Young Tree Update


It’s about time for a young tree update here at Leafhopper Farm! Last year we planted 10 sweet chestnut trees in the back field. It’s been a wonderful wet start to the summer, and record rains last winter to help the small root systems establish into the less than perfect soil of our gravely glacial till. This morning I tool a stroll to check these little babes, nervous about finding out just how many had not survived. Well, I was pleasantly surprised. There are 6 chestnuts throwing out new leaves and looking very good, the other 4 are not leafing out. I’ll give the “dormant” ones another year to see if anything happens, but plan to replant with a few more next winter.


Along the west fence-line, our Ponderosa Pines took off this year, surpassing their fence enclosures to soar for the sky. See if you can spot 2 in each picture below. They are fighting the blackberry and with a little pruning help, will continue to thrive as their roots continue reaching into the soil. For a pine, our gravely till is not so bad, and the wet environment gives them a boost to boot.IMG_7030

The pine trees will offer us basket material, pine sap, and a very flammable wood if we need special tinder for stating out wood stoves. The pollen is also edible, and hornets are important pollinators for this species.


Many other experimental plantings have not survived. None of the shag-bark hickory made it, but there was one surprise; a pecan tree has leafed out, showing us that it’s southern heart has found a home in Washington, and I can relate. Pecan trees will only bear fruit (the fatty nuts) in hot temperatures. Unless our climate heats up into the 90s consistently in the summers, this little pecan will not be fruiting out, but it’s an experiment, because we do not know what climate change will bring. In the mean time, we’ve got a cool hardwood tree joining the back field food forest team.


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