From the ashes, a new beginning

By Jamie Morris

A tractor lifts 13 replacement trees into place. Photo: Jamie Morris.

Last month the Advocate reported on the loss of the 13  trees in Lindsay’s tiny Peace Park, located just north of Central Senior Public School on Albert Street. All were ash, all were infested by emerald ash borers. It was, on a small scale, a foretaste of what is happening across the City; experts say all of our 24,000 ash trees will succumb. 

For Peace Park, the loss was particularly poignant:  A plaque mounted near the stumps let visitors know the trees had represented not only our ten provinces and three territories, but “hope for the future.” 

In past weeks the ash stumps were removed and planting holes prepared.

Recently, Parks Department Crew Leader Shaun Davidson supervised as a tractor lifted 13 substantial  replacement trees into place. Davidson estimates all of them are seven to eight years old; they were purchased with their bare roots burlap-wrapped.  

Thirteen trees and 13 different varieties reflect provincial and territorial diversity but will also avoid the problem that planting a single species — a monoculture — can create.  (Think of the ashes falling to emerald ash borer, before them the elms to Dutch elm disease, and even before those the chestnuts to chestnut blight.) 

A quick guide to what you’ll find in Peace Park now:

*Sugar, red, Freeman’s, and silver maple:  What could be more Canadian than a maple? Four of the different maple species found in Canada are among the plantings.  

*Tamarack: Canada’s only deciduous conifer. The needles turn bright yellow and are shed in the fall. Tamarack is the territorial tree for the Northwest Territories. 

*Red oak: Common in the Maritimes, the red oak is P.E.I.’s provincial tree. Brilliant red fall colour. The acorns should make it popular with our abundant squirrel population. 

*Hackberry: What’s not to like about this elm relative? It is adaptable and has small, sweet purple fruit that ripen in the fall and are favoured by birds; the leaves are food for many kinds of caterpillars. 

*White Birch: The provincial tree of Saskatchewan. Popular with a number of birds, including chickadees, pine siskins, and redpolls. 

*Little leaf linden: Not a provincial or territorial tree, but a good selection for a Lindsay park: It tolerates urban conditions and has fragrant blooms in July. 

*Red pine: “Red” pine because the bark is reddish. Slender and grows very tall (up to 35 m.). The needles are in pairs.  

*White pine: Ontario’s provincial tree. Tall and straight, in the past it was turned into ship’s masts. You can identify it from its bundles of five needles. 

*Balsam fir: This is New Brunswick’s provincial tree. A popular Christmas tree and fitting for a park restored in time for the festive season.

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