Return of the Native - About Us
Sep 20

The Norway Maple: Not a good tree

These days, the Norway Maple doesn’t show up on lists of the best tree to plant in your back yard. Arborists don’t recommend it. In fact, most positively discourage it.

“It’s a ‘bad guy’ - number one in our black book,” says Tobias Effinger, owner of Arboreal Tree Care, a Thornbury-based arboriculture firm.

But the tree – which goes by the botanical name Acer platanoides - is widely available from nurseries and is popular with homeowners for its tolerance of urban conditions and the attractive foliage, from deep purple to variegated, of many of its cultivars.

What else is in the black book? I ask him as we wander through the Collingwood Arboretum, a lovely lakefront park where he is the arborist in charge.
Nothing, he replies.

In fact, Effinger is a man who has a good word for almost any tree, even those like the White Poplar Populus alba, Black Locust Robinia pseudoacacia, or Manitoba Maple Acer negundo that are often dismissed as invasive or weed trees.

But not for the Norway Maple.
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Sep 20

Tree to human: don't take my leaves

A little dialogue from September 2020 - reposted for its timeliness!

Tree - What are you doing down there?

Human - Tidying.

Tree - That’s my stuff, leave it alone, I’m going to need it.

Human - Why did you drop it on the ground if you need it?

Tree - That’s where I want it to be.

Human - Don’t be ridiculous.
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Aug 10

Un-gardening: Let nature create beauty at the cottage

The sun is already well up in the sky, the bright light rippling off the water. An angler’s boat chugs quietly across the inlet. It’s still early for the constant drone of summer traffic. A soft breeze gently stirs the air.

I’m visiting an island on Stoney Lake (or is it Stony Lake?), relaxing in the dappled shade of mature white pine, red oak and red maple, tall trees many decades old, quite close together and because of that, with no branches for 20 feet or more - the view is perfectly framed.

The cottage is nestled among outcrops of ancient rock, the great grey and pink forms crowned with moss and splashed with lichens. I examine a small plant community, a foot across, nestled in a slight depression at the base of an oak – Wintergreen Gaultheria procumbens, Canada Mayflower Maianthemum canadense, Lowbush Blueberry Vaccinium augustifolium and tiny seedlings of Eastern Hemlock Tsuga canadensis and Red Maple Acer rubrum.
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