Our native perennials vendor, Honey Petal Plants, is still offering a wide variety of attractive, hardy native plants as well as garden favorites. Their horticulturalist, Astrid Bowlby, will have an outdoor pick up and stand for those interested in getting plants this spring. And, for every Waldo SWCD customer who buys plants, she will donate a perennial plug to our District to use in our educational programs. For more information, please visit her Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/honeypetalplants/.
At this time, we have orders for all of our seedlings, so the program is closed for this year. However, we invite you to use our learning activities below with your friends and family! We plan to offer trees again in the near future, so stay tuned.
White Oak – (Quercus alba) This beautiful, large, functional tree is a Maine native that doesn’t grow naturally in Waldo County, but has great potential as a tree for our area, providing high quality lumber and sweet acorns that are excellent food for wildlife. As a yard tree, white oak develops a beautiful round, spreading form and has beautiful oak leaves with rounded lobes. Planting oaks is one of the best ways to support our native butterflies and moths as hundreds of caterpillar species feed on them.
Tulip poplar – (Liriodendron tulipifera) This tree has a very nice form both when young and when older. It is our second largest tree after sycamore, growing to tremendous size in the southern US. As a yard planting, it has a symmetrical, slightly conical form, with unique, large leaves that become yellow in the fall. As it grows taller, it has a very straight, clear bole. It is a good lumber tree, is fast growing, and shows great potential to adapt and thrive in our area. Its beautiful, tulip-like flowers appeal to pollinators, and it produces small, soft seeds which provide wildlife food similar to ash trees, which are likely to die out due to the invasive insect emerald ash borer.
Shagbark hickory – (Carya ovata) The bark of this tree is unique and ornamental, with gracefully curving, peeling strips. Its leaves and twigs are also attractive, and it produces very tasty, edible nuts that also feed wildlife. Hickory wood is strong, is an excellent fuelwood and also provides forest products. Hickory regenerates well after harvest from stump sprouts. It is not native to our area, but shows potential to be able to grow here and adapt to a variety of conditions. It likes to grow in dry upland sites.
Black walnut – (Juglans nigra) This sturdy tree produces prolific, edible walnuts. Its lumber is highly valued, and it is also used for veneer. Although it is not native to our area, it is successfully grown here and in similar climates. It is an adaptable tree, and like hickory, has potential to provide mast (nuts) food for wildlife, to replace lost chestnut, butternut and beech nut crops.
Due to Covid-19 pandemic and the need to avoid creating close contact situations for the public, our staff and volunteers, we are cancelling our 2020 Plant Sale. Those who have ordered from us will be contacted and refunds issued promptly. Please contact us on our website if you have any questions. We very much appreciate your support and look forward to providing plants for you next spring.
Another excellent online source for learning about forests and climate adaptation is the Climate Change Response Framework, with many practical learning and planning resources for landowners, including an online workbook that generates adaptive forest management plans.
Waldo County SWCD is available to help you plan for woodlands stewardship and management in these changing times. Contact us for a site visit or for other needs or questions.
As many of you know, Maine’s forests are facing an onslaught of changes that threaten to change or degrade the diversity and productivity of our forests. Our forests have lost millions of mature elms and chestnuts, and are poised to lose most of their ash trees. Red spruce, balsam fir, birches and hemlock are all likely to face steep declines during this century. Oaks are at risk due to pathogens such as Oak Wilt and Sudden Oak Death. Beech trees, which provided important wildlife food along with chestnuts, are now a shadow of their former selves due to disease. You may have noticed that I’ve mentioned many of Maine’s major trees here. The simple truth is that our forests as we know them are likely to disappear. As conservation minded citizens, we will need to act to shepherd our forested lands into a very different future. Waldo county is 84% forested, and forests and trees are an important part of people’s lives and livelihoods here.
Our District has been at the forefront of developing soil and water conservation district leadership in forest resource conservation. Waldo SWCD has decided to make our work about addressing the degradation of forests and helping our residents find ways to steward forests during this challenging period. Our Forests for Our Future resource protection theme has encompassed stewardship workshops, high school educational programs and conservation technical assistance. We have also partnered with the Maine Forest Service to provide outreach and to monitor for invasive forest insect pests.
In the coming years, we will be spearheading adaptive forestry in Coastal Maine. Beginning with research plantings in 2019 and moving on to a broad program of citizen involvement in forest restoration plantings and scientific research. In 2019, we developed a citizen science tool for reporting on tree conditions called Report a Tree (on the Anecdata.org platform). This spring, Report a Tree will go into statewide use for reporting on the health of adaptive tree species (native and non-native trees that have the potential to thrive here) and for reporting on forest pests and disease.
Perhaps most exciting of all is the opportunity for Midcoast residents and schools to join us in planting selected adaptive tree species for the purposes of research and to begin the process of reforesting our land. Several area schools will plant and study seedlings as a part of this project, and anyone is welcome to participate. Selected species will be available as seedlings and saplings during plant sales this spring in Waldo and Knox-Lincoln Soil and Water Conservation Districts. Check out our adaptive seedlings here. The “adaptive” trees selected are based on their wildlife and ecosystem value, to supplement or replace trees that may not be able to provide wildlife food and habitat due to invasives and disease, such as ash trees. The trees are also species that have been shown to be highly adaptable to drought, various soil moisture levels and temperature regimes and thus have potential to provide lumber or other forest products in different climate conditions.
Some Adaptive Tree Species
White oak: Lives in southern Maine, provides lumber and high quality acorns for wildlife
Bur oak: Rare but lives in our area, with potential to be highly adaptable to a variety of conditions
Black walnut: High value as lumber and veneer, adaptable, provides wildlife food