Thursday, June 7, 2012

Suckling at Big Government's Teat

If you frequent our blog you may remember that last year we had several incredible rainfalls that flooded our little gully and eroded many cubic yards of our farm.  I don't know whether the torrents that affected our region of upstate played a role in the county Soil and Water Conservation Service securing grants for stream bank stabilization, or whether these things just "come through" periodically.

I do know that last winter Alanna caught wind of the possibility of said grant and added our names to the list of potential projects should the money arrive.  Well, arrive it did, in the form of a crew of guys with weed whackers, landscape fabric, plastic mesh tubes, stakes, and most importantly, tiny trees.  They spent three days working along the 1/3 mile of creek and planted willows, poplars,  red maples, red osier dogwoods - 600+ trees at the final count.

I wonder several things about our new trees.  What kind of mortality will see in the new plantation?  Why did they plant them 8 feet back from the bank when the idea is to "stabilize the stream bank"?  Will they come back and weed whack the grass around the saplings next year (just kidding I know they won't)?

So next time you feel the inclination to complain about the use and distribution of your tax dollars you can think of us because we just received a smidgen of a cent from you and every other American.  I see the potential benefit of riparian tree planting as benefiting everyone downstream of us, so I don't have compunctions about being on the receiving end of this project.  Your tax dollars at work!



  1. I'm certainly no expert, but I've never seen a planting like this. The two rows appear to be spaced very close together. Are you concerned about the canopies growing into each other as the tress mature?

  2. Did they plant them 8 ft back to give the root system that much space to expand into, and also to avoid the trees getting damaged by any flooding that might happen in their 'childhood'? And the rows do look close together--do they expect that some trees will not survive, or that you might thin out the planting at some point on purpose? Overall, though, that is SO AWESOME!!! What a gift!

  3. The rows are close together ~ 8 feet or so. I'm sure the canopy will close well before the trees are fully mature, and I'm not really sure what the rationale is for the spacing in any direction. The size of the twigs they planted makes me think they might expect pretty high mortality of the little guys this year... who knows...