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Canada's Local Gardener Podcast Episode 8: Talk about trees

Mike Rosen, the former President of Tree Canada, joins Dorothy and Shauna to talk about these gentle giants who influence our gardens. Tree Canada is the only national non-profit organization dedicated to planting and nurturing trees in rural and urban environments.

Mike took time out of his busy retirement to share his knowledge on forests and trees. On the topic of native trees, he points out that the gingko, a wonderful tree that can thrive in any urban environment, has no animals or insects that are dependent on it for life here; the genus is imported from China. The Saskatoon berry, on the other hand, is beloved by several species of butterflies and birds. But still, the gingko is not harmful to native species in the way that the Norway maple is. The Norway maple has dense shade that nothing native can survive under and seeds that outcompete our native species. It also has a thick root mass that stays close to the surface of soil which makes it easy to blow down in a storm.

They talk about the myth that trees will destroy the foundation of your house. Tree roots will not crack your foundation and sewers; they will grow into cracks in your foundation and sewers looking for water.

They talk about the Manitoba maple and its value—or hindrance—to the areas these trees grow in. Its seeds can germinate just about anywhere and before you know it, you’ll have a tree. This is great in Manitoba but less great in warmer areas. Dorothy does her best to defend the Manitoba maple.

Mike gives them a few tips on pruning trees. Gardeners can take care of their very young trees to prevent low forking of trees. When the tree starts getting taller and with larger limbs, you need to call a professional.

The conversation rattles along with wit and wisdom, hitting various notes that gardeners and nongardeners alike are sure to find interesting.

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