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What Tree to Plant on My Baby's First Birthday?

 
Nicole Alderman
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My little guy will be turning one very soon, and my husband wants to plant a tree on his first birthday. We'd like a tree that will be hearty and live to at least 100. My husband was thinking of planting a Redwood or an Oak, but I'd rather plant something edible or very useful. It'd be nice, too, if the tree were climbable.

Any ideas?

Thanks!
 
wayne fajkus
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Pecan tree.
 
Dale Hodgins
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John Wolfram
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How about a Perry Pear tree. They can live 200+ years, and it may take until your little one is of legal age to produce a nice amount of Perry.
 
Nicole Alderman
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wayne fajkus wrote:Pecan tree.
I don't know if they'd grow here, but they sure do look awesome!

Dale Hodgins wrote:I'd go with the oak and plant some fruit. Olives are probably the longest lived food tree.
I looked into olives, and I don't think they'll thrive where I'm at. It gets rather cold, and we have--at most--4 hours of direct winter sun, as we're on a north-facing slope . I was really excited about olives, though! I love that they often live for 1,000+ years! As for the oaks, are there any oaks that grow/branch-out sooner? My mom planted one about 25 years ago, and it is still one skinny, scraggly-looking tree...

Dale Hodgins wrote:Get pictures by his tree(s).
We definitely will!

John Wolfram wrote:How about a Perry Pear tree. They can live 200+ years, and it may take until your little one is of legal age to produce a nice amount of Perry.
I had to look these up, as I'd never heard of them! I read that they're not good for eating, but is that just the flavor,; or is there more to it than that? My parents actually have a cider press that we make (non-alcoholic) apple cider on every fall. We don't drink alcohol, but would the perry pears be good for regular, unfermented cider? I love how old these trees get, as well as the history behind them, and the fact that they can cross-pollinate our other pears. It'd be great if we could make use of them for eating/drinking, too!

Thank you all for your great ideas! So many things I'd never heard of! Any other cool trees out there?
 
Cassie Langstraat
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This is such a great and meaningful idea! Love it.
 
Leila Rich
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John Wolfram wrote:How about a Perry Pear tree

Nicole Alderman wrote:We don't drink alcohol, but would the perry pears be good for regular, unfermented cider?
I've never actually eaten a proper perry pear,
but I think they have high tannin levels like proper cider apples
and without the fermentation/aging process of making alcohol, the tannins could be pretty...tannic
I'm thinking in the opposite direction to the 'long-lived' theme; of course I can see the symbolism,
but maybe consider things that suit a child's tastes and that fruit young.
Do apples grow well in your area? A heritage apple on full-sized roots/stock can live a very long time.

I strongly suggest not planting something that you're not confident will do well where you are.
Over here it's quite common for hippie types to bury their child's placenta under a tree.
My brother's birth tree limped along, then died.
My brother is well and truly alive, but it's not a great look!
 
Nicole Alderman
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Leila Rich wrote:
John Wolfram wrote:How about a Perry Pear tree

Nicole Alderman wrote:We don't drink alcohol, but would the perry pears be good for regular, unfermented cider?
I've never actually eaten a proper perry pear,
but I think they have high tannin levels like proper cider apples
and without the fermentation/aging process of making alcohol, the tannins could be pretty...tannic
I'm thinking in the opposite direction to the 'long-lived' theme; of course I can see the symbolism,
but maybe consider things that suit a child's tastes and that fruit young.
Do apples grow well in your area? A heritage apple on full-sized roots/stock can live a very long time.

I strongly suggest not planting something that you're not confident will do well where you are.
Over here it's quite common for hippie types to bury their child's placenta under a tree.
My brother's birth tree limped along, then died.
My brother is well and truly alive, but it's not a great look!


I definitely want to plat something that will thrive here, especially since I'm not that skilled of a gardener yet!

As for cider, people have drank unfermented cider for hundreds of years. I wouldn't think they'd use different apples than are in alcoholic cider (I may be wrong, though), so perry pears might be okay unfermented, especially if they are pressed in the same batch of cider as the apples. Right? What do you think?


Anyone else have ideas for useful/edible/climbable/fun trees that grow well on a north-facing slope in the pacific northwest?
 
Nicole Alderman
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We still haven't picked a tree . We visited a local nursery, but their options were either really expensive, boring ornamentals, or they didn't know the lifespan of the tree. We've been thinking about gingko, perry pear, or white mulberries. Any thoughts about those? Any other fun or climbable or cool or edible or useful trees that live at least 100 years?

Thanks again!
 
