Tuesday, June 13, 2006

About the tree

Once John and Nadine had given the gift/promise of the tree the other week, discussion ensued.

A tree's a commitment.
A tree's a statement (of the best kind).
A tree might, with care and nature's good graces, well-outlast me, my children, their grandchildren...
There's tree lore and tree stories. Mention The Giving Tree - folks look wistful, as if remembering they meant to be a better person.

And, I realize, I know beans about trees. Loppers in hand, I've been consulting my grandmother's 1968 edition of How to Prune Just About Everthing, gleaning some of the big picture from its chapter "Why We Prune", specifics via the "Remedial and Corrective Pruning" section. I feel both in control and, more often, utterly overwhelmed.

I've been studying Central Park's trees, the trees along R's new 70th Street block.
I recalled trees I've known but in a strange new light of acquisitiveness. (Like finding out you can afford a Van Gogh.)
With John and Nadine's help, we eliminated the Baobob.

Ultimately, and with direction from John, we landed on the Tulip. In the short space Saturday of picking her, transporting her (slowly along 9G), uprighting her, digging for her and nesting her into my soil, I think we all fell a little for her.

I'll keep you updated, we'll chart her growth, but here's a little on her family (a fine one).

Yellow-poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera), also called tuliptree, tulip-poplar, white-poplar, and whitewood, is one of the most attractive and tallest of eastern hardwoods.

It is fast growing and may reach 300 years of age...

Yellow-poplar has a singly occurring, perfect flower 4 to 5 cm wide (1.5 to 2 in), with six petals varying in color from a light yellowish green at the margin to a deep orange band at the center...

(fine figure)
The mature yellow-poplar has a striking appearance. In forest stands its trunk is very straight, tall, and clear of lateral branches for a considerable height.

(exemplary rooting habits)
Yellow-poplar has a rapidly growing and deeply penetrating juvenile taproot, as well as many strongly developed and wide-spreading lateral roots. It is considered to have a "flexible" rooting habit, even in the juvenile stage.

More romantically- by a nursery man, smitten in Illinois:

"One of the most magnificent and valuable trees in North America is the
Tulip Tree...the "gentleman of the forest" -- and a gentleman of distinction -- is the tulip tree.
It is the tallest of our native broad-leaved trees and, with the
exception of the sycamore, the largest. Its clean straight trunk, often
free from any branches for two-thirds of its total height, towers aloft
like a Corinthian column. In the spring it has showy tulip-like flowers.
Every feature of this tree is unusual."

C - caretaker of the tree: mulched her sunday, watered deeply today and was busy about yard so deer kept distance.

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