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Native Trees Please!

We have been finishing up Fi's native tree project with Roots and Shoots over the past few weeks. We received a mini grant through the Jane Goodall Institute to plant native trees in our area. Because of Hurricane Michael a year and a half ago, a lot of trees were damaged or completely uprooted. It was a shocking and upsetting sight to behold at the time because there was such devastation in our entire town. Fi's other project though Roots and Shoots this year is helping to build pollinator paradises in other people's yards when she is invited to do so and seeing so many areas where trees had once been but had yet to be replaced made this native tree project a great fit for us.

It was quite a daunting task to decide which trees we would even use and there was a lot of research involved. We made a list of things to keep in mind.

1. Which trees are native to the area?

2. Which native trees flower to provide nectar for our pollinator friends?

3. Which native trees are hearty and easy to care for?

4. What areas in a yard can our chosen tree be planted? Sunny, shady, etc.?

5. What trees did homeowners lose and would they want that same kind?

6. What trees could our local plant nurseries provide?

7. What trees are within our projected budget?

Using her debit card provided by the grant to purchase tulip poplars

We spoke with someone that works at the Jone's Center at Ichauway to get his thoughts on the subject and make sure we were choosing appropriate trees. Thanks to research and feedback on all of the questions above, we narrowed it down to Tulip Poplar trees but kept a few other trees in mind in case home owners wanted something else. We originally thought we would do pine trees as they are cost effective and really bore the brunt of the hurricane's damage but decided that they could just be an additional option to those not wanting a flowering tree.

During the course of this project we planted 12 tulip poplars and a dogwood. We were hesitant to plant dogwoods as they have a tendency in this region to get a certain disease called anthracnose but it was specifically requested, is the same price point as a tulip poplar, and is a native flowering tree.

Fi planting the dogwood

We mostly planted trees at the homes of those creating pollinator paradises as we were already out at their houses assessing the spaces. We did, however, have a neighbor wander over to ask questions about the project and then invite us over to plant a tree at his house too which was a treat for Fi as she loves meeting new people.

Making a new friend while planting

The best time of year to plant trees in our region is December through March so we had to get a move on before it became too late in the season to plant. Unfortunately, Covid-19 came barreling through and brought our project to a screeching halt as we discovered a new normal of schoolwork and a lifestyle completely based at our house. Luckily, we had done the majority beforehand and was mindful of social distancing when finishing out the project.

In case you missed it, you can find a previous post here about the importance of trees and why we should all do our part in helping conserve the native trees in our area.

To join roots and shoots and join in on a project or create a project of your own, you can hop on over to to sign up! Even as a kid, you can do a little to help a lot!

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