Guest Post: At the Root: Trees Rule

At the Root: Trees Rule

By Guest Blogger: Eileen Stark, Portland, Oregon 

     Although the region’s unique wetlands and grasslands carry the greatest diversity of species, it is the forests that dominate and most distinctly characterize the Pacific Northwest. Structurally complex, dense, and immense ecosystems, forests sustain trees that substantially outgrow and outlive other plants and tolerate temperature variation and soil differences better. When the first European settlers arrived, conifers covered nearly the entire landscape of western British Columbia and Washington, and northwestern Oregon–from coast to Cascade crest–including the Puget Trough and parts of the Georgia Basin and Willamette Valley.Real Gardens Grow Natives
     These conifers (and other dominant species) are known as keystone species because of their strong and often unique effects on their ecosystem. Though they are greatly outnumbered by smaller plants in the forest, their contributions are mammoth. Cool, wet winters and mild, dry summers, along with rich soils, have made for optimum evergreen growing conditions.
     Conifers are able to photosynthesize during much of the year and are essential for watershed stabilization. Some species are the most massive on earth, often growing over 200 feet tall and living for more than 500 years. Worldwide, conifers represent the largest terrestrial “carbon sink,” where carbon is packed away in plant tissue above and below ground. The wettest forests–those on the west side of coastal mountain ranges–were once especially complex, with lush layering and much variation in tree age. Logging has eliminated much of the original, most productive old-growth forests, and massive clearcutting has resulted in severe fragmentation. Today, much forested land is “second growth” that has followed logging and wildfire.
     Garry oak (or Oregon White oak) ecosystems, where these oaks grow naturally, have become rare, with only a very small percentage remaining. The loss of these unique ecosystems puts all the species that rely on them in jeopardy, and indeed, some species have already been lost, while many of the remaining are at risk. If you live on land that was once part of a Garry oak ecosystem and are starting with a blank slate, consider planting Garry oaks and associated species like madrone (Arbutus menziesii), oceanspray (Holodiscus discolor), tall Oregon grape (Mahonia aquifolium), and baldhip rose (Rosa gymnocarpa). If your site is too small for large trees, grow the smaller associated species in a meadowlike garden or rock garden. Spring ephemerals include white fawn lily (Erythronium oregonum), Henderson’s shooting star (Dodecatheon hendersonii), and camas (Camassia quamash). Mid-bloomers include tiger lily (Lilium columbianum), nodding onion (Allium cernuum), stonecrop (Sedum spp.), harebell (Campanula rotundifolia), and western columbine (Aquilegia formosa); for late blooms try yarrow (Achillea millefolium var. occidentalis), showy fleabane (Erigeron speciosus), and goldenrod (Solidago canadensis).
     Most yards can support more trees, whether evergreen or deciduous, than they do. If you have the space, grow large trees–the oaks, the pines, the firs–that are quintessential to our region and will help replace some of the habitat that has been lost to development and logging. Just one Western red cedar (Thuja plicata) will provide dense shelter and nesting sites for various birds and small mammals, bark that can be used as nesting material, food for seed-eating birds and browsing mammals, and, as the trees mature, cavities for roosting and cavity-nesting birds.
     In urban areas, street trees that grow in parking strips could be native species (as well as the other plants you grow there). Some good choices for narrow parking strips (not less than 4 feet wide) include cascara (Rhamnus purshiana), Douglas maple (Acer glabrum), and black hawthorn (Crataegus douglasii), and for wider strips (greater than 6 feet wide) and without overhead utility wires, Garry oak (Quercus garryana), and Oregon ash (Fraxinus latifolia). Always check with your city’s urban forestry office before planting.
Excerpt from Real Gardens Grow Natives: Design, Plant, & Enjoy a Healthy Northwest Garden by Eileen M. Stark (Mountaineers Books, 2014)

 

Oxygen

Plant Trees – Leave Trees Standing – For better health for all living beings

Humans and other species thrive on oxygen. Trees and other plants create oxygen. So, you’d think if we wanted to live long, healthy lives and save other species – we’d plant as many trees as possible. Big trees also give off more oxygen than young trees – so, leaving big trees standing also makes sense for oxygen production.  the-tunnel-of-trees

If you’ve ever been in a plant store or the middle of a forest you know how good it feels to be breathing higher concentrations of oxygen.

So, for greater planetary health and better longevity – plant trees whenever possible and work to stop trees from being cut down everywhere.  The End


Well, not exactly. So, the thoughts above came from me mulling over a friend who has a tree in her front yard and two trees in her planting strip out front. She’s got yellow tags circling all three – and mentioned that the 2 trees in the planting strip are not well and that the big tree out front threatens her house.

Here’s where my mind goes.

