When the trees were delivered, after much planning, agreements, meetings etc., they arrived having been dug from the nursery, loaded on to the flatbed. It was the hottest time of the year. No one could have predicted, or changed that fact. Those conditions put them under stress before they even arrived. After being unloaded, and carefully kept moist,they were then planted one at a time, again in the heat of the day, the roots exposed to strong sun. Despite the dedicated attention of many to keep them again moist during the process, this too stressed the trees. They were planted in new soil unfamiliar to them. This TOO stressed the trees. Why were they under such stress? They are living things! And also, with root damage and stress, the upper part of any plant also is stressed, often showing as leaf loss, and partial die back.
So now as you look at the trees, some have bare branches, (only a few), some have shown a few brown leaves, both signs of stress. And some times these effects arise a couple of weeks after planting.
The trees were now in place, and the next CRITICAL operative measures, came down to one word, and still does–WATER!
And with that, a team of dedicated organizers and many volunteers, is now in place to assure the best attention to the alameda and its two rows of “Fall Fiesta” Sugar maples– each tree having been purchased by private citizens and businesses, mostly local, but some from afar as well, specifically England and the U.S.
And to assure everyone that the trees are getting the best attention possible, a team of local volunteering and retired professionals is dutifully assuring the watering and overall care of each tree. Ed Lawrence ( CBO, Radio Noon Gardening guru!), Dr. Ron Ayling (Forestry, U of T), Allan Goddard(Almonte Landscape Services, Biologist) and Scott Hortop ( Senior Soil Carbon Advocate), have taken on the maintenance chores, with the many other valued volunteers, and we all enjoy coming out at various times to water and see that all is well! Everyone takes part in setting up the pump and hose at the river, filling tubs,, and then up to the trail to give each tree at least 2-3 gallons of water, every 2-3 days, depending on any rainfall, cloudy, or sunny days. Sometimes they will get a 5-gallon bucket! Incidentally, this is the best water the trees will appreciate–warm and somewhat nutritional. Special thanks go to Deputy Mayor Minnillie, and Councilor Ferguson, for their watering and transport respectively, as well as various individuals who have volunteered with their own tubs, and trucks, not to mention the numerous bucket carriers who come along to help deploy the water to all the trees.
And finally, we have noticed very promising strength and growth in the upper crowns of every tree. Cautious optimism at this point, as it is still relatively early after planting, but that sign alone is good, overshadowing any drawbacks. The trees were also fed with a dilute application of appropriate fertilizer, specifically suitable for root development.
We all enjoy our watering ventures, and if you are out on the trail in the evening, and see us passing buckets around, ask to do a tree or two, and you too can feel having been part of a fun project, which after only 2-3 years from now, will be showing signs of the true alameda! Ken McRitchie, who had a vision, and Stephen Brathwaite who with much determination and effort made that vision what it is today, can be proud!
The Alameda Team