Sizable Spruces


Having visited many private yards over the past few months, I’ve noted one landscaping conundrum that is shared by many gardeners.

The conundrum is this: way back, on Arbour Day, parents encouraged their kids to plant some cute, little, spruce seedlings in the yard. But after a few decades, the spruce seedlings fulfilled their destiny and grew into gargantuan, sunlight-blocking, needle-dropping trees which dominate yards, and prevent just about every other garden plant from having a hope of surviving in their shadows.

Now, the solution to the spruce problem is quite "simple": if the trees are removed, the sunlight returns and the perennials, shrubs and vegetables thrive. But the reality is that NO parents, whom I’ve talked to, would ever consider removing their kid’s Arbour Day trees for any reason. 

I know my Mom was no different. When my brother and I were in kids, we planted two blue spruce seedling in our parents yard and—as expected—they grew into massive trees that crowded the northeast end of her flowerbed and driveway. But while Mom and Dad sacrificed some of their property for our trees, my parents would never even consider removing them. 

I remember my Dad jokingly saying to Mom, one day, "If you had to choose between me or the kids' trees, what would you do?"

Mom said, "Keep you, Ted…of course." 

Dad smirked, and said, "That answer came just a bit too slowly."

So parents, just remember this. Letting your kids plant Arbour Day trees is a wonderful idea. It’s a great, fun way to educate the next generation about the natural world … just remember to choose your planting site carefully! 

There are also plenty of tough, beautiful, dwarf evergreens that the kids will still love to plant and watch grow, yet won’t block out the sun. Come visit us and we'd be happy to make a recommendation.

~Jim Hole