The first daffodils opened their blooms today. With all the cloudy, damp, chilly weather, the spring flowers have been a little slow. The tips of some of the daffodil leaves turned brown from freezing. This occurred soon after the leaves emerged from the ground during a late cold snap and snow storm a couple weeks ago.
Spring is the best time to transplant most trees. The plants get a full growing season to establish roots before cold weather hits. So early in the year, the temperatures are pleasantly cool for strenuous work and there are no biting insects around.
I am working to plant a second stand of trees between our house and the busy road. We have one hedge of blue spruces about 40 feet tall. The lower branches are thinning out and don’t provide much privacy. A second line of evergreens will fill in the lower part, providing us a shield from prying eyes and loud traffic. Once the trees reach a good size, they will also help prevent vehicles from hitting our house if they leave the road.
Balsam fir is a good tree for privacy hedges. A fast growing tree with spreading limbs thickly covered with needles, balsam provides quick coverage. Lucky for us, we own many acres of trees and don’t have to buy balsams. I merely hike out and dig up a few young fir trees.
Most of the balsams I transplant are being saved from certain death. In our apple orchards, I am frequently unable to mow close to the tree trunks. Saplings of many tree species establish there and have to be cut by hand. To obtain great young balsams, I go out in the orchard and remove them roots and all from beneath the limbs of apple trees.
To me, the best jobs achieve more than one purpose and so it is with transplanting balsams for a privacy hedge. The orchard is tended, young balsams get a chance at life and, if we’re lucky, one day soon we will have a nice thick stand of trees between us and the road.
The photo at left is of balsams springing up under our apple trees. In the photo above, I have set out the transplanted balsams just beyond the state’s right-of-way along the road. In the foreground are four baby balsams I’ve moved this year. In the background are two taller balsams that I transplanted three years ago. The growth is very rapid once the young trees have access to sunlight. I do worry that some jerk will lop off their heads for Christmas trees. Extra vigilance at the holidays is required.