Leila Rich
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Nicole Alderman wrote: people have drank unfermented cider for hundreds of years. I wouldn't think they'd use different apples than are in alcoholic cider (I may be wrong, though), so perry pears might be okay unfermented, especially if they are pressed in the same batch of cider as the apples. Right? What do you think?

If the pears were mixed with standard dessert pears, I'm sure they'd be fine.
I was thinking more of the traditional alcohols, which are mainly, if not all proper cider/perry fruit.
On the pear theme, Seckel are perfect kid-sized pears.
Pear trees on full-sized roots are very long-lived.
Like all the pears I know of they need to be cross pollinated: I have a double grafted Seckel/Doyenne du Comice, but space is one of my challenges.
Nicole Alderman wrote:We still haven't picked a tree We've been thinking about gingko, perry pear, or white mulberries. Any thoughts about those?
I'm not familiar with white mulberries, but I do know I don't like the smell of gingko fruit when you run it over with a lawnmower
Nicole Alderman wrote:Any other fun or climbable or cool or edible or useful trees that live at least 100 years?

I'm trying to think of favourite childhood climbing trees that aren't pretty ugly!
English walnut, smaller-growing eucalyptus, cherry, fig.
Actually, figs are awesome climbing trees, fruit really fast and I think they can live a long time...
 
Jack Edmondson
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Nicole,

First, congratulations on the birth of you son. I think it is a wonderful gesture for him to plant a tree he grow old alongside.

Since you are in the NW, I would suggest a Pacific Madrona. They are in decline. The wood is very good quality. The berries are edible. They grow quickly, and live 200-250 years. However, they perfer a western slope well drained slope.

Instead, I would suggest a Pacific Yew tree. Also unique to your area. A nice evergreen with small bright red berries. Very slow growing, but will live hundreds of years. In the lowlands (below 2500 feet) are fairly rare. It produces a chemical that is used in treatment cancer.
 
Eric Thompson
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I think the NW screams for an apple or pear! If you want it to live 100 years, a non-grafted tree may be a safer bet. My micro-nursery has some antonovka seedlings - for free if you are near Bothell or I-5 into Oregon...
 
henry stevenson
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Im in the sw of england and I was planning something similar for my nieces, although for their christenings.
Only been thinking about it a couple of days but my thinking is leaning towards willow.
It doesnt make anything edible, but theyre pretty robust, produce basketry materials, and they can live a long time. Plus our woods are very wet and my nieces are from somerset and willows are iconically connected with somerset. We already have a couple growing okay in shadow from other trees.
 
Wayne Mackenzie
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I think a Chestnut would be cool.
 
Nicole Alderman
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Ooooooh! So many great ideas you guys! Thank you so much!

Jack Edmondson wrote: First, congratulations on the birth of you son. I think it is a wonderful gesture for him to plant a tree he grow old alongside.
Thank you!

Jack Edmondson wrote: Since you are in the NW, I would suggest a Pacific Madrona. They are in decline. The wood is very good quality. The berries are edible. They grow quickly, and live 200-250 years. However, they perfer a western slope well drained slope.

Instead, I would suggest a Pacific Yew tree. Also unique to your area. A nice evergreen with small bright red berries. Very slow growing, but will live hundreds of years. In the lowlands (below 2500 feet) are fairly rare. It produces a chemical that is used in treatment cancer.


I'd love a madrona. They are such beautiful trees. They probably wouldn't like our northern slope though . I will look into the yews!

Leila Rich wrote:English walnut, smaller-growing eucalyptus, cherry, fig.
Actually, figs are awesome climbing trees, fruit really fast and I think they can live a long time...
I like the idea of the fig tree! I'll have to look into them to see how well they'd do on our property, but I love their edibility, lifespan, and biblical connotations. I hadn't thought of eucalyptus. I'll have to look into them now!

henry stevenson wrote:Im in the sw of england and I was planning something similar for my nieces, although for their christenings.
Only been thinking about it a couple of days but my thinking is leaning towards willow.
It doesnt make anything edible, but theyre pretty robust, produce basketry materials, and they can live a long time. Plus our woods are very wet and my nieces are from somerset and willows are iconically connected with somerset. We already have a couple growing okay in shadow from other trees.

We were thinking about willows, too, since we do have a lot of wet land, and my husband just sprouted a cutting, but I was reading that they only live about 40 years. Maybe your varieties live longer?

Eric Thompson wrote: I think the NW screams for an apple or pear! If you want it to live 100 years, a non-grafted tree may be a safer bet. My micro-nursery has some antonovka seedlings - for free if you are near Bothell or I-5 into Oregon...
Ooooooh! We might just take you up on this offer! We live near Monroe, so Bothell is definitely not too far away. We have one seedling apple, but it's only two feet tall, and we have NO idea what type of apple it would produce.

