by Neil Carleton
There’s much to discover on a hike along a trail, or a bike ride along a concession road. It’s important to stop from time to time so there are quiet opportunities to look around and listen.
The Birders on Bikes event back in June was a good example. Stopping to identify a flash of orange revealed a Baltimore oriole, the melody of a hidden red-eyed vireo, a profusion of wood anenome flowers, and a waft of heady spring fragrances on the breeze.
We also marveled at mature maples, oaks, and pines along the roadside. While most trees seem to grow better at some distance from their neighbours, it’s not uncommon to find them thriving close to steep rock outcrops, or next to buildings. Some grow right up against boundary markers. These are the fence eaters.
As trees grow, their trunks expand outwards. Beneath the bark a tree thickens by adding a thin ring of wood each year. The circumference of the trunk increases year by year as annual rings of new wood are added.
It’s a slow process but, cell by cell, the powerful outward growth of a tree trunk will overcome some formidable obstacles. Engulfing strands of wire fencing doesn’t pose much of a problem for trees in our area.
Do you have a notable or favourite tree? Readers are invited to submit their nominations for an honor roll of trees in our area that could be featured in future articles. You can contact me at 613-256-2018, <email@example.com>, or Neil Carleton, 3 Argyle Street, P.O. Box 1644, Almonte, Ontario, K0A 1A0. I look forward to hearing from you.
My volunteer columns started in March 2010, as print features, to support the tree planting and tree awareness initiatives of the Mississippi Mills Beautification Committee. The contact for the Tree Working Group is Ron Ayling, 613-256-4617. In Carleton Place, the contact for the Urban Forest / River Corridor Advisory Committee is Jim McCready, 613-257-5853.
Until the next column, you’ll find me looking for and hanging out with shady characters.