Last winter, I read a book called The Global Forrest by Diana Beresford–Kroeger. A botanist and medical biochemist Beresford-Kroger is expert on the medicinal, environmental, and nutritional properties of trees. I have never read a book quite like this one. B-K lives in Ontario, Canada, surrounded by rare and endangered species she writes with poetic insight about the American forest that surrounds her. “In a forest the best mother trees are the healthiest and the more mature. Often they are the largest also. These are the trees that that have learned the tricks of the trade in living. These trees carry the best card for genetic deliverance in an adaptable light- and climate control enzyme system.”
Mother trees grow up at the forest edge where they can be pollinated easily by a wide range of trees throughout the forest.
I have been looking at a great oak tree at the edge of my wood recently. At the skirt of the tree are many saplings which are easy to identify at this time of year because Oaks old and young, hold onto their leaves much longer than other deciduous trees. I have taken a few small saplings to transplant into an area of my garden that is begging for some large specimen trees. These ‘children’ will have the light and space to grow into wide trunked tall canopied trees that illuminate our landscape with their rusty foliage at this time of the year. By picking such a large healthy mother tree I hope I am insuring that the next generation of trees will have the best chance at producing a similar quality. In our global garden, when forests are clear cut, future generations are deprived the best off spring of all the most glorious of our trees.
Don – How quickly of you expect the Oaks to grow? (I know… I’m sounding impatient.) Per
That little sapling was not planted for my generation though in 10 years it will look like a tree. You have some great trees around your house and I bet there are some saplings growing near them. If you want a tree for you then you should buy one in a nursery that is 2-3″ caliber. That said I have to say I get more pleasure form planting saplings than larger trees because when they do bolt its impressive! When you buy a large tree its roots have been severally cut.. That cutting of the roots will set a tree back for many years. It will take 3-4 years for the roots to establish themselves. But when you plant a young tree it really puts roots down right away and grows a lot each year. I like to plant both small and a few larger trees.
“A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.” –Greek proverb
You are an inspirational writer as well as gardener. Thank you for this resource. I will pass it on to my Garden Club which has a tree program and is propagating trees for Houston.