Unwrapping the Arborvitae

 

Today my big outdoor project was to remove the burlap from the arborvitae. We put in these three evergreens last fall as part of our ongoing attempt to replace the 100-year-old White Oak Trees that had to come down as part of the flood extension ditch digging project.

Drying the burlap nthe fence USE

The giant roll of burlap drying on the garden fence.

I’m always trying to find a way to gain more privacy in front of our home and to create more of a sound barrier from the traffic that flies by in the summer months. Beauty wind break come into play here as well. Trees and evergreen are one way to do just that.

We planted them 8 to 10 feet apart because the plan is to eventually build a lattice type panel to fit in between each of the evergreens to create even more privacy.

Unwrapped in front of house USE

Arborvitae at the Small House Homestead on a cold March day.

The nursery we bought them from recommended that we wrap them in burlap for the winter months because we can at times get quite a bit of wind roaring down 109th right off of Lake Michigan. So between the heavy snow fall here, deer and the winds, we decided to protect our investment by wrapping them.

Wrapped close USE

Looking a little like ghosts the evergreens wrapped in burlap.

In case you are not familiar with arborvitae, they are a North American and eastern Asian evergreen coniferous tree of the cypress family. They are native to the northeastern United States and eastern Canada. They are hardy, require little maintenance, prefer a cool climate and alkaline soil.

An evergreen with scale-like leaves, arborvitae (Thuja) is a popular choice for hedges because of its tall, narrow growth habit. It can also be used as a focal point in a mixed border of shrubs and flowers and is frequently used in foundation plantings. They can range as high as 20 to 30 ft. tall and have a 12 ft. spread depending on the species.

Trees close unwrapped USE

Unwrapped and ready to face the spring.

I did my standard soil prep two years in advance using 6″ to 8″ of bark chips to break down the sod and to begin to amend the soil. I’ll dog out any weeds that may have come back and add more bark chips this June as well.

I actually preferred planting the larger White Pines which will get very large in size and provide an even great screening from the roadway but I have to be careful about planting easy-to-catch fire plants too close to my home. So this was a compromise.

Burlap in a bag

Stored in soccer mom Ziplock bags for the summer.

Today while Gene worked on the fencing project, I unwrapped the evergreens, dried the burlap on the fence and then rolled the burlap up for summer storage. I used two of a giant-size Ziplock bag meant to use with my large handmade paper canvas artwork because the size was just right. I think they were meant for soccer moms to hold balls in the back of the trunk of the minivan but they work great for large canvas’ of artwork too.

One more project checked off the busy spring to do list!

Small House Homestead and native gardener, Donna

A Homesteader Can’t Plant too Many Trees

There is no one Arbor Day on our Homestead. We plant trees both spring and fall here.

This fall we planted five more 6 foot tall trees on our Small House property. Two are White Pines and three are Arborvitae. It seems like we are always planting one kind of tree or another. Mostly we plant them for screening from the busy roadway outside of our home but trees, as you know, give us so many more other benefits too.

East pines USE

These White Pines will help to screen noise, traffic and pollution from the roadway to our home.

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

Because we have lean, sandy, oak savanna forest soil here we work hard to amend our soil before we plant, sometimes as much as two years in advance. We typically add a lot of compost to the soil mix, either my own homemade compost or well-rotted horse manure compost we haul home from a friends horse farm. We top dress each tree with several inches of bark chips on top after it is planted and watered in.

Bark chips strip only USE

This is the strip of bark chips we readied over two years ago to help our soil along, pre-planting.

Evergreens Genes back USE

The row of arborvitae will help to screen the front of our home from the traffic on this two lane roadway.

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 our homestead because we know in our hearts this action is the right thing to do. This is green living and right-action on behalf of our community.

 Four pines to east USE

Eventually these White Pines will grow to create a living screen.

Picket fence pines newly planted USE

This planting bed sits alongside of our gravel driveway and provides a barrier between out roadway and our home.

We plant trees for Mother Nature and the good of our earth community. Excuse me while I go out and water my new trees!

Blessings from The Small House Homestead.