CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- At my house, we lost a lot of trees during the late-June/early-July storms. (Not to mention the roof, the ceiling in one room due to water damage, and lots of sleep ... but our story isn't any different from that of anyone else who lived through those 100-degree days without power!)
A couple of the trees that fell were 20-plus-year-old conifers, so I've been researching what trees I'll plant in their places. I'll have to find these trees locally, as it would be cost-prohibitive to have them shipped here. I plan to talk to my local garden centers to see if they can help me get the trees I want to plant.
A blue Douglas fir that's fast-growing and conical with thick, grooved, corky, gray-brown bark and aromatic blue-green leaves might replace the spruce tree that fell.
Our river birch, planted in the mid-1990s, was just beautiful. The storm took out one of the main trunks and left the rest scraggly. I've been looking at a white-barked Himalayan birch as a replacement. If I can find one with a single trunk, it will be a sturdier tree, yet it has the open-branched look and the bright white bark similar to the river birch. It grows tall -- 50 feet -- so it might be too big for our site.
The paperbark maple is a deciduous, spreading tree with striking peeling, orange-brown bark; the leaves turn red and orange in autumn. It can be found as a single-trunk tree that might fit the spot. Its estimated height is under 30 feet.
When to replant
Janie Carpenter, a landscape designer and certified horticulturalist for Creation Gardens (affiliated with G and G Nursery) in Lesage said the best time to replant is fall, but if you're impatient, you'll just have to do more work.
"We plant every day -- but you have to water a lot. The best time, of course, is fall," Carpenter said.
She said smaller trees that were damaged are more likely to survive the ravages of the storms.
"Anything over 50 percent damage probably can't be saved, but a smaller or newer tree can bounce back by themselves as long as the bark isn't busted up on the main trunk.
"Trees are kinda like us -- they get a cut or something and they heal back quickly," Carpenter said.
Topping the trees is not the answer.
"That's a big no-no -- it makes it very weak, susceptible to diseases. The tree won't have enough leaves on it to support the root system."