Planting trees

Yesterday my daughter and I participated in the Alameda/Hollywood/Irvington/Grant Park/Sabin neighborhood Friends of Trees street tree planting in our part of town.  I have not planted with FOT for 8 or 9 years, since my oldest son was 3 or 4 years old.  Long overdue to get back to it! These events are full of fun, food, community outreach and connection opportunities, and everyone is happy and feeling good, because planting trees just does this for a human being.

When I first approached the topic with my daughter, I wasn’t sure she would engage with the idea right away. I have a memory from many years ago, before I had children and when I was a regular crew leader with FOT.  A fellow volunteer was so enchanted and uplifted by the participation of a young child who took pride in her role as “keeper of the worms.”  I knew my daughter could also fulfill this duty with pleasure.  She considers herself to be a great friend and ally of worms since her preschool teacher introduced her and classmates to worms before the age of 2 years old.  Naomi assured me she would go plant trees with me, “I will protect the worms.”


Here are the trees ready to be unloaded, 12 in all for our group at 3 (or was it 4?) separate addresses in the Sabin neighborhood.


I was interested in the types of trees being planted, different from the ones that were common 10-20 years ago.  I remember planting a lot of Blireiana plums, Crimson Sentry Norway maples, ornamental crab apples, Golden desert ash, and Goldenchain trees.  Paperbark maple, Acer griseum, was popular and Japanese snowbell, Styrax japonica, was becoming so.  Our trees yesterday consisted of:

Cornelian cherry dogwood, Cornus mas, — which was new to me, check out the cheerful yellow flower buds on the specimens in the truck bed

Ironwood (Parrotia persica, I love saying it out loud)

Douglas hawthorn, Crataegus douglasii — a native –(surprising to see those sizable thorns on a street tree!)

and a completely new tree for me, Heptacodium miconioides, Seven-Son Flower, which has this very interesting peeling bark.  I snapped a few photos of tags so I wouldn’t forget the names of the unfamiliar ones.



The first tree of the morning is watered after planting.  Next to come are staking, tying twine, and adding labels. (Notice the young worm keeper to the left.)


Once trained, the volunteers go to work unloading trees, cutting the twine from branches, preparing holes to correct depth, and getting trees into the ground.


Our crew was led by Sam and Irek (in orange vests), who expertly and amiably demonstrated planting techniques and supervised our work. The photo shows them doing exactly what crew leaders should be doing: supervising the volunteers who they trained — good job!


Check out the color of the sky, people! And too warm to wear a jacket.  You can’t get luckier than this for tree planting weather!  (And today it’s cool and wet, good for the new trees!) Our work is done, and we are ready to return to the gathering place for a huge, delicious potluck lunch and friendly conversation.  Thank you for a fantastic experience, Friends of Trees — see you again soon!  My 12-year-old son asked me if there will be a planting next weekend after I told him about the donuts, juice, croissants, bagels, and fantastic lunch provided afterwards!


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5 Responses to Planting trees

  1. Gypsy Tucker says:

    It’s great to know good friends are planting new trees in my city. I’m so glad you were blessed with that beautiful weather!

  2. Julie Fukuda says:

    One of the things I love to see in Portland, is the variety of trees on one city block. Here in Tokyo they tend to plant all the same species along both sides of the street. Of course the row of golden ginkgos lining a fall street or an arc of Zelkova branches creating a tunnel along the boulevard can be quite lovely but even so, when they plant something that doesn’t do well, a row of half-dead and dying trees is not a happy sight.
    I understand that in Japan, trees like zelkova, trident maple, platanus, and crape myrtle that shed their bark do better because the pollution they take in is stored and shed in the bark.
    Good jobs protecting those worms, Naomi! Love the pictures.

  3. Marie says:

    Great post! I’m interested in the hawthorn. Here in Boston, we’veplanted a variety called Crataegus crus-galli “Inermis”, which is thornless. The FOT program looks very interesting!

  4. Mom, that’s an interesting subject – variety vs. boulevard plantings of single species. I’m interested in both. Not far from my house, there is a “linear arboretum” along NE Ainsworth Street – lots of different species. But I also love the visual effect in the long row of ornamental cherries along Waterfront Park downtown. Gypsy, I seem to remember running into you at a tree planting, volunteering with your former employer, PGE? Never too late to join back up. Marie, I would think thornless is a good thing for a tree with eye level branches as you get in and out of your parked car…

  5. Pingback: Slides From One Sunny Saturday … | Growth Rings

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