Friday, May 3, 2013

Turning Over a New Leaf

On June 8, 2011, a wild and freaky wind storm blew through town and uprooted one of two large trees in front of the station building. Fortunately (I guess), the tree fell sideways onto the other tree in the front yard. That landing prevented more damage to the building, the power lines, the satellite dish, and other structures and equipment. But both trees had to be removed.

For those of you who have not been to the studio, it is located in an industrial park. Since the trees were removed, it been much more industrial than park. With the beautiful canopy gone, the front yard has been rather barren.

Until today. Today, we start on the path toward building a beautiful canopy again. Today, through a program with a number of Providence environmental, beautification, and restoration groups, we planted two new trees in the front yard.

With the expertise of Providence City Forester Douglas Still, we planted:

Celtis Occidentalis - The Common Hackberry (planted on the left in the photo above)
The hackberry tree is particularly resilient, making it ideal for use in situations where other trees will not thrive. This is a good city tree, able to take hot, dry winds and drought. On the other hand, it does equally well in moist, cool situations. A tree of simple beauty, the common hackberry is being used more and more widely as a landscape specimen. 
As a young tree, the hackberry is roughly pyramid-shaped. As it matures, it takes on a vase-shaped profile, with arching branches much like the American elm. In fact, it is commonly used as a replacement for that tree where Dutch elm disease is a problem. It can reach 100 feet in height but usually does not exceed 60 feet in culture. The bark is gray-brown with characteristic corky ridges. The deciduous leaves are elmlike and bright green with toothed edges. They become yellow in the fall. The berries ripen in midfall and vary in color from red to dark purple. 

Sophora japonica - Japanese Pagoda tree or `Regent' Scholar Tree (planted on the right)
The Regent Scholar tree grows 40 to 50 feet in height with a spread of 30 to 40 feet, forming a large, rounded canopy even as a young tree. The canopy appears more uniform and predictable than the species. The dark green, shiny leaves turn yellow before dropping in fall.
The very showy, greenish-white to yellow flowers are produced in mid to late summer and provide an airy feel to the tree for several weeks. The young green twigs turn dark grey with age. The species tree must be at least 10-years-old to bloom but the cultivar `Regent' blooms at two to eight-years of age.