Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Monday, September 24, 2012

A Tale of Two (New) Trees!

Remember the two trees I took out? And the bomb crater that they left behind, in which I've been toiling for weeks now, digging out rocks and roots, and moving perennials?

I finally got the bed ready, took out all the big roots, and lots of smaller ones as well. A couple of weeks ago Nigel and I traveled up to Big Trees in Snohomish and picked out two new ones.

So what did I choose?

A Paperbark Maple.

And a 'Forest Pansy' Redbud.

This past weekend Nigel dragged out our little electric tiller, and we worked 33 bags of compost into the soil, making it all fluffy. The compost basically disappeared immediately into the sandy soil. I'm hoping it will maybe attract a few earthworms, because one thing I noticed while digging and crawling around on my hands and knees in that bed -- there are no earthworms there. None.

All tilled and ready for trees
My crop of rocks

More small rocks

Amazingly, this pile of rocks also came out of that bed.

And these as well.

And when they planted the trees, they dug up even more rocks!

We went back to Lowe's the next day and bought three more bags of compost, which I'll be working into the soil whenever I plant my shrubs and perennials there. I will undoubtedly need more.

On Monday, with the bed all prepped, a work crew from Big Trees arrived to plant my trees.

We sorted out where they should go, and the crew started digging.

When they had gone as far as they could by hand, they used the forklift to dig even more.
They hauled the redbud off the truck with the forklift

After they set it on the grass, they had to get up into the branches to cut out all the rope that was wrapped around the canopy.

He stood on the forklift tines and was lifted up into the canopy.

Then they stood it upright, and I walked around it deciding which way I wanted it oriented in the bed.

They picked it up again and moved it into the hole.

Then they placed the paperbark maple

They cut away all the ropes and cloth holding the rootball together, and then backfilled the hole halfway with some well-rotted horse manure which they had brought with them, then watered it well, and filled it the rest of the way.
They attached guy wires (actually ropes) and pounded them into the ground. In a year, after it is well-established, I'll remove them. They also added some mycorrhizae to the soil (in the white bucket) to encourage root growth.

The supervisor helped me set up the soaker hoses, including tightening all the faucet and hose connections so there were no leaks (except the ones that should be leaking), and programming it to come on automatically.

Now I just need to get out there and start planting the empty spaces with shrubs and perennials. Good thing Fall is here, with its cooler weather and promised rain. That should help both the trees and all the new plants get well-established.


  1. Wow...what a transformation! I love your choices...they are both such gorgeous trees!

  2. wow Alison, BIG trees!!! I am very impressed at the size. Love your choices. Beautiful trees.

  3. Two of my favourites, and big 'uns, too. You lucky lassie, you!

  4. It looks as though they do a very good job, and you have done the best preparation you could have. I am amazed that they can move such mature trees. Lovely specimens - that peeling bark is awesome!

  5. Very cool! THey'll do well with the preparation you gave them. And you don't have to buy any landscape rocks for a long, long time. It is a wonder how many rocks surface with every turn of the soil.

  6. It is so nice that you were able to put such large trees in so the space is filled again. You will surely have so much fun getting the area at the base of them all green again!...Love that paperbark maple, I have seen those before and wondered what they were. xo

  7. WOW! You don't fool around! Great tree choices & so exciting that you have a big nearly empty planting area & can take advantage of all the fall sales. Can't wait to see what it looks like in spring! Congratulations on the two new additions!

  8. I thought only the parks department and big time developers went in for planting 'real trees'. I'm more than impressed with your go for broke approach.

  9. What an ordeal - so interesting to see how they go about planting such large trees. We have two River Birch clumps in our back yard and love the paper like bark they have - they add a different texture to the yard. All that area for planting makes me excited for you. Nothing more fun than planning out a new bed. Have you decided what all you want to plant?

  10. Wow...those ARE big amazing! Your neighbors are so lucky to have you next door.

  11. Oh my! You don't mess around when you buy trees. They are beautiful. What an improvement.

  12. Holy wow! those are enormous! What an amazing process. Can't wait to see the Redbud in spring.

    Interesting that all the rocks you dig out are rounded. Here all the rocks that come out of the ground are angular with a few round ones thrown in. Our property is on a hill of debris that was left over from the last glacier.

  13. Look at those big trees! I hope they do well there. I like those rocks, but am glad I don't have to dig them out in order to garden.

  14. The Redbud is going to be a beauty. Not a tree that grows well here but I love it just the same. Yours rocks remind me of my sister's garden. If there was a market for rocks she would be very rich. Sure makes it harder to garden though.

  15. Yes to the paperbark maple and yes to the Forest Pansy redbud, two of my favorite trees. And boy, did you get some nice specimens. I am glad to see how well they were planted, very professional and careful. I have one of each of these trees, but mine are little, planted by me from containers, and they have a long way to go before they even approximate the size and presence of your two beautiful new trees. You'll love them. Nice piles of rocks there too.

  16. Those are some good-sized trees! They look great.

  17. This comment has been removed by the author.


Gardening is a solitary activity. But blogging about it is a social phenomenon! I don't make money from my blog by advertising, or use it to drive customers to a business. If you liked my post, or my writing or photography, or even just one picture or turn of phrase, I'd love to hear from you. That's how I get paid.