Garden Clippings for October 27, 2018
It was the second Saturday in November 2017, when a crowd of Rotarians from the 3 Sarnia Rotary Clubs descended upon Holy Trinity and Lansdown Schools to plant 100 trees. The weather was cool and damp but that didn’t dampen the spirits of the volunteers who started at 9 am and persevered until not long after lunch.
The objective was to fulfill the challenge that Rotary International President Ian H S Riseley gave to have one tree planted for each Rotary member.
“It is my hope that the result of that effort will be far greater than the environmental benefit that those 1.2 million new trees will bring, “Riseley said. “I will believe the greater result will be a Rotary that recognises our responsibility not only to the people on our planet, but to the planet itself.”
Riseley, who hails from Australia, had no idea how many Rotary Clubs actually planted a tree for each of their members, but we do know that many or most North American and European Clubs heeded the call. Some Clubs planted a token single tree in their own cities and then went on to plant additional trees in communities in the developing world.
Here in Sarnia 80 Autumn Fantasy Maple trees were planted at Holy Trinity School as part of their greater plan to improve the playground that included a paved fitness trail, seating for an outdoor classroom and a raised planter that doubles up as a bench to encourage conversation.
Another 20 Maples were planted in the playground at Lansdowne School.
Early in July of this year, 8 months after the trees were planted, I took the time to wander through the trees to count the casualties expecting that at least a handful would not have survived the transplant or not survived June’s dry weather. I was pleased to report to the Rotary Clubs that the planting success rate was 100%.
Imagine the disappointment when on Saturday September 15, a class of senior students along with a few adults discovered that the bark had been stripped of at least 8 trees. The group was busy adding a fresh layer of wood mulch over the garden areas when someone spotted the calamity. It was a clean job, almost like someone had just peeled a banana.
Rather than dwell on the act of vandalism, the staff at Holy Trinity chose to turn the issue into a teaching opportunity. They took the time to share with their students the significance of bark to a tree. Students learned how the layer of wood just beneath the bark is most critical to trees’ survival.
Just underneath the outer layer of bark sits the cambium cells, a thin layer of most recent growth. Below the cambium layer is sapwood or pipelines whose function is to move water and nutrients to the rest of the tree.
Students were also quick to learn that the leaves on the 8 damaged trees turned bright red within days of their bark being removed, while the leaves on the healthy trees remained green until October. The stress resulting from peeled bark was initially similar to the normal transition to cooler fall weather and shorter day length.