Happy Arbor Day!

April 29, 2016

This is another day that the city of East Orange ignores, along with Earth Day, the First Day of Spring, and so on. Arbor Day (from the Latin arbor, meaning tree) is a holiday in which individuals and groups are encouraged to plant and care for trees. Although the city claims to have a "Shade Tree Division" apparently no one works there or cares to promote Arbor Day in the city.

So, as usual, I celebrate it all alone. This year I did a study of the life cycle of the Sycamore trees that line Melrose Avenue in front of my house. In my backyard, I have an old Sycamore that is basically an outdoor living air conditioner that keeps our yard shady and cool all summer long.

But I am especially interested in growing fruit trees around my property. At one time, I have been told, fruit trees lined the backyards of most of the properties where Route 280 was excavated in East Orange. Today, you will have a difficult time finding any fruit trees at all left in the city. So I have planted apple, cherry and pear trees and hope someday to be able to enjoy the fruit of those trees when they begin producing (it takes several years).

I am happy to share the fruit and the knowledge of how to plant fruit trees and berry bushes with anyone who drops by to visit and enjoy what the earth has to offer us.

The Golden Delicious Apple Tree was planted last year so it is probably too soon to expect fruit, but on the day before Arbor day, a single flower bud appeared (see inset in above photo), so we'll keep an eye on it and hope a happy bee cross-pollinates it from the red delicious tree which also showed blossoms this year.

The two pear trees (Moonglow and Bartlett) were also planted last year. No flower buds yet, but if any appear, I'll come back and update this. As you can see, the grape vine is back and is already flowering with a promise of hundreds (maybe thousands) of Concord grapes for this fall.

Jim Gerrish

Arbor Day 2014

Arbor Day 2015

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