Improving Diversity in our Landscape

Frontier Elm – Photo courtesy Bailey Nurseries

We can improve the health of our landscape, our ecosystem and our own bodies by adding a more varied mix of trees, shrubs and perennials to our homes, public spaces and the landscaping of the places where we work and play.

Research has shown that when we plant more trees in our communities, and do so in ways that they can grow to maturity and be long lived and vibrant, that the health of the human residents is noticeably better.  Who wouldn’t want better health for themselves, their children and grandchildren?  The answer is easy- plant more trees that are healthy and long lived.

Another way to improve the health of our urban forests is to add for greater diversity to the mix of trees that we plant.  By planting more species of trees instead of planting mostly maple trees, we provide more opportunity for a wider variety of birds, mammals and beneficial insects to thrive in a healthier web of life.  We humans are part of that web of life.

Rather than planting mostly maple trees, flowering crabs and evergreens, we can create a healthier ecosystem by including in the mix disease resistant Elms, Oaks, Lindens, Aspen, Birch, Honeylocust, Hackberry, Ironwood, Blue Beech, Catalpa, Hickory, Corktree,  Redbud, Kentucky Coffeetree,  Elder and many more.  Some of you might be surprised to see elms in the list, but I’m pleased to be able to report that there are many new elm varieties available that are highly resistant to Dutch Elm Disease.  You can now include an elm or two on your property and be confident that it will live a long life and quickly grow into a tough and sizable shade tree.

Excellent elm varieties include Triumph, Discovery, Patriot, New Harmony, Princeton, Prairie Expedition, Accolade, St. Croix,  Colonial Spirit and New Horizon.  These elms are very versatile with the ability to grow well in almost any soil type.  Try to plant your new elm tree in a fairly sunny area, and do so int he knowledge that you will be improving the health of the ecosystem and the health of your friends and family.

Keep the faith, spring is just around the corner!