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Putting down roots



Our back lawn is very big and very nice, but it’s lacking something….. trees. Our neighbors on either side have lots of trees (you can see some of them in the photo, flaking our lawn) and we have very few. That’s because the previous owners cut them all down. Perhaps to avoid raking?

Since we also have soggy spots, Teague’s dad suggested a willow tree. They grow very fast and will soak up the extra water. I did some research, and apparently they should grow fine in the clay soil. I have always loved willows; they are such graceful trees. They were apparently popular during the Victorian era because of their unique shape. I’ve been warned that raking their thin little leaves is a pain, but I think the benefits (shade, beauty, and less mud pits in the lawn) are worthwhile.

We’ll need to plant far away from underground pipes, as willows are infamous for digging their roots into sewer lines. They grow to be 30′-40′ high and can spread 35′ or more.

If you’re looking to plant trees in your lawn, the National Arbor Day Foundation’s tree guide is a great place to learn about different species.

Comments, Thoughts, and Feedback

Kasmira had this to say on 04.15.05:

I planted a sweet bay magnolia. They are supposed to do great in clay soil, are hardy in my zone (6), and have great smelling flowers. While probably won’t soak up water, you might consider one as a specimen tree.

Jess had this to say on 04.15.05:

Oh wow, so much space! A willow would be great and beautiful. And you could harvest branches (at some point in the future when its big and tall) to build things.

Do y’all set out veggies? I looked at that wide open space and sighed–we barely have enough sun for some garlic and old-fashioned tomatoes… :-(

Jocelyn had this to say on 04.15.05:

Looks like you have a nice sized yard! One word of caution, I wouldn’t plant the willow too close to your house. They grow fast but they are also kind of weaker trees that can have branches blow off and hurt your roof- of course this wouldn’t happen for years to come- but if one can avoid these things…
I am a big fan of evergreens because they give winter color.

mindy had this to say on 04.15.05:

Kasmira – Oooh, I love blossoming magnolia trees. So pretty. That will look great in your yard. Good idea!

Jess – No veggie garden this year since we’re so busy with other things, but next year I would definitely like to start one. I go through produce like a mad woman. Some home grown cukes and tomatos would be awesome, and we have plenty of room to plant.

Jocelyn – Thanks for the advice :)

Jerry Lummis had this to say on 04.15.05:

Mindy, I had a weeping willow out back and it was a pain to not only rake up the leaves, but I was constantly picking up hundreds of twigs that always fell and then seem to want to bury themsleves into the grass. Made for a lot of bending over and hand picking. Especially the worst after a winter.

mindy had this to say on 04.18.05:

Hmmm – Thanks Uncle Jerry, that definitely gives me more to think about.

Red Maples and Sugar Maples are supposed to be good for wet areas too – maybe one of those would be a better option. Either would make for beautiful fall foliage. They drop leaves like crazy too, but they are big leaves – easier to rake. In fact, I’m pretty sure a few of the neighbor’s trees are maple, because that’s what I raked up all last weekend.

Gary had this to say on 04.18.05:

I think some pigeons would look great in your back yard! With or without trees……
I have a couple you can have!

mindy had this to say on 04.19.05:

Gary – You cannot pawn those nasty pigeons off on me!

I had pigeon trouble at one of my old apartments – man, can those things make some noise when they want to. Unfortunately, it seems they’re nearly impossible to get rid of without either a gun or a deadly chemical…… uggh. Maybe a few more cats could help with the situation? :)

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