Monday, May 08, 2006


It's raining again today, so I thought I'd share a nature lesson with you.

Last week one of my customers, and friend, mentioned that he was planting some tamaracks. I was amazed, as I had NEVER seen tamarack seedlings for sale. He bought them at the local DNR office. The seedlings came in a pack of 25. My friend had 12 seedlings left, and asked if I wanted them. YES!

My parents have a stand of tamaracks behind their cabin, and I've always loved their golden, fall beauty. Tamaracks are an oddity. They're a conifer that sheds its needles, in the fall, like a deciduous tree. The needles are green in the summer, and a lovely golden orange in the fall; as seen in the photo above.

Another plus is the habitat of the tamarack, which according to the DNR is:"Cold, wet/moist, poorly drained sites such as swamps, bogs, and muskeg; stream, lake, and swamp edges; and occasionally uplands. Boreal forests in wet, poorly drained sphagnum bogs and muskegs, also on moist upland mineral soils; It thrives on acidic, poorly drained soils and does not tolerate warmer climates or dry substrates." Well, that describes our yard to a T!

Tamarack seedlings need to be planted in full sun. In addition you want to plant them where they'll blend into their surroundings in the winter. After losing their needles in the fall, they look a lot like Charlie Brown's Christmas tree.

I found 5 perfect spots to plant my seedlings, at the edge of our yard. This worked out perfectly as I only had 6 tomato cages left. Tomato cages, you ask? L is affectionately known as the "mad mower" in our family. After mowing over 19 of the 20 lilac bushes I planted, and ALL of SME's "Earth Day trees", I discovered that strong, wire tomato cages are the only way to shelter tree seedlings from our "mad mower".

The remaining 7 seedlings, I will plant in the wooded area of our yard, where L doesn't mow. That is if it ever quits raining and contributing to our "cold, wet/moist, poorly drained site".


At 5/08/2006 5:52 PM, Blogger Notta Wallflower said...

Those are very pretty. They don't have trees like that around here. It makes me miss the trees in Washington State. The mountains and trees in CA are just not the same. :-/

At 5/08/2006 5:57 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Yeah, they're strictly a northern tree. Ohio is about as far south as they go.

At 5/08/2006 8:24 PM, Blogger Squirl said...

Those are gorgeous. We have those in Michigan, no great surprise. But I didn't know all of that info on them. That was great, thanks!

At 5/08/2006 11:32 PM, Blogger scrunch said...

Love You...

....."The Mad Mower"

At 5/09/2006 7:09 AM, Blogger Laura said...

OOH very pretty - and HUGE

At 5/09/2006 4:55 PM, Blogger SME said...

Hope they grow well! Richard & I always "pet" the ones in the river valley; they feel almost furry, they're so soft. (It's kind of a good luck thing, too, like patting Buddha's belly.)
All the little trees around here are caged too - not because of The Mad Mower of Minnesota, of course, but because of the Angry Beavers.

At 5/09/2006 10:54 PM, Blogger Sadie Lou said...

Where I live, we have Pine, Redwood and Oak.

I like the Tamarack. Good color.

At 5/09/2006 11:26 PM, Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

You're so fortunate to have land where you can plant trees. We only have one spot where I want to stick a tree, and the septic tank is under it.

Notta - Take a trip to Muir Woods. Less than an hour from where you are. It's in Marin County. Plan on spending at least three or four hours hiking there. If you have the whole day, you can walk Muir Woods to Stinson Beach and if you're lucky, you can watch a sunset there (it's usually too foggy to see a decent one, but it's magical when it happens). California has the tallest tree in the world as well as the 2nd oldest (I think Nevada has the oldest).

At 5/10/2006 1:16 AM, Blogger Miranda said...

How neat! I didn't know there were conifers that did that!

At 5/10/2006 7:17 AM, Blogger Vancouver Voyeur said...

Gorgeous trees! I've always loved their color, but didn't know much else about them. My favorite trees, however, are the Madronas of the Pacific Northwest. Trees . . . mountains . . . hikes to the beach *sigh* Methinks I need a mountain fix soon. :-) Oh, check out what your last post caused me to do this weekend. I've included pictures of the trouble you stirred up on my blog. ;-)

At 5/10/2006 2:16 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Squirl, I know a little bit about a lot of dumb things. ;)


Laura, they grow slowly, so I don't think we'll live long enough to see them get huge.

SME, you're making that good luck part up; aren't you?

Sadie, you're in the pretty part of CA. I HATE palm trees!

ZS, I'll have to post on all the trees we've planted over the years. We had a blank slate when we moved here, and I'm proud of the way our landscaping has turned out.
I think we may have to cut one of our apple trees when the garage goes up. :(

Miranda, I should have posted a picture of the cones. They're pretty little rose shaped cones.

VV, we're planning on getting a "mountain fix" next year, in the Canadian Rockies.
Sure, blame me!! Now I have 2 more teenagers that hate me. ;)

At 5/10/2006 5:30 PM, Blogger SME said...

Well of course I'm making up the good luck thing - but that doesn't mean it won't work! :D

At 5/10/2006 8:44 PM, Blogger Candace said...

Kewl! I've never known anyone who has planted tamaracks, either. They were one of the first coniferous trees I could identify as a kid - but only in the fall, LOL!

At 5/11/2006 4:37 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

LOL, me too Candace.
My parents had some friends out at their cabin in the winter. They wanted to help my Dad cut down "that stand of dead pines", behind the cabin. They thought my Dad was kidding when he told them that those trees weren't dead.

At 5/12/2006 6:46 AM, Blogger greatwhitebear said...

I so love tamaracks. You see them some in the northern LP, and more often in the UP. They are such shapely trees, and so beautiful on an autumn canoe trip.

At 5/12/2006 6:48 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

GWB, I'm hoping they add some well-shaped fall color to our yard.

At 5/17/2006 8:11 PM, Blogger Bridget Jones said...

I love those trees. They are so beautiful in spring...mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!! Thanks for that post, tshsmom!!!


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