Saturday, October 6, 2007


Trees. The word for me just conjures up pleasant visions. I remember lying back on the cool green grass under an azure blue sky with just the right amount of fluffy white clouds floating by as a child. (I sometimes still do this!) I am blessed with many trees in my yard and I have also planted many more. In fact, I love trees so much that I signed up for and completed Clarksville's Citizen Forester class last year. The class consisted of forty hours of instruction in basic care, identification, use and importance of trees. After completing the class all participants were then required to donate 25 hours of volunteer work in order to receive their certification from the state. Karla, the City Forester at the time, conducted the class and did a super job.

Well, today I got to use some of my knowledge while volunteering for a short period at Clarksville's Department of Electricity Expo. Dottie, the Clarksville Tree Board Chairman had a nicely set up display booth talking about the importance of trees, planting the right tree in the right spot, and why topping is very bad for trees. I was heartened to see how many people really care about trees! One woman said she had at one time had a tree topped on her property and she didn't understand at the time that was a bad thing for the tree. She said she wouldn't do it again and asked how to maintain trees. This is a hard question to answer. All trees need maintenance to some extent but people do not realize this fact. Selective pruning in accordance with standards set by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) is a good place to start. If a limb or a tree seems like it is going to fall on a 'target' (house, shed, roadway, fence, people), then it should be evaluated for a best remedy by a qualified arborist. Clarksville residents have a great resource in their City Forester, Jeremy. He would be the best place to start with any questions you have about trees and has a super column in the Leaf Chronicle on Thursdays. Many cities have foresters, and those of us in the county can gain help from the extension agents or even Citizen Foresters.

Another important fact about trees is that some studies have shown they can increase a home's value by as much as 10%! This does not even factor into account the energy cost savings trees can provide in the form of shade and evaporative cooling in the atmosphere.

Developers and utility companies as well as the general public are just now beginning to understand the importance of trees and are implementing ISA standards for care. I will talk more on good trees for planting in this area and some of the effects the drought has had on trees (as if you couldn't notice already) in a later entry. For now, I just want to say the next time you are hot and seeking shade under a tree; look up and appreciate that tree for the great thing it is and the many benefits it provides to society. Right tree-Right place!

in the garden....


  1. Our entire front yard is full of trees (several hundred) that we leave to nature. So many animals utilize those trees and we never do anything to the front woods. We have cut a few pesky sweet gums (I hate those gum balls) and dying (from pesky pine beetle) pine trees. We had to remove several healthy trees due to the placement of the boat shed. I hated to cut those trees but we needed the shelter and in the end that is where my flower garden is located so I guess it was meant to be.

    When growing up as a child in Clarksville, we had one of the most beautiful Gingko trees in our front yard. It was the most beautiful golden color in the fall and the leaves would all fall at the same time! Those things weighed a ton when raking them but they were so much fun to jump into when raked into a pile! The current homeowners of that property about destroyed the tree when they topped it years ago! We left that house about 23 years ago and I think to this day, my parents still drive by in the fall to check on the color of that old tree….

    Here in Georgia (Go Vols Ha ha) we see some of the most beautiful old oak trees. They have been around for hundreds of years. Unfortunately some of them are diseased and we loose them occasionally due to a bad storm with high wind gust. The huge old magnolias are another of my favorites here in GA….

  2. It is wonderful to have trees around your house. I have never seen a Ginkgo tree but would love to. They are highly recommended trees by my instructor in school. Of course, only the male because the female produces a smelly fruit. Important note: People complain about pollen and allergies then we plant only the pollen producing trees which only add to our miseries! Ironic.

    My favorite large tree is of course the oak. I am glad you have some and too bad about losing them. When you come up here you will notice many grand old magnolias in stress and I think they may not recover this year. It is soooo sad. You just cannot buy a mature tree.

  3. We noticed how several huge magnolias were lost to the three week heat wave in Aug. They were planted new along a new housing development and planted at the worse time possible! They had the water sprinklers in place but for some reason or another, some did not make it through the heat-wave. I am sure they paid close to $1000 each for those huge trees! What a sad loss.... We have also noticed how some established trees and other plants were lost to the heat-wave and drought. It has been reported that our lake is now 10 feet below normal so we need the rain down here in GA…

  4. Tina, Skeeter, we did the same thing when we were weeee little tots. Rack the leaves up into a big pile and jump into them. Must of the time we would jump from a brick wall into the leaves. When we could get a large pile of leaves we racked them over to the barn, and have a good old time. I think the trees were Oak. At the time it seems as the trees went all the up to the sky.

