Leaves! Trash or Treasure?

they like swamps here and are often found growing in stands of red maple and tamarack which equally like water. red maple is another thats short lived and prone to rot. the ol’ timers call it piss maple because of the water in it. tamarack though is a very hard wood and burns good but takes 2 years to season. if you dry it before splitting, you’re not splitting it. yellow birch is excellent burning and likes fertile lowlands but doesnt like wet feet. there’s some here that tap them like maples for the sugar. its very good but takes more sap to make syrup than maple does.


Nice…that picture is worthy of being on a postcard, puzzle, or painting!

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They are not exactly the longest living trees but when they are happy they usually push 80~140 years with a few overachievers doubling that. The problem is that we find them oh so pretty that we stick them where we think they will look the best, not necessarily where they thrive the best.

When I commute, specially in the fall when you can easily spot which trees are where, I love to pay attention about where native trees like to settle. You can pretty much read sun exposure, micro climate, where the cold pockets settle, and the wind channels, by where the different trees are.

Heck sometimes in the middle of the forest you find a true survivor, a singular tree of a given species, twice the normal size, and surrounded by a different variety of trees. More likely than not when that tree was young it was a forest of that variety until the land around got colonized by a different variety. Around here often the other variety are aspens or cottonwood.


Do this or do the opposite: a hardcore prize winning gardener, whose dad had been a gardener for an English estate, told me of my hothouse cucumbers “you have to remove the tendrils that grow. And then you have to tie up the vines to a support.” His wife and I asked “why not let the tendrils tie the vines climbing up the supports as they will do if left alone?” I think the answer was continued full employment for gardeners. Think he also told me gardeners (paid ones) never remove every single weed…

We had the blessing of living in a housing area built on the apple orchard his dad had planted over a century before. Oh the apple juice we pressed. Oh the fragrance of apple blossom. Oh the neighborhood kids having apple wars (but gathering them for my community apple juice pressing). Great place for my kids to spend 4 years at that age.