Shrine of the Pines

I am of the belief that a homesteader can’t plant too many trees.

VERT new pines plantedjpeg

One of the new White Pines we planted last week. This sits in a bed of bark chips to help keep the evergreens moist and to help it get well established.

This fall we planted five more, 6 foot tall trees on our SW Michigan Small House homestead property. We are a Zone 5b here and between the heavy snowfall, the roaring winds off of nearby Lake Michigan and the browsing deer, pines seem to be the optimal evergreens for us here.

Four pines to east USE

The privacy border to the east of our property. Eventually these pines will screen our home from the Class A road in front of our home.

Two of the new evergreens are White Pines and three are Arborvitae, situated nearer to the front of our home We are testing out these arborvitae, knowing they are finicky and that the deer love to eat them. We will have to wrap them in burlap for the winter – another fall chore Gene is not too happy about that.

Evergreens Genes back USE

The newest privacy bed located in front of the Small House will help to provide a barrier between our front picture window and the busy roadway.

It seems like we are always planting one kind of tree or another here. Last year we planted 50 baby White Pines through the County Extension program (around $26.00 for 50 trees) and two years ago we planted another 5 six-foot tall White Pines.

Bark chips strip only USE

Two years ago we put down bark chips in our planned planting area to help to prepare the soil. 

Three arborvite-house-blueskky USE

The newly planted arborvitae in front of The Small House in mid-September.



Gene directs our friend who works the tractor digging the hole and then placing the dogwood tree in that hole. This is the first time we have had help planting using a tractor – so much quicker. Usually we use our backs and hands to plant trees!

Last year we also replaced a small native dogwood in our bird feeding bed too after our flowering cherry died from the high ground water flooding.


The new flowering dogwood in bloom.


A burlap wrapped ball of the dogwood tree just before adding the compost and dirt..

It takes a White Pine approximately 75 years to grow to its mature height (75 ft.) and width (35-50 ft.).


Baby pine plantedj peg

The baby pines purchased from the County extension.

Mostly we plant trees for privacy from the busy roadway outside of our home but trees, as you know, give us so many other benefits too.

I know that we won’t live to see these trees mature in our lifetime but this is one of the things we do on out homestead because we know it is the right thing to do. We plant trees for Mother Nature and the Earth.

While it is recommended that homesteaders plant fruit tree their first year, we lost all but two of our small fruit trees in the big 2009-20012 flooding. So we will be starting that project over again. Next year’s plan is to plant heritage fruit trees in our orchard. I’d like a couple of apples, a peach and a pear tree. Gene would like a couple of fig trees as well. 

I plan to be very careful about species selection choosing only trees that are both heritage proven (that need no spraying) disease and blight resistant and the tree types that are propagated do well in our soil and climate.  I am researching our options this winter.

Small House Homesteader (and tree planter) Donna

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