Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Conservation Stewardship Program = Lots More Trees at our Place!

This past year we applied for the Conservation Stewardship Program through the Natural Resources Conservation Service and were awarded $1000 annually for five years to improve our fence row. This tree line marks the boundary between us and the farm to our west and currently houses lots of young sugar maples, dead ash thanks to the emerald ash borer, a few pin oaks and lots of invasive honeysuckle and multiflora rose. Steve is loving ridding the area of those problem plants and mincing the brush down into compact piles that provide nice cover for wildlife and don't grow to 20' tall.

After invasive removal, we cleaned up one of the old farm dumps. Much of it headed to the landfill, but most of the cool colored glass is waiting in boxes for tumbling and drilling by me this winter. I envision some tinkly sun-catcher mobiles that will connect us to the past of our little farmstead, while turning something ugly into something beautiful.

Pin oaks sprout like grass around here so we potted many of them up early in the season and added them to our CSP project.

They are such cute little things and will really benefit wildlife.

We bought a few trees from Five Springs Farm in Athens, OH at the Pawpaw Festival because we live in the Midwest and we, of course, must grow pawpaws!

We also purchased many trees and shrubs from Riverside Native Trees in Delaware, OH. They have a great selection and the owner is super friendly.

After this spring and early summer it's hard to believe, but we are dry as toast up here and have only received about 2 inches of rain this entire summer. Our soil is cracked and hard as a brick so we are hauling 5 gallon buckets of water to these new 50+ trees and shrubs. We also caged them all to keep the mischievous rabbits away.

It's a lot of work initially, but we are excited to sit back and watch as these plants grow and provide all sorts of food and shelter for the local wildlife. It's really incredible what we can all do on our own properties to benefit us and nature, whether it's a tiny city lot or hundreds of acres.

The Living Landscape by Ricke Darke & Doug Tallamy is a great read and visually stimulates and inspires. Doug Tallamy's Bringing Nature Home motivated us in truly profound ways to rethink our life, our role on this planet and our plantings, but it might be better for some as a follow up to The Living Landscape. This new book lets you see the beauty of the plants that grow naturally in the United States and how essential they are to the wildlife that live around us.

The entire premise for all this thoughtful planting is to preserve biodiversity and hence, preserve humankind. Pick up this book, read it, get inspired and plant. We are wowed every single day!


  1. Love your little owl friend...What a great gift of the Grant I know you r trees will flourish and become a great addition to your property!! On my little piece of the universe... I ordered some trees via the Forestry comm. in my area and planted 40 white pines on my wooded acreage about 15 yrs ago....they are now becoming full grown some died due to deer destroying them with the antler rubs....and 2 yrs ago planted 15 Eastern Cedars along my north Property line...Birds love to roost in cedar and waxwings love the berries. I also planted about 25 Leland Cypress they don't need as much water as other trees I have Never officially watered then since planting them 8 yrs ago...some are now 8 ft tall...Those were to provide a good barrier between the 2 homes on my property and it is working very well...
    Best of luck with your trees and hope you get some good fall rains.

    1. Hey lady! Awesome work with all that planting. We have lots of eastern red cedars popping up and the birds sure do love them! We got 0.75 inches this past week and are hoping for more this week. I think we are around 8-10 inches behind here. Yikes!

  2. SO inspiring as usual! I just put those books on hold at the library. I am slowly but surely getting a good collection of bottle caps!!

    1. I think you will love those books Michele! If we lived closer I would give you caps too. I can't wait to see your creation...I know it will be incredible!


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