By planting a wider variety of tree varieties, we can improve the health and resiliency of the eco-systems in which we live. This means we get to live in places that are healthier for human habitation.
Even though ecosystems function in complex ways, the methods of how to improve the overall health of ecosystems in general, and forests in particular are fairly simple. Try to plant more varieties of trees rather than focusing on one or two varieties. By doing this, our urban forests and the forest in the countryside will be better able to withstand the next waves of pests and diseases. Some varieties may fall victim to pests and/or diseases, but with more varieties present, not all the trees will be lost.
Maples, Lindens and Ash have been heavily planted over the last 60-70 years since Dutch Elm Disease began spreading across the North American continent. By planting more Oaks, Hackberry, Birch, Aspen, Coffeetree, seedless Corktree, Blue Beech, Ironwood, :Pagoda Dogwood, Ginkgo, Serviceberry native Mountain Ash and complex hybrids of these trees, our urban and rural forests will have both diversity which tends to mean less devastation during the next wave of troublesome insects or diseases.
A nice group of hybrid oaks have been created and selected that can help in the effort to get more diversity. Heritage Oak, Crimson Spire Oak, Prairie Stature Oak and Regal Prince Oak are all very nice complex hybrids. Even more complexity is added by growing crops of oak seedlings from acorns gathered from the hybrid oaks, since they are open pollinated by random grains of oak pollen floating along on the spring breezes.
For the last six or seven years, I have been growing these complex hybrid seedling oaks, and they are now available in a variety of sizes from #1 pots to #30 pots. By following a few simple steps, we see growth rates of 2 to 4 feet per year, rather than the stereotype of slow growth which many people attribute to oaks. Come to the nursery and we can show you many oaks with the excellent growth rates of 2-4 feet per year.
The available complex hybrid seedling oak varieties I have are Ancestry Oak, Scarlet Spire Oak, Regal Splendor Oak and Prairie Distinction Oak. If I’m at the nursery, I would be ore than happy to give you a tour to see this new and exciting opportunity to add diversity to our urban and rural forests.