Barriers to Success
When one considers the many barriers to the survival of planted trees, it's somewhat surprising that any trees make it through the establishment phase. From my own photo library, I have picked out ten common 'barriers':
  • A tree strangled by its own tree tie
  • Vandalism
  • Development of girdling roots
  • Weed Wacker damage to a tree's base
  • Mulch volcanos
  • Deer damage
  • Planting too deeply into the soil
  • Drought damage to establishing trees
  • Pests and Diseases
  • Vole/Rabbit Damage 

This is not an exclusive list - there are plenty of other existential threats for our new trees. You'd think pests and diseases would be at the top of the list, but, apart from a few disease-plagued species, that's not my experience; most establishing trees die from artificial means.
It's difficult to rank these factors in order of importance. Perhaps in some areas, planting trees too deeply is the most common cause of tree death; in others, drought damage or vandalism may be the worst problem. 

There are two commonalities for most of these instances of tree failures:
  1. A lack of care in the planting of the trees
  2. A lack of ongoing care as the tree establishes.

For newly planted trees, it is rarely the case that one can just leave it to Nature. To overcome the many barriers to a tree's successful establishment, there needs to be someone who cares, who visits these young trees on a regular basis and resolves problems early, as well as they can. Unfortunately, all the media is obsessed with tree planting numbers, and those tree heroes that do the actual work to coax planted trees through their establishment phase rarely get a mention. Let’s celebrate those who work with trees, not just planting events, to try to even out this major imbalance. It’s not enough to plant a tree, you have to grow a tree.
Tree strangled by it's own Tie
Vandalism - this tree has been pushed over
Development of girdling roots
Weed Wacker damage to a tree's base
Deer damage
Drought damage to establishing trees
Mulch volcanos
Planted too deeply into the soil
Pests and Diseases
Vole/Rabbit Damage 
Nature in a Box?
Many of us want to do the right thing to help Nature thrive. Who hasn't put a birdfeeder up to welcome birds into a new area, only to have it come under constant assault by the neighborhood squirrel instead! Go to your local garden center or retail area and you will find some pretty examples of bug hotels for sale. I'm sure that putting them up will make you feel good, but do they make much difference? Probably not, and there's no science to support that they do.

Research shows that bug hotels are mostly a fad. There has been very little science applied to them to determine their effectiveness. The science that has been applied highlights that many bug hotels are poorly designed for solitary bee species and can even have a negative effect due to their size and design by inviting in the parasites of such solitary bees. What else they commonly support is somewhat unknown, other than it tends to be very common creatures at no risk of extinction.
There's something in the psychology of humans that we desire a simple quick-fix that does not disrupt what we want to carry on doing. Many of these bug hotels being built are symptomatic of that psychology: let's not give over any land area to Nature, let's just put in a convenient box in the corner of the park, and we've done what we needed to do. Far better to design and manage habitats in the garden then take the easy way and buy cute consumer stuff.
Broccoli Salad

½ cup raisins
½ red onion, finely sliced
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
4 tsp sugar
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 ½ pounds broccoli (2 heads), chopped
1 apple, cored and chopped
2 scallions, sliced
½ cup pepitas
1 cup grapes, halved
Place raisins and red onion in small bowl with vinegar, sugar, ¾ tsp salt and 2 tablespoons water. Let sit for 10 minutes. Toss remaining ingredients in bowl with raisins and red onion mix and additional ½ tsp salt and pepper. Can be made 6 hours ahead. Refrigerate until serving.
Thanks for Reading
and Happy Planting!
Faith Appelquist
President & Founder