“I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues.”
—The Lorax, by Dr. Seuss
For me it’s hard to imagine living in a place without trees nearby; somewhere to look out the window at their silhouettes, or to smell the earthy decay of their leaves. Yet for many people around the world, tree encounters may be increasingly rare. For centuries, deforestation has continued in vast portions of Asia, N. Africa, and South America. Development, greed, ignorance of the long-term implications, and a burgeoning human population still put forests at risk. We often take them for granted but trees play a key role in the removal of contaminants from the air we breathe, in oxygen production, and in providing shade, shelter and habitat for wildlife.
Most trees can really be appreciated in two different contexts: those which grew up in their natural range with little or no human assistance, and those which were planted by humans and are living in close proximity to human activity. This second category of trees most certainly requires some ongoing intervention to maintain their health, appearance and safety (note the Sweet Gums directly in front of the nursery).
In order to satisfy our desire to have trees in our busy lives, we can either visit distant parks and forests, or local parks and arboreta. Yet another option exists even closer to home in your yard. If you are lucky enough to have an older tree in your garden we suggest that (after consulting a Certified Arborist) you keep it. That said, if you are thinking of planting a new one, plan carefully. Berkeley Hort stocks an ever-changing inventory of small to medium sized-trees that are well-suited to Bay Area gardens. Beware: having a coast redwood tree four feet from your house is akin to raising a Great Dane in an urban studio apartment…it may be possible, but the challenges will be monumental.
If any of this has piqued your curiosity, give us a call. Our staff has a real interest in arboriculture, and buyers Che and Margaret are always on the lookout for special trees.
See below for important questions to consider before planting a tree.
Do I really know how tall 25 feet is?
Come to BHN…we’ll show you.
How much debris can I tolerate?
All trees drop something, sometime every year.
Is shading an issue?
Deciduous trees allow winter sun but summer shade.
How patient am I?
Fast-growing trees often fail due to weak wood.
How realistic is my fantasy tree?
Climate, soil type, water.
Will the neighbors object?
Redwoods get really, really big.
What do I expect from this tree?
Flowers, fruit, fall-color, fragrance.