When we purchased the "project" (AKA our new old house), we realized that we needed to remove a few trees. One of the trees we had removed was a huge old silver maple on the tree lawn. To some, it was the end of the (possibly) oldest tree in the city, and they bemoaned that fact. To us, it was a disaster-in-the-making as it had the potential to take out almost any house on the block including ours.
But to remove it from the tree lawn, we had to get a permit from the city, and further, we had to agree to replace said tree with one from the prescribed list of trees. This list includes trees of different heights from relatively short trees to tall trees. Added to this, Rob and I have this thing about what we refer to as Asplundh trees or in the common vernacular, butchered trees. To us, the natural shape of a tree is lovely, but with tree surgeons at odds with power companies, there is often no real pruning but chopping of limbs into whatever is expedient. Often, too, those who are not skilled in the art of pruning believe in the child's drawing of trees--that is, balls on sticks. What is left becomes a butchered tree.
Since we removed a tree of considerable height and root system, which tore up the street in front of the house, we wanted to choose a tree from the list that was small to medium in height. Yet, all the trees that were considered in the small category would have short, broad canopies. These choices would eventually affect the sidewalks and those who use them. The medium-sized trees from the list were our best bet. Otherwise, we would have to convince the city that the Kousa dogwood that we planted in the front yard adjacent to the tree lawn sufficed for the letter of the law. Since that may or may not happen, we decided to look at our other options for a medium-sized tree from the list.
So, over time we kept debating what tree would havethe requirements we sought in a tree. It would have a nice shape, not grow too tall, and would not get so entangled in the wires that the tree butchers would destroy the look of the tree. We discovered a variety of honey locust on a neighbor's tree lawn on one of our daily walks around the neighborhood. It is nicely shaped and not too tall and seemed to fit our requirements.
This fall, after the leaves had fallen, Rob picked up one of the seed pods from the tree. Opening it up, he discovered some seeds and decided that we would try growing this tree from a seed. Doing a little research first, he discovered the best method was to soak the seed in hot, not quite boiling (190 degrees), water for an appropriate amount of time and then plant.
It has been a couple months, but we now have a tiny honey locust growing on our back porch. It has about eight compound leaves and is about a foot tall. It obviously isn't ready for the tree lawn, but just in case the city asks about our replacement tree, we can honestly say that it will be planted there in a year or so after the old tree's roots have rotted away and the sinkhole repaired.
He has recently expanded the experiment and decided to grow a backup tree by planting a second seed. At this point, the tree is only about six inches tall with just a few leaves. Further, he even planted it outside in one of the flower beds protecting the fledgling tree with a fence to keep out any creature who might enjoy nibbling fresh green stalks.
In the meantime, our Kousa dogwood's buds are expanding and should be opening soon. The lawn is green and has had several haircuts already. Flowers--daffodils, tulips, irises, and others-- are beginning to bloom, and even last year's pansies still provide color.
As for our experiments, only time will tell whether our trees will survive. Digressing a bit, his newest novel, Shrader Marks: Keelhouse (the sequel to Night Voices), will be out next week, and we are excited about that, too.
Causes Nancy Smith Supports
Doctors without Borders
American Diabetes Association