Today I helped plant trees at Zenda Farm Preserve. What better way to spend Arbor Day! Though conditions were not ideal, we toughed it out. The weather did cooperate today (as in no rain), but our soggy Spring sure made planting difficult.
Zenda Farm is part of the Thousand Island Land Trust (TILT). It used to be a dairy farm but now its pastures are preserved for nesting grassland birds, as well as its agricultural history. Zenda Farm also houses a community garden of which I hope to be a part this year. To learn more about TILT and its preserves click here.
Together we planted twenty shade trees in the adjoining meadow across the road. Maples, red and pin oaks, and lacebark elms were among the varieties planted. These trees were big! Because the trees were large, we did stake them. I did learn that nurseries tend to plant trees this large deep in their pots so they will stand up straight. When planting, it is a good idea to remove the top layer of dirt to where the trunk just begins to flare. It is at this flare that the tree should be level with the ground. Fortunately for us the holes were pre-dug with a back hoe. Unfortunately, the rain for the past several days turned them into mini ponds. So, our first step was to bail out the planting holes – a very muddy business.
Towards the end, we relied on a higher power to fill in the holes. Mucky, clay soil is he-e-e-eavy. I never thought a shovel (or my feet) could weigh so much! It gave new meaning to the terms mud season and muck boots. Peat moss was added to amend the soil and each tree was mulched.
This project required a bit more physical effort than my other projects. I think I will need a bit of “medicine,” (gin to be exact), to ease sore muscles. I drive by this meadow quite frequently on my way to the dump and to collect spring water. I look forward to seeing these trees grow. Before we even finished planting, a bird perched on one of the trees. Now that’s a good sign. Happy Arbor Day to you.