Friday, April 1, 2011

Mud, Friends of Trees, and the weather...

It’s finally April, thank god. Maybe things will start to improve, weather wise? I know that nobody wants to read an entire blog post that’s just rant on cold rainy weather so just keep in mind this isn’t actually about the weather. No! It’s about Friends of Trees, and mud. There are just a few statistics thrown in because I dig statistics, especially when they are about the weather. So…the Portland Airport (just 4.85 miles from my home) received 6.43 inches of rain in March, average is 3.71. That's the 5th wettest March on record (7.52 is the record). And to make matters worse, it’s not just been a few rainy days…no we had measurable rain every day in March except 3, that is 28 days of rain (23 of them consecutive)!

So what is this "friends of trees?" They are a local organization whose mission is to "bring people in the Portland-Vancouver metro area together to plant and care for city trees and green spaces. Through our Neighborhood Trees program, homeowners buy discounted trees to plant with their neighbors at weekend plantings." Nice huh?

Last weekend Friends of Trees (FOT) had a Concordia and Vernon Neighborhood Planting, that’s my neighborhood (Concordia) and I’ve noted the evidence of their handiwork. First I saw the muddy footprints on the sidewalk, they looked a little like the dance steps on Broadway in Seattle (can’t actually share an image of the dance steps because I guess the artist has gone all sue happy, click on the link to see many images). And next I would see the new trees, like this Paperbark Maple (Acer griseum). Actually there are 4 of them in a row, that's making quite the Paperbark Maple statement don't you think? FOT is behind the planting of Japanese Snowbells (Styrax japonica) in our parking strip, planted before we lived here. Since then 2 other neighbors and FOT have planted pairs in their strips. Makes for a nice floral display when they are all in bloom.

So I mentioned the rain. We’ve also been cold. We set a new record for latest date in the calendar year to reach 60 degrees. We finally saw 60 (63 to be exact) just yesterday, the last day of March. Pathetic. Today, April 1st is the average date when we usually hit 70 degrees. I wonder how long it's going to take to hit that mark?

Can you make out the light wood stakes on the lower right hand side of this picture? Here they are up close, and there is another set just a few feet away. They are supporting a pair of Tulip Trees (Liriodendron tuliperfera) These babies get big! Here is a huge old specimen just a block or two away. Of course that picture was taken last June, you can tell because the sky is blue…not grey like it was for almost the entire month of March.

I wonder if they plan to take out the huge conifers already there. Here’s that picture again. Here’s Lila checking out the mud. Since October, FOT volunteers have planted more than 27,000 trees and native plants. That’s a lot of muddy shoes.

(weather info pulled from the NWS Website, if you were wondering)


  1. I wish there was a group like that in my city *envy* they all look like they'll be lovely.

    Maybe one day I'll get the balls to try and start it myself.... sigh

  2. Love the FOT shout-out! We did it two years ago (planted a pair of Parrotia persica) and had a was cold, rainy and muddy, of course...but we met some cool people and it's fun now to drive through the neighborhood and see the trees we planted. Even though we don't have room for more trees on our property, I've considered volunteering again just to plant more neighborhood trees.

  3. That's a sobering statistical lineup you presented to us: I dearly hope April will be warmer and drier. Today is great!

    I have a warm place in my heart for FOT, in fact, I plant with them in my neighborhood every year. If you think March was cold, try late January! But I have to say we had a pretty dry day for it. FOT are just great and do lots of education at the same time as they get trees planted. They have a tree planting somewhere in Portland almost every weekend in late winter and early spring.

    My guess on the Liriodendron is the homeowners think by the time it gains enough size to be a problem, the conifers could be history. Or maybe they're like Scarlett O'Hara (and us, sometimes): they'll just think about that tomorrow.

  4. The rain and cool temps have been perfect for Little Cress to grow everywhere. I've never seen as much of it in my yard as I do this year.

    Kudos to FOT for their efforts to beautify the world with trees.

  5. Nice! In the city here the city plants trees down all the streets. Although in the older neighborhoods they don't seem to go through and replace any that die off or whatever.

  6. Mary, you should talk with the friends of trees folks, I bet they could give you some pointers.

    Scott, so the Parrotia persica are on your property?

    MulchMaid, that's right...I remember you spending time with the fot folks. I wish more of our neighbors would do this. We need more trees!

    Grace, I've lucked out with the weeds so far this year. Not too many, and those that do show up are easy to pull!

    MTJ, I've heard of that (the city planting trees) in some places. I suppose there is good and bad in that.

  7. i wish we had a group like that in our town. sadly, a lot of people want to take down our trees (view issues). great community building, too!

  8. The weather guys are running out of ways to say "it's gonna rain", so maybe it's time for it to stop.

  9. Thats great, keep up the good work

  10. The sign is great, the info is good and the staking looks like it will tear that young trunk apart...


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