Friday, January 30, 2009

Street Trees

Some gnarly elms along Fourth Plain Blvd.

Oop--the light changed.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Lonely Tree

Here's a lone Douglas Fir--the only one left to stand in this 80s-era(?) tract. There's a grove nearby that the City of Vancouver has thinned out over the years, but it's one of the last groves standing around here. I think the only reason it's still around is that it's between several different housing developments, built over different decades. The city can only build a road on it--a road that no one seems to want or need, so we lucked out and got a little forest nearby.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Three Weird Sisters

Earlier in the week, I wrote of the wrong-headedness of topping a tree. These trees have been topped and are now doubling, tripling, and perhaps quadrupling their branch growth rates to "fill in" their hacked off main branches. So if they don't keep getting topped--they end up looking like the three weird sisters of a certain Shakespeare play--kind of bushy and over-grown. Topping your tree is like giving it a really short haircut--it's going to need to be trimmed back ever after.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Don't Top Your Trees!

Tree topping: ugly, misguided, counter-productive. When people lop off the tops of their tree branches, it's a pitiful shame and it butchers the tree. The Plant Amnesty site lists five good reasons not to top, including: It won't work; It's expensive; It's ugly; and It's dangerous.

If your tree is getting too big for your yard, hire an arborist to see what can be done. Better yet, do a lot of research on trees before you plant and plant appropriately. Sorry this post is so preachy, but I really feel bad for these trees! And their neighbors who have to look at them all the time.

- What is Topping and Why is it Bad? - Vancouver Parks & Recreation Department
- Trees Are Good - Why Topping Hurts Trees
- What's Bad About Tree Topping

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Stormy Weather...

The Oregonian is a good source for gardening information. I always read the tree articles, of course. Here are a few from January.

We've had some major weather this winter. Record snowfall, windstorms (I was just at Beacon Rock this weekend and couldn't walk down the street due to wind--it was like being in a Buster Keaton film), and tree damage. Kym Pokorny's blog on OregonLive has a brief article on what to do with trees after a storm: Hire an arborist if you need to

Kym also reviews her favorite new gardening books, including Sean Hogan's "Trees for All Seasons: Broadleaved Evergreens for Temperate Climates."

How do you prune a Japanese maple anyway? Lisa Albert gives us an overview in How to prune a Japanese maple.

Birds are hungry in the winter. Make quick winter bird feeders for them.

Today's beautiful photo is of the Washington side of the Columbia Gorge by MemoryHunter; posted on the Oh, Snap! blog.
We drove down Highway 14 this weekend to explore this side of the river and it was windy, green and beautiful. The Columbia was choppy with white-caps all day. A visit to the Bonneville Dam was pretty interesting and quite rainbow colored within.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

So you want the impossible...

When living in the Northwest, don't plant palm trees. You'll just have to wrap them in plastic during an atypical (or typical) harsh winter, and even if you don't--they look silly next to Douglas Firs.

Monday, January 19, 2009

A Trio of Birches

I notice people tend to plant their birches in twos and threes. The showcase tree.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Big Tree Stump has Presence

This stump stinks of presence. Photographed along Lacamas Lake in Camas, WA.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Vancouver, WA Heritage Trees

Today's tree is the old apple tree in downtown Vancouver, a member of the city's Heritage Tree Program. There are more than 40 heritage trees and tree groves in Vancouver alone. You can nominate a deserving tree by going to the site and downloading a Heritage Tree Information Packet. I'm not making this up. Trees are really important around here, both aesthetically and environmentally.

The criteria for tree nomination is:
-Size - a diameter of at least 36 in
-Special site location
-Relation to an historical event
-Unusual species for the area, or exemplary form for the species

For a grove:
-Mature and contains trees that are distinctive due to size, shape, species, or age
-Associated with a historical event
-Relationship with a natural resource (i.e. stream bank)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Call to Service Day - Jan. 17th and beyond...

President-elect Obama has initiated a Call to Service Day, starting on Martin Luther King, Jr.'s observance day, Jan. 19th. You can find out what's happening in your neighborhood, then join in and volunteer to make your community a better place. That's not idealistic. That's just practical.

