our town. It seemed to me that in this region we are already blessed with enough trees, both in wooded areas (which reach down to the town centre on several sides) and private gardens. As for my own backyard, it is blessed with tall trees outside the fence to the north, full of lively birds. I can only afford to keep one tree, a Morello cherry, whose fruit is good for cooking. After fruiting I have to prune it severely to ensure that it doesn't cast shade over this tiny plot, whose high fences prevent any sun reaching the ground in winter.

I compare my case (one tree, two main branches) with that of Hayden, who has a big orchard. How many apple trees, Hayden?

ashok said...

Thanks Vincent, the garden is lovely and indeed an oasis in a not so green outskirts of the urban area. The trees have come up bit by bit and its quite amazing how little work good gardens require if the right selections have been made for the plants.

You are lucky to be living near so many trees and in an area of the world that do not need more. That is not the case though with much of the world today. Trees on the North are the best for a home because that way the winter sunshine that comes in from the East and South does not get blocked

Have you attempted to make wine out of the Morello cherries? might turn out good. Here is the recipe - Wash the fruit thoroughly and soak in boiling hot water overnight in a large pot. Add approximately a pound of white sugar for every pound of fruit while the water is still hot. When the water cools down but is warm to touch, add three, four or five tablespoons of bakers yeast (that is cheaper and more easily available than brewers yeast from the local supermarket). Leave to soak overnight mashing the cherries with a wooden spoon from time to time as they soften (about two or three times through the process )> Ensure that some bubbles and a yeasty smell has developed to make sure the yeast is working or you will need to get some more fresh yeast and add to brew.

Next day strain in through a muslin cloth (or clean vest) into a glass jar or glass bottles filled to the brim. If the bottles are screw tops dont screw tight. Leave the bottles in a basement, dark larder or under the bed (on a tray).

Check after a few days to see bubbles are rising and then leave for a few weeks before tasting or until clear.

If dark things appear to float in the wine ( is rare) discard. If it turns sour, leave longer to turn into wine vinegar. Preferabaly drink it up while still a little sweet or as a cocktail with some brandy if it is a party.

:-)

ashok said...

And there is Morello Mushrooms too that are great with wine probabaly. Perhaps some grow in Hayden's forest or the forest where you live Vincent.

ashok said...

Vincent, I googled and the correct English name for the mushroom I was referring to is Morel and it appears that they are plentiful in Michigan where Hayden lives and they are found in England as well. In India they are found in some special Himalyan areas only. The black variety is considered the best here but in recent times it has become very rare in India.

firebird said...

This is very inspiring with so many wonderful ideas for planting and creative use of the land (both real and hoped-for!)

I, too have had the experience of trees growing spontaneously in just the areas where they are needed and wished-for!

I did plant a willow tree in the bank of a small seasonal stream that runs through my yard--I am sentimental about willow trees--they are so graceful and flowing and give me a sense of peace and happiness. They grow extremely large in the right conditions, though--have to be aware of that potential!

ashok said...

Firebird

I nearly missed your comment because it was in an earlier post. The ones with the most recent post (even if they are about an older item) get spotted sooner

A stream running through the yard sounds just fabulous even if it is seasonal. Is it a large yard?

If you sense that your willow tree is becoming too large you might want to prune it at times and then the size will be limited.

The Japanese make bonsais of very large trees illustrating that tree sizes can be adjusted. However if there is enough space letting a tree reach its full potentiAL is really the best.

If rounded stones of the type found in mountain streams line the stream bed and if their is a small japanese style bridge over the stream leading to a Japanese style tea room all made of willow or bamboo branches it would be a great meditational retreat. But Perhaps Keiko Amano can tell you more about that.

Hayden said...

something is wrong with your page - it seems as if it's been hijacked. When I try to go to your main web page I'm taken instead to http://someitemshave.blogspot.com/

Perhaps google blogger complaints can fix it? Or maybe it will correct itself.

ashok said...

Hayden,

Please let me know more about this. Which webpage were you trying to reach when you reached http://someitemshave.blogspot.com ?