When thinking about trees, remember that there is a “right tree in the right place” and it’s also a good idea to plant it at the right time of year. With warming temperatures and drying soils now is the time to be sure your irrigation systems are ready to deliver the right of amount of water to the trees on your property. Keep in mind that trees need different amounts of water than turf and typically trees planted in the past 3 years will require approximately 10 gallons of water per inch of trunk diameter per week. Tree diameter is measured at adult breast height for trees over 6” in diameter, and at 12” above grade for trees less than 6”; and the diameter is equal to the circumference divided by pi (3.14). For example: a dogwood planted in April 2017 has a measured circumference of 12”, which equals a diameter of 3.8”, should receive approximately 40 gallons of water per week during the hottest days of summer. To encourage strong and deep roots it is best to water trees deeply, and a 1-3” layer of wood chip or bark mulch will help maintain an even soil temperature for the roots and retain moisture this summer.
The PNW native Vine maple, Acer cincinatum, is an excellent tree for anyone wanting a smaller tree that offers interesting fall color and attracts birds. The Vine maple is one of the three maples natives to the northwest and occurs throughout the Cascades in Washington at elevations from sea level to 4,500 feet, ranging from sunny to shady, and wet to dry, from moist bottom-lands, to dry rocky slopes. It grows best in areas with moist soils and some shade. Although in nature, Vine maple is often found in moist to wet places in the shade of other trees, it will also thrive in sunny openings with adequate moisture.
Vine Maple grows as a multi-stemmed large shrub or small deciduous tree. Its habit is highly variable, often depending upon exposure. It can grow from 10 to 30 feet high with an equally variable spread. “Vine” maple, although not really a vine, has very slender, often sprawling, branches. These branches often root to produce new trees, creating dense thickets underneath the shade of taller conifers. Circinatum refers to the “rounded,” regularly lobed leaves. Its leaves are simple, opposite and deciduous, with vivid colors in the autumn. The leaves average 2”-4” in diameter and are palmately lobed with 5-9 lobes (usually 7). The fruits are double samaras that resemble an airplane propeller. The bark is smooth with a greenish tinge.
Be sure to keep the Vine maple in mind when you next need a smaller sized tree that will do well in White Salmon’s climate.