Vancouver, WA will be hosting two tree-planting days. Trees absorb stormwater, lower utility costs, beautify the neighborhood and provide food and habitat for birds and other creatures. Friends of Trees offers the city a variety of trees at a discount. If you set up a date with them, they'll come out with a digger, dig a hole, and help you and your volunteers plant your neighborhood tree(s). Bringing snacks is optional but always appreciated.

They'll be hosting a tree-planting on January 17th at Mountain View High School in Vancouver, 1500 Se Blairmont Dr. at 8:45 a.m.

There will be an MLK Day planting, January 19th, at East Vancouver Natural area, SE 192nd Ave. at SE 34th St. at 9 a.m.

There are numerous events throughout the Northwest for Call to Service Day, including food-pantry stocking, cleaning up and fixing bikes for kids, putting together resource bags at the Fort Vancouver Regional Library, cleaning up parks, weatherizing homes, and there will be many charity drives, involving food, eyeglasses, yoga, meditation, clothing, musical education, and dressing for success donations. It's a cornucopia of good deeds.

- Hands on Greater Portland has a list of events to sign up for.

- You can also go to Obama's new USA Service site, plug in your zip code (ANY zip code--there's tons of events all over the country), and find out what's happening in your area. Spread the news.

- City of Vancouver, WA Urban Forestry informational PDF.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Purple Sky

A couple of sunset shots. I don't get out much in the morning in the winter. I should. Everything looks different in the light of day.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Friday, January 9, 2009

Our Friend, the Sun

Cutting through fog, rain, cloud cover and gloom, it's the sun! Hello, friend.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Waiting for Jackson's Bus at 4 o'clock

Where's that bus? Shortly after these were taken, the mail truck arrived, and then the bus.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Symbolic Trees of Cinema - "Pan's Labyrinth" 2006

In Guillermo del Toro's "Pan's Labyrinth," Ofelia is living in fascist Spain--a brutal time in Spanish history. Her fantasy world helps her escape. She's given some tasks to prove herself, one of which is to save this dying tree from the creature within that's causing its destruction. Not many film heroines get to save a tree. Hat's off to this fearless little girl.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Park Ave. Trees, Portland OR

A Park Ave. tree fell over onto an arts-related building last week. I couldn't find the photo of it on OregonLive (terrible search engine over there), but here's some upright trees from about a month ago. There's been ridiculous amounts of snow, wind and rain for the past few weeks, so trees are reacting.

A big fir tree branch fell on our roof while we were gone and somehow slid down onto the fireplace flue on the side of the house. Luckily only the protective metal mesh casing was dinged. The flue seems fine. Our roof is covered in greenery and I'll have to get up there and brush everything away. The former owners of our house left two huge Douglas Firs growing next to our house. They're very nice but they can be ominous, especially during severe weather systems.

OregonLive has a story on storm damage to local nurseries' greenhouses. Some Japanese maples didn't make it. Sad. Now that torrential rains are expected, flooding may begin. Already a few houses have washed down hillsides or been blown through by sliding debris. Miraculously--no one has been seriously injured, even while escaping slides from inside the homes. Harrowing stuff.

Madagascar Baobabs

I couldn't get out today due to a cold, but the SFGate has a lovely pictorial on Madagascar, including this shot by Margo Pfeiff of a grove of baobabs near Morondava. I don't know what I just typed but it sounds really cool. I'd love to travel here. I read that these were being chopped down at a rapid rate but efforts were being made to save them. Isn't that the story of humans on Earth?

See seriously weird Madagascar while you can by Margo Pfeiff.

Monday, January 5, 2009

One More from California

My parents' silk tree, providing shade to their driveway since 1987.

The dried seed pods make this sound in the wind: clacka clacka clacka clacka.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Leaving California

We're heading back to SW Washington this weekend. If this Oak could talk, it might say, "Hello--I'm a native Northern Californian."

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Trees on Mt. Diablo

My friend Sue Lackey and I took a walk along a horse trail on Mt. Diablo yesterday and I gathered some tree photos along the way. May your 2009 be healthy, happy and prosperous.

Stephen Joseph Photography has a good-looking Mt. Diablo Tree Gallery.