I’m going to put this right out there. I have no idea what I’m doing. If you came here for some great advice on transplanting a volunteer maple sapling, promptly hit that little back button on your browser and head off in another direction.
There are no trees in my yard, front or back. I’ve been thinking about a tree since I moved here over 4 years ago. If raking were all I desired, there are several neighboring trees that supply the leaves. Yet I would also like shade and scenery. Teasing my barren landscape, little maples have been popping up in the worst places. This summer there was one growing inches away from the foundation of my house. It was either move it or kill it. I asked my friend Mary, being a master of many talents including gardening, if she thought I could transplant this volunteer sapling in my front yard. She replied, “Oh sure! Those things grow like weeds!”
And so it did. The thing grew a good eight feet tall while I was waiting for the right time. Today the neighbors two doors down are digging an unsightly hole in their front yard and messing around with their gas and sewer lines — we’re all pretty sure there are no professionals involved. I figured with the possibility of the whole neighborhood going up in a mushroom cloud, there isn’t going to be anyone concerned with me planting what may very well be a dead maple tree by the time I get done with it. This seemed like the perfect day.
Step 1. I dug up the sapling, trying to preserve as much of the root as possible and, I’m afraid, not as much as necessary.
Step 2. The soil was loosened up by soaking with a garden hose, and a nice round hole was traced out with a spade.
Step 3. I dug the hole, making a little berm along the down-side to discourage water runoff. At this point, I was laughing wondering if the neighbors thought I was starting my own sewer/gas-line project.
Step 4. The seedling was set with purchased topsoil to keep it in place — which is smack in the middle of my front yard. Everywhere else seemed too close to the neighbor’s pine, the driveway, the city easement, or the house. Smack in the middle it was!
Step 5. The side branches were pruned to encourage straight growth and lessen distress on the sapling. Have I mentioned I do not know what I’m doing? I sound good though, right?
It’s been a few hours, the sun has almost set. The top leaves look a little . . . sad. This is where I plead for comments on ways I can improve this little guy’s chances. I have always been pretty lucky with flowers, and can grow enough vegetables to keep the two of us and a rabbit in fresh produce for the summer. I can grow weeds like you have never seen before. I can NOT grow grass to save my soul! But a poem so lovely as a tree? We shall see . . . We shall see.