Happy Arbor Day!
I hope you are celebrating by planting a tree, or at least hugging a tree. Now I know if you are out of state, you may be thinking, “Wait. Isn’t Arbor Day in April?” Yes, it is in April. For the rest of the country. In Texas, we celebrate Arbor Day on the first Friday in November. While you can technically plant a tree any day of the year in the south, where the ground never freezes, fall is the optimal time for tree planting in Texas. (And most likely for most of the south.)
The theme for this year’s Texas Arbor Day is “It takes all kinds,” which represents tree diversity, the wide variety of ecoregions throughout the state and the amazing and wonderful diversity of humankind. Okay, I added in the amazing and wonderful, but isn’t our population really amazing and wonderful? Even among gardeners, no two are alike. If we were to make a large Venn diagram of gardening styles and types, the central part would most likely be trees. For every garden, for every property, for every need, there is a tree suited to your space and needs. Interested in native gardening and creating a haven for wildlife, trees will be a central part of your design. Interested in growing your own food, fruiting trees can produce a harvest for years to come. Interested in simply stringing up a hammock and enjoying the good life, surely you would enjoy your serene nook even more if it is shaded by a tree or two. It truly does take all kinds!
Our front yard is dominated by two bur oaks, which a dear gardening friend of mine calls, “The Oakiest of the Oaks.” True enough, of all the oaks, the bur oak has the largest acorns and the largest leaves. The larger of our two bur oaks was planted by the developer about 30 years ago. while the slightly smaller oak was planted by a squirrel about 20 years ago. Every autumn, I threaten to hire a flock of neighbor children to pick up the copious amount of acorns that fall from those two trees…
Ignore the green briar…
As my own gardening style is evolving from ornamental rose garden to an edible food forest, I have been exploring the new-to-me world of fruiting trees. It takes all kinds has been my gardening mantra this year. How can I extend my harvests? Can I harvest different fruits six months of the year? Which fig trees produce a breba crop? Which fruit trees remain small and can be grown in a container? (The driveway is mostly wasted space, amiright? Might as well grow food there, too!)
It really does take all kinds. Go out and explore your local garden centers this weekend and see what tree varieties they have. Surely you will find one that is perfect for your property.