In 2005, Jeff Grewe faced a crucial decision: either finish college or devote his energy to the tree service business he had just started. With only a few credits short of graduating, he chose the tree service and never looked back. It was immediately apparent that Jeff had an aptitude for climbing trees and found joy in the mastery of making trees beautiful. With just a handsaw and a ladder, Arbor Aesthetics was born. Jeff’s operation remained small for many years while he gained experience and sought formal training in arboriculture.
Remember the Archer family? They were one our three 2017 Gift of Beautiful Trees recipients, and we recently cut their split maple tree down that was heavily damaged in last June's tornadoes. (You can read more about their story here). Not long after we removed that tree, Cub Scout Troop 1885 was looking for an opportunity to plant a tree for a service project and they heard about the Archers through our Gift of Beautiful Trees charity program. The perfect match!
What to plant?
When clients and friends ask us, "What should I plant?" we always refer them to the ReTree Nebraska's list of 17 Trees for 2017. This is a great list of native or regionally adapted trees that do well in the Great Plains. And, when we can, we send our clients over to our good friends at Great Plains Nursery in Weston, NE where they have an amazing selection of high quality trees, most of which are grown from local seed sources. They take incredible care in ensuring their trees grow fibrous root systems, which lead to the best planting outcomes. Great Plains Nursery was so generous to offer to donate a tree to the Archer family. They chose a Northern Catalpa (my personal favorite!) which will be provide good shade over their house and their lovely June flowers will not only beautify their neighborhood, but also attract pollinators. What's not to love about a Catalpa? (Can you tell it's my favorite?)
Call in the troops!
With summer fast approaching, we needed to beat the heat and get the tree in ground soon. On May 8th, Troop 1885 met at the Archer's house, ready to dig! Okay, maybe Jeff did most of the digging. But we had plenty of helpers to move soil back into the hole and to water it in!
The scouts learned many tree planting tips and techniques. They got to see and feel the difference between fibrous roots (which take up water and nutrients), and structural roots (which give the tree stability). They got to see what a high quality tree looks like from a nursery that uses RootMaker bags, which prevent circling roots and encourage fibrous root systems. They learned how to plant a tree at the proper depth so as not to bury the root flare. They even learned how to properly mulch around the tree, and why mulching is important for protecting the trunk from weed trimmers and mowers, and regulating soil temperature and moisture. (Remember, Troop 1885: No mulch volcanos!)
There's no better way to teach the next generation of tree huggers than to give them hands on experience. We're honored that our community has continued to bless the Archer family with their generosity and kindness, and this new tree will continue to give back for decades to come.
Amy Grewe, Certified Arborist & Co-Owner