I trundled out in the rain this morning to pick up my free trees, courtesy of the Long Branch Neighbourhood Association and the Tree for Me program. Kudos to the LBNA for picking up on Tree for Me and providing free trees to the community.
Our excellent tree canopy is one of the first things I noticed when we came to Long Branch a decade ago to look at what became our home. There has been a lot of development in Long Branch though, with a lot of pressure from developers to sever lots and build large “soldier homes” at the expense of green space and tree canopy. Tree for me is a great way to encourage homeowners in the area to plant native trees around their homes, and help make up for trees lost to development.
I was able to register online for Tree for Me. I had a choice of big trees – bur oak or red maple; small trees – northern hackberry or white birch; or shrubs – serviceberry, white cedar, red osier dogwood, or black chokeberry. Everyone is allowed 2 trees. I chose a serviceberry and a black chokeberry. We already have serviceberries here, and they’re in full bloom. We should have a bumper crop of serviceberries (Saskatoons) this season.
This will be our first black chokeberry (Aronia). They are deciduous shrubs in the rose family. The black chokeberry is a fairly short shrub, which spreads by root sprouts. Where I’m planting ours, it can spread to its heart’s content. They’re often found in wet woods or swamps. Perfect – we have a wet area at the back of our property along the north edge. Chokeberries are edible. They’re usually used in baking or preserving, as they are quite sour and astringent eaten raw. They are not to be confused with the distantly related chokecherries.
I understand Tree for Me has been highly successful in Long Branch, with loads of residents taking advantage of the program and planting native trees and shrubs.