Wayne Mackenzie wrote:I think a Chestnut would be cool.
I will look into them. I don't know if they grow here or not. I'm actually amazed by the things that supposadly can grow here. Who would have thought Szechuan peppers, kiwis and figs could grow in the Pacific Northwest!

I will definitely have to discuss all these options with my husband. You guys are amazing--thank you so much! If anyone else has an amazing idea, please feel free to post it. Thank you all again!
 
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Perry pears are generally more bitter/tannic than one would want for sweet/non-alcoholic beverages. Pears are also harder to press than apples.

If you go with a table pear, one of the favorites from our tastings has been the Warren. Chapin too, but it's hard/impossible to find.

What a charming thing to do for your son.

 
Wayne Mackenzie
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Just FYI on the Chestnuts - http://www.washingtonchestnut.com/index.html
 
allen lumley
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No body thought to plant a money tree? Do you know what it costs to raise a kid these days, and don't get me started on 4 year schools ! :0 Big AL
 
Leila Rich
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Re sweet chestnuts: the ones I'm familiar with have some demanding pollination requirements;
I also stood on plenty of prickly chestnut shells as a kid, and I can confirm it's no fun at all
 
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Leila Rich wrote:
Re sweet chestnuts: the ones I'm familiar with have some demanding pollination requirements;
I also stood on plenty of prickly chestnut shells as a kid, and I can confirm it's no fun at all


The purpose of chestnut trees is to provide children with projectiles both smooth and prickly. A prickly one in a wool sock makes a nice weapon. Lots of fun.
 
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Has to be Walnut
long lived , Nuts very productive plus their great great grandchildren could benifit from the wood in a hundred years or so
Your request remided me of this story from the BBC
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10204759

David
 
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How about a sugar maple?
Can be climbed in a few years
Long lifespan
provides shade in the summer, color in the fall, leaves for winter cover, sap in the early spring for syrup
An added bonus is the helicopters (seed pods) the kids can stick on their noses.
 
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I was spoiled as a young hiker from Ontario Canada. Sugar maple bush is like parkland. Very easy to get around with lots of trails and not too much ground clutter. My gramma's bush had trillium, jack in the pulpit and pitcher plants in the bog. In one area near the bog, you could feel footsteps from someone 50 feet away in the wet soil. The trees rested on a floating mat of debris. Glaciers left the granite with natural bowls which hold water.

Here in BC, dead trees and undergrowth present a million obstacles to the hiker. The terrain is much steeper. We are more likely to stay on the trails.
 
Wayne Mackenzie
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Leila Rich wrote:
Re sweet chestnuts: the ones I'm familiar with have some demanding pollination requirements;
I also stood on plenty of prickly chestnut shells as a kid, and I can confirm it's no fun at all

Here in Az., we play on & around vegetation far thornier than Chestnuts.
 
Nicole Alderman
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Wayne Mackenzie wrote:Just FYI on the Chestnuts - http://www.washingtonchestnut.com/index.html
Reading that, I don't think a chestnut will work. Though we have 5 acres, two of it is protected wetlands, and most of the rest is shady and wooded. We only have about 1/2-1 acre of actual sunny land for growing, and it looks like I'd need three chestnuts and they'd eat up the whole area. Too bad, though, that will leave my kid(s) to throw sticks and bracken ferns at each other, since we don't even have any good throwing cones (hemlock cones are so tiny that they don't throw well!). I have very fond memories of "Pine" cone wars with my neighbors, throwing douglas fir cones at each other. Throwing the Bracken Ferns like spears is also really fun; my brother and I did that a lot!

David Livingston wrote: Has to be Walnut
long lived , Nuts very productive plus their great great grandchildren could benifit from the wood in a hundred years or so
Your request remided me of this story from the BBC
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10204759


Don't they have strong alleopathic qualities? How bad is it, really? Hmmmm, could I plant it in the understory of our hemlocks, or would that be too dark for it? That would be nice, though, because then we could turn some of our non-wetland forest into a better food forest!

Ken Peavey wrote: How about a sugar maple?
Can be climbed in a few years
Long lifespan
provides shade in the summer, color in the fall, leaves for winter cover, sap in the early spring for syrup
An added bonus is the helicopters (seed pods) the kids can stick on their noses.

Wow! I just looked up visuals on Sugar Maples--they sure are pretty in the fall! We have at least a dozen Big Leaf Maples on our property (which we've been tapping for syrup), but they are nowhere near a pretty as Sugar Maples!Why is it that the eastern states have trees that have so much prettier fall color than our deciduous trees here? It's not fare!

