General Tree Commentary

First Tree

When we bought this place there was no vegetation, other than native.  
All the good stuff - red ants, sage brush, rabbit brush,  weeds up the wazoo.

The afternoon winds coupled with the little bundles of joy  next door
riding their dirt bikes nonstop coupled with obnoxious dogs made for miserable days.

The Neighbors

A wind break of some sort was the first priority and not knowing any better,
we had did our shopping through one of those discount plant catalogs.

Pictured on the very first page were these huge, lush green trees that were
supposedly a form of poplar that could grow fifty feet in five years!

We bought two of them and  that did not quite happen.  Part of it was our fault
because we did not have a reliable watering system, and we did not read the
fine print.  The trees were heavy feeders.

Pictured in the background is what is left of the original tree.  
In the foreground is a sucker off our oldest crabapple tree.  
I planted this in the spring of 2006.

Original Crab Apple

The sucker came from this tree, which was started as a seedling by a neighbor.

I don't know the specifics of this particular crab, but it is well suited for the climate.
It appears to be resistant to disease and is drought tolerant.

It puts out crab apples about the size of a nickel.

Malus Prairie Fire

For over a year I had to make monthly trips through central Iowa and at the rest stops
they had the most attractive crabs - scarlet flowers in the spring and red / green leaves
in the fall.  Small, persistent fruit.

A fellow traveler told me the trees were Malus Prairie Fire.  Won several awards in the
mid west too.

Think I could find any for sale in Iowa?  Heck no.  These came out of Oregon .

They were sold bare root and were planted in spring of 2005.  

They get plenty of water,  but they seem to be slow growers.


This is a Cottonwood that was started as a seedling. Its current location
is the result of poor planning, sort of.

I originally planted this tree about where the raised beds are now.

About  eight years ago the kids wanted to build a fish pond.  I said sure, but you have
to lay it out, dig it out and take care of the fish.  I was thinking a little kid's pool sized

Not quite.

They dug out a  figure eight shaped pond about 12 feet long and eight feet wide.  The
deepest part was about five feet .  I helped them level it.  We lined it with a tarp, filled it
with fish and away we went.

Since there was no shade at all, there was a major problem with algae.  I moved the
cottonwood to the east of the fish pond, where it is now.  All the leaves turned black
and I thought it died.  Pure laziness kept me from digging it out. One day it started budding
out again and then growth exploded.

That provided the shade, which cleared up by pond and also filled it up with leaves every fall.

Well, kids interests change so we ended up filling in the pond reworking the landscaping.

This tree will grow several feet in a year.  It  gets damaged by borers, but it is now big enough
where they are a more peripheral issue than anything.

Four or five years ago a borer got into the trunk, about eight feet from the top of the tree and
killed it.  It looked pretty bad and my wife said in an off hand manner that perhaps we should
take it out.  Sounded like a good idea to me, as I wanted  a tree out behind the Tamarisks instead
of in the middle of what is now the back yard.  It's not fun removing leaves from gravel.

Ten minutes later I had the sawzall out and was ready to get to work.  My wife ran out  with
a rather panicked look on here face and said she wasn't serious, she merely wanted the dead
eight feet cut out.  

I reluctantly complied and will have to admit she was right - the tree does look pretty good
Just not quite in the right place.

Scotch Pine

After thinking about it a bit, I think this Scotch Pine was actually the first tree.
It came with purchace of the house and was originally planted in the front yard, which
turned out to be a bad location.

That would make this one about fourteen years old.

At the time we moved it, it was small enough to pull through the 36" back door.
It stayed about five feet tall for several years when I decided to dig it up .

When we finally got it pulled out of the hole, it was discovered that the root ball
was still in the burlap sack.  The sack had not been removed or at least cut up and
the roots were a mess.

We turned the kids loose on digging a reallllllllly big hole and then spent several
hours untangling and laying out the roots, and then amending and replanting.

The tree is not a real fast grower.  As of November 06, it is about twelve feet tall
and eight feet wide.   It is a nice looking tree and not very messy.

Scarlet Hawthorne Summer 2006

I wonder why a large number of trees around here that grow well are always thorny.

This Scarlet Hawthorne I think can be characterized as a tree.  It was originally a
two dollar special from on of the mail order catalogs.

It is certainly drought tolerant as it has survived numerous sprinkler mishaps.
The last several years it has branched out nicely.  

The tree originally started out as a a large bush, sending out tons of shoots
every year.  I got in there a couple years ago and took out all but  six limbs so
it appears to be growing up and not as far out.

Scarlet Hawthorne Winter 2006

This is the same tree, November 2006 after a severe pruning.
I generally prune the trees in November if it is cool enough so
I can get all the limbs burned  prior to the new year.

Less burning to do in the spring.

Osage Orange Planted Spring, 2006 If you were raised in the Northwest, odds are you have never seen an Osage Orange tree.  Other names are Mock Orange, Hedge Apple, BoisD'Arc, Horse Apple.

One day while going to work in northern Texas  I saw green, grapefruit sized fruit hanging off several trees lining the roadway.

Never having seen a grapfruit tree, I assumed these were grapefruit trees. The puzzling thing was that the fruit never changed color.
I got quite a few laughs when I brought some of the fruit into the office, asking what in the world these were.  They couldn't be grapefruit.  That's where I first heard the term Hedge Apple.

Anyway, I also found out that these trees have a fascinating history and that the wood from these trees can get quite expensive.  

They are apparently drought tolerant and resistant to wide swings in temprature.  I planted two of them in the spring of 2006.  They were about 12" tall and the buds promptly died and the stems dried up.

A month or so later some new growth appeared and the trees ended growing to about 26" in
length for the year.  

Who knows how these will do in Northern Nevada.  

Why would I bother even trying these?  Fascination with the fruit and the prospect of  some nice wood if I end up not liking the trees.

Apparently there is a large one somewhere in Carson City listed in the big trees register.  Have to see it I can locate it one day.