What's Tony Thinking

New Green


One of my favorite things about being at the cabin in the Wallowas at this time of the year is that all the trees are decorated with the new green of spring growth.

As readers of this blog know planting and tending trees gives me great joy. So here are a few shots of the new green on some of those trees. This first one, at right, is “Colin’s Tree,” a little Douglas Fir.

In  the Fir family the two dominant types here are the Douglas Fir and White Fir. I have a grove of trees in front of the cabin that are mostly White Fir. They started themselves. I thin and feed them.

We do also have Spruce. Their new growth has a candle shape and is always dressed in a reddish-brown hood that is sloughed off as the new stems fully open. Here’s a cluster of those.

And in recent years I’ve been planting aspens. We have one Norway Aspen. The others, and the one in this photo, below, are Quaking Aspen, which are the more common. You come upon great stands of aspen in the mountains, often in areas of shale rock. Aspen groves have a common root system from which new trees pop up and the groves spread.

In the more open areas, as on the Zumwalt Prairie, the Nature Conservancy builds structures to protect the aspens from the elk. The aspens provide a great sanctuary for bird life, but if there are elk your aspens don’t stand a chance. So I have fencing around the aspens.

Finally, one smaller White Fir. Three years ago its central stem of growth was topped by a deer, leaving the tree a bit stymied. I have been trimming it to encourage the central stalk to come back. This year it done so, big time.

The colors of all this new green are so bright, almost iridescent. As the weeks go on that super brightness will fade. But for now all the trees are dressed in seasonal radiance of their new growth as if to shout in praise of God and to say, look at me!



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