With its new nursery project underway, the Tree Trust is looking at avenues to dig up some community involvement.
“There will be lots to do and lots of opportunities for residents – young and old – to engage, which is great, because there has been so much community support and enthusiasm for Tree Trust in the Town of The Blue Mountains (TBM),” said Betty Muise, project coordinator for the TBM chapter of the Tree Trust.
Muise explained that through the Tree Trust’s most recent endeavour of creating a native species nursery in TBM, the organization hopes to engage area schools and residents in the process.
“In the Green Legacy Program of Wellington County, they have a hugely successful seedling nursery and they ask school groups to look after germination trays in their classrooms, so that is a model we would like to explore,” she said, adding that the group will also likely need volunteer assistance in preparing the seedling nursery site, planting out the seedlings, and regular watering and general tending.
“The cycle will hopefully repeat every year with a new batch of seeds and germinated seedlings. Finally, once the seedlings are large enough, we hope to have residents plant the native trees on their property or join us in planting efforts throughout the municipality,” Muise said.
She expects the project will be ready to include members of the community by late summer.
When it comes to collecting seeds, Muise said a good place to start is by looking around your property for large, old and distinct looking trees.
“It's hard for residents to estimate age, but often size is a good indicator. So some big majestic, older tree would be of note – older, but still healthy,” she said.
If you have a tree in mind, Muise encourages residents to reach out to the Tree Trust through the website with contact information, details about the tree and a photo, if possible.
“The chestnuts people will find around here will be Horse Chestnut, which is not native," explained Tobias Effinger, owner of Arboreal Tree Care and certified arborist who works closely with the Tree Trust organization.
"Our native chestnut is Carolinian and still suffers from a disease named Chestnut blight Cryphonectria parasitica, this was brought to North America from Asia and devastated our native stock," he continued.
According to Effinger, local tree species that would be good for seed collection include: Red maple, Yellow birch, American beech, American basswood, Honey locust, and if lucky - Tulip tree, American sycamore, the hickories.
“Certainly we would like to see not only native species but also to collect seed from those which have not been planted from a nursery source – as we don’t know where they came from,” Effinger added.
As far as the saplings being produced through the nursery, Muise said they will most likely be ready for planting in the community by 2023.
“We don't want residents having to look after the littlest of seedlings as it's too easy to damage them. But having said that, we don't want them to get too big either, because of potential root damage from transplanting and things like that. They will likely be ready to go in 2023,” she said.
For more information or to volunteer with the Tree Trust, contact Betty Muise at 519-599-7798 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jennifer Golletz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CollingwoodToday.ca