You guys are all amazing--so many cool tree ideas! Love it!
 
Ken Peavey
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It's the sharpness of temperature decline at night that brings out the intense colors.
 
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Yes, when I lived along the south shore of Lake Ontario, the maples weren't as colorful as those on higher ground away from the moderating effect of the lake. Rolling land in the Ottawa valley, in Vermont, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania has temperature gradient that can cause variations in color with altitude. Throughout Appalachia, leaves are generally more variable compared with level ground.
 
Nicole Alderman
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Ken Peavey wrote:It's the sharpness of temperature decline at night that brings out the intense colors.


That makes sense. It doesn't. however, explain why I have a property of alders with leaves that don't even really change color . They just get kinda dingy and then fall off. My Big Leaf Maples at least change color, albeit not as bright as the sugar maples...
 
Eric Thompson
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Nicole Alderman wrote:
Ken Peavey wrote:It's the sharpness of temperature decline at night that brings out the intense colors.


That makes sense. It doesn't. however, explain why I have a property of alders with leaves that don't even really change color . They just get kinda dingy and then fall off. My Big Leaf Maples at least change color, albeit not as bright as the sugar maples...



Not nearly as many trees for color here in the Northwest. For a bush, the aronia berry is great: a tough bush with good berries that are very easy to pick (and a top anti-oxidant!), and then they get some nice color in the Fall...
 
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Dale Hodgins wrote:
Leila Rich wrote:I also stood on plenty of prickly chestnut shells as a kid, and I can confirm it's no fun at all
The purpose of chestnut trees is to provide children with projectiles both smooth and prickly. A prickly one in a wool sock makes a nice weapon. Lots of fun.
Wayne Mackenzie wrote:Here in Az., we play on & around vegetation far thornier than Chestnuts.

I am a total wuss, from a land basically devoid of spiky, stingy and bitey things.
Go New Zealand!
 
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Garry Oak
 
Ken Peavey
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The colors won't come out if they are not in the leaves to begin with.
The red is because of anthocyanins in the leaf. Not all trees produce anthocyanins.
 
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I figured I'd give an update, as well as a BIG thank you to all of you for you ideas--I learned so much!--and an even bigger thank you to Eric Thompson! We decided to plant an antonovka apple tree, graciously donated by Eric. Thank you so much, Eric! Here's my son and his father planting the little tree. It will hopefully grow big and strong, with nice climbable branches that overlook the pond, and yummy apples that breed true.
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Even the cat came to help :)
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Filling it with soil
 
dirk maes
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In Flanders ( Belgium ) they used too plant linden and pears for girls or aples and oaks for boys. But these are regional customs.
 
Eric Thompson
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Looks great! Now I think you need to be planning for another child, as that tree definitely needs a companion pollinator!
 
John Saltveit
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It will grow big enough that you could graft many varieties onto it. Improve pollination and storage apples for eating in the spring.
John S
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Theresa Ross
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It has been about a year. It would be lovely to see an update of this year's birthday photo.

My children had a Mulberry tree to climb in. I think they are still sad we had to cut it down for a construction project. My oldest is 27 now.
 
Nicole Alderman
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Ask and ye shall receive! We went out during a lull in the rain today and I managed to snap some pictures (someone wanted to play more than stand by his tree, lol!).

I love that this tree has never been pruned, either by deer or me, and I very much would love to keep it that way. I also love how this tree was a gift from Eric Thompson and the decision aided by permies. It's even more awesome knowing it will always produce true to seed, and that the tree originates from Russia (where my sister-in-law is from). So much family and community and life wrapped up in one tree!

Growing at its base is comfrey (also gifted by Eric--thank you again!) and some strawberries, peas, and birdsfoot trefoil that fixes nitrogen and grew there naturally.

It seems to be leaning a bit to the south, likely due to having been supported by a fence that I recently widened. It will straighten out overtime without help, right?


Oh! And, since Baby #2 is currently "baking" in my belly oven, I've been trying to think of what tree to plant for him/her (due late October/November). I'm rather leaning to a pear if Baby is a girl, because of the Flanders (Belgium) history that Dirk Maes had mentioned. Part of me is tempted to start sprouting a seed now, grow it out in a pot and plant it on his/her birthday. Would growing it out in a big pot damage the roots?
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Lee Kochel
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The oldest living plant on the planet is a chestnut living on the side of a volcano in Sicily. It is about 4,500 years old.
 
Marco Banks
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Thank you for the update. I love this about the Permies community. The tree looks strong and healthy, as does the young one in whose honor it was planted.

Congrats on your second! Blessings to you and your growing family.
 
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