    When I moved to Clarksville, there was one tree in the front yard. I have since planted about 15 trees. I like the evergreen trees on the side of the house I planted. They were about 15 in. tall when I got them. Now they are about 10 feet tall. They are slow growing. But they look good.

  5. I can see it now, Dragon and Smokey hiding behind the evergreens waiting for some unsuspecting Damsel to walk by the house. They jump out and grab her and toss her into the leaf pile! Sorry, could not resist that thought…..

    I wonder if kids today still rake leaves and jump into them….?... Probably not as they have better things to do. If I had children, I would show them the fun in raking a leaf pile so high you could jump from the roof top! I think such silly things are important in a child’s life. I think kids are too busy today and need to slow down at times. No expensive toy could ever replace my memories of playing in the leaves!

  6. Skeeter, you stole my thought! I too was wondering if anyone ever raked leaves anymore? My son doesn't get into jumping into the piles I rake so maybe children are missing this fun? We all need to show them how to have fun outside by jumping into leaves!

    What kind of trees did you plant Dragon? Don't you just love planting trees and having the pleasure of watching them grow and knowing you made it happen? Who is Smokey?

  7. Smokey is Dragons "Alter Ego" He pops up on the Pet People Blog at times. Some people bird watch, my cats deer watch, well, Dragon and Smokey girly girl watch at Hooters. Okay Dragon I am telling your secrets here.. Come and defend yourself.... Tee hee

  8. Tina, well I not sure what kind of trees I have. Must were marked down at the end of the selling season. Lets see if I can remember now.
    Three Peach Trees, Two of the Peach Trees didn’t make it. Now I have one Peach Tree that want have Peaches.
    Two Sweet Gum. And they are doing Fine. They are as tall as the house. I wanted them because they were quick growing.
    Two other types, not sure what they are. I have to ask Wifey-Poo see if she remembers.
    12 Evergreen trees. Don’t know the specific type. They are cone shape, thick and full. They were all planted at the same time and range in height of 4 feet, to 9 feet.
    3 other type of evergreen.

    Skeeter no defending myself with Smokey being my “Alter Ego”. He is what I am and I am what he is. Smokey is a Babe Hound, and loves to ride in the Babe Mobil. He goes with me to must places I go. I take him with me when I play Golf. I stick him in the golf bag. He sits right on top beside my driver peering out. Some time he dose fall out, and yes Skeeter I have to go back and find him. It is easy to spot that UT Orange.

  9. Dragon, you are like me with picking plants... Get what is on sell and looks pretty.. I don’t remember most of the things I have but in time figure them out, that is if they survive.... I hope you did not get the type of Sweet Gums that we have or you will have those balls running out your ears one day! I hate them things. They dull the mower blade and are a pain to rake up! You can come down here and take all my gum trees you want! I don’t mind cutting them down and have two on my list for this winter.... Speaking of winter, I see y'all are going to be a cool one tomorrow (Thursday). We will be about 10-degrees higher, perfect in my book! Humidity has finally gone to the ocean too.. yeah, fall is here and now I can put up my fall display in the woods!

    Yep Smokey is a cutie.

  10. Hi Dragon,
    Sounds like you planted a bunch of nice trees. I am like Skeeter and do not like Sweet Gums trees but they do grow fast and they are rumored to have beautiful fall foliage. Have yours begun to change yet? Skeeter sent me some nice pictures of fall color in the mountains which I need to post and here sometime. Fifteen trees are a lot of trees. You are a UT fan? and occasionally lose your alter ego? LOL

    Skeeter, it has definitely cooled off up here but that is ok, I mean it is October! It is a shame about those grand old magnolias and I bet you are right about how much the contractor paid for them. So sad as you can't replace mature trees. Most guys girly girl watch at Hooters-just ask the guys in my family-including my 13 year old son! It took me a minute or two to understand what you were saying. Too many secrets maybe...maybe not!

  11. Our Gum trees have never been too pretty with color but in my opinion, in the 7 years we have lived in GA, I have only seen one pretty fall year! The Gums basically get a brown speckled yellow and not very pretty at all but I hate them so much I probably am over looking some pretty to them...

    Sorry for the confusion Tina. Dragon and I are buds from the Pet People Blog and we have met twice at different Pet People Get-togethers so we may get a bit out of control at times. Be patient with us and check in with the Pet Talk at times and maybe that will explain us a bit... And believe me, there are not many secrets with Dragon, myself and other pet people. We do “Tell All” from Hot-tubs to Strip clubs! LOL… I will email you and catch you up a bit one day… Dont worry Dragon, I will not tell ALL your secrets... tee hee