  1. The trees in the planting strip – The City mentioned that she wouldn’t get permitted to have 2 trees there, and so if she replants she’ll only get to plant 1 tree. I didn’t look closely at the trees – but will encourage her to feed the trees and take care of them and see if she can keep them going. They are about 10 feet tall and possibly could grow much taller.  Every street tree adds to shade, oxygen, traffic calming, bird habitat, property value increase (I think it’s $10K per tree).
  2. The big tree in the middle of the lawn – the shade to the house in the Summer (the past couple summers in Portland have been incredibly hot) – probably reduces heating bills and glare + the other attributes mentioned above. Yes, there are costs to owning trees – pruning, caring for the tree.
  3. One thing that most people don’t think about is the whole canopy – the trees covering Portland and what the cumulative effect of many trees has on our lives. IMHO, the more trees the better = more oxygen. It’s also a beauty thing. I’m looking out a 2nd story window right now across the roofline of SE Portland and there are many trees. Remove one and you remove beauty for someone who is used to seeing your tree. + Autumn Leaves.

I hope you’ll reconsider when you think about removing a tree for some good reason. Tree companies who come out to talk trees make money from tree removal. The Urban Forestry folks at the City of Portland are also not in the business of keeping trees standing and we’re losing Portland’s canopy at an alarming rate. Mature trees are Biocarbon Heavyweights.

If you’re interested in this topic – we have a group on Facebook organized to keep tall trees standing. As well as an email list for this topic. Thanks for your consideration.

Oh, and plant trees (see above) – fruit trees, nut trees, shade trees – Friends of Trees is a great place to start.

Here’s to your health and our planet’s health.

moratorium on tree cutting in portland

3.19.18: Eileen writes: “Yes and don’t forget about carbon sequestration. And that regional native trees provide more food and other habitat for wildlife.”

City Parking – how to make the most out of the space we’ve got

City Parking

I heard of the term “city parking” years ago. What it means is that in most situations, you pull your car up forward as far as it will go – leaving some room between you and the car in front or a driveway. And then the person who parks behind you does the same. This can lead to a lot less parallel parking and a better use of space.Surveys - Belmont Dairy Building

I tried to find something on this online, but have not succeeded – if anyone has a better resource than my simple explanation, please post it here 🙂

Given that we’re growing by 112 people a day in Portland, Oregon (Lynn Peterson, candidate for Metro Council President mentioned this in a speech the other day) – figuring out how to park more efficiently will save us all time/energy/frustration. Give this a try and see what you think.

And – I just figured out the best reason to pull forward all the way: it makes YOUR life easier when you continue driving! Pulling out with no car in front of you is way easier than pulling out with a car in front of you!

I did find this article which has some other ideas possibly worth thinking about.

Cruising around the block to find an open parking space can contribute to as much as twenty-five percent of the congestion, so there is recognition now that if you manage your curb space more efficiently, then you’ll manage your street congestion more efficiently,” says Soumya S. Dey, director of research and technology transfer at the District Department of Transportation (DDOT).”

After posting this on Nextdoor, I got some interesting responses which leads me to think that I should have included in my explanation what not to do:

1. don’t leave a lot of space between you and the car in front of you
2. don’t park in the middle of a block when there are no other cars there – pull up as far as you can to the intersection
3. don’t pull back to the beginning of a block (not sure how to best describe that in urban planning/parking terms)

Right: - pulling up as far forward as possible

Right: – pulling up as far forward as possible

Wrong = not pulling far enough forward

Wrong = not pulling far enough forward

Wrong = not pulling far enough forward

Wrong = not pulling far enough forward

 


It Sure Beats Working and other fancy stuff – Albertideation March 2018

It Sure Beats Working, by Michael Katz

I finally got around to it

– I bought Michael Katz’s book – It Sure Beats Working

I just got back from a family trip to Philadelphia. Soon after I got off the plane I was faced with soft pretzels. They are everywhere in Philadelphia – and I did not hesitate! The trip was a great time (my Sister’s daughter’s bat mitzvah!) and I came away refreshed and ready to make it through the rest of Winter in Portland. Why am I telling you this? It’s part of what Michael Katz talks about in the book mentioned above – sprinkling in details about your life when you reach out to customers and clients (see Lesson 4: Humanize Your Interactions ). Making your interactions more human is a key factor in his success and you experience it in every newsletter he sends.

I’ve been enjoying this Spring – I’ve picked up a couple new clients and continue to work with many I’ve been with for years.

New: Lucky Mojo Curio Co. in Forestville, CA
2 years: Fern Kitchen , Portland, Oregon
5 years-ish – Alberta Rose Theatre, Portland, Oregon

I’m so grateful to these and other companies who trust me with their newsletters. It’s also been interesting to me to see how businesses change over time – including mine!

I want to mention that the main tool I use – and how you’re reading this newsletter – via Constant Contact – is having a 50% off of 2 months sale – which will end at midnight 3.16.18. You can always start with a 2-month free trial, too. I have all sorts of support for you if you’d like to get started down this path.

Sometimes it makes sense to start something before you think you’re ready. For instance, I wish I’d bought Michael’s book 8 years ago when I started my business – in 8 years you might wish you’d started a newsletter today 🙂 This is one of those instances where you don’t want to put off until tomorrow something you can start today 🙂

Here’s to your success!

Sincerely,

Albert Kaufman
Albertideation

PS – See other books I recommend, here. And other tools I use, here.

Soft Pretzels