why we dont plant groups of 4 trees

ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5December 26, 2011

Whitespire birch ... mail order 10 years ago .... 3 foot whips .... or whatever they are called ...

why should i have not planted 4???

you pros.. give others a chance ... before you nail it ...

ken

Ps: 'because its stupid' is not a viable answer ... lol

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viburnumvalley(z5/6 KY)

How odd you should ask...

    Bookmark   December 26, 2011 at 10:13AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

hey

who believes everything they read ..

one must experiment.. and fail for himself .. to really learn.. lol ...

ken

    Bookmark   December 26, 2011 at 10:24AM
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wisconsitom

Ken, I promise not to answer your question. But I do like the fact that your four are not jammed together. That to me is the strange thing-that with birch, they suddenly must be stuck together in the pot to form "clump birch" as though that's a variety or something!

Having said that, I have the ultimate clump birch in my woods, in that they seem to have a predilection to starting their lives right next to a "cedar tree", Thuja o. Both trees go through life clasped together, with the birch growing much faster and towering over its mate, til death do them part-sort of.

+oM

    Bookmark   December 26, 2011 at 12:05PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

hey tom.. when i planted.. i pictured 1 to 1.5 foot trunks.. and planted them far enough apart.. to not be infringing with each other at that time ...

when they were 3/4 inch whips.. planting them 3 and 4 foot apart on separate axis.. sure looked silly ... lol ..

now.. why 4 in this bunch??? ... well.. i bought 9 ... wanting 3 groups of 3 over the 5 acres ... and ended up getting an extra ... probably a 'tard they didnt feel happy sending as a full priced tree ... so this group got the spare ...

come on newbie.. give us a guess... the anticipation is killing me ...

if no answer by tuesday.. anyone feel free ...

ken

    Bookmark   December 26, 2011 at 1:16PM
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wisconsitom

I surmised that you had left room for expansion lol. Most people don't. I still remember jamming them into pots as whips back in the seventies. No, I wasn't in charge!

+oM

    Bookmark   December 26, 2011 at 2:46PM
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cyn427(z7aN. VA)

Hmmm, Ken...well, other than the fact that I prefer asymmetry and therefore prefer odd-numbered groups of plants, could it have something to do with not getting enough light to the insides of the limbs since they are more totally blocking each other when there are four of them? Just a guess.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2011 at 3:05PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

The better question is why you planted even one!

    Bookmark   December 26, 2011 at 4:06PM
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mrgpag

Probably planted them that way so in the future he could ask the question on an other-wise rather boring December day.

Marshall

    Bookmark   December 26, 2011 at 5:21PM
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j0nd03

To deflect from the most obvious question posed from the pics: Why is there a bowling bowl in a birch clump?

    Bookmark   December 26, 2011 at 5:35PM
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j0nd03

bowling ball* lol

    Bookmark   December 26, 2011 at 5:36PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

I thought it was one of those Mario Brothers' bombs trying to blend in...

    Bookmark   December 26, 2011 at 6:16PM
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j0nd03

Irony


By jp_42_82 at 2011-12-26

    Bookmark   December 26, 2011 at 7:06PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

hey cyn.. thank god you gave it a stab.. lol

the weakling ... leaning way out of the bunch... is the north one.. its getting shaded by the E,W, & N ones ... i predict it will fail .. i dont think there would be any way to site them.. that one wouldnt end up such ..

why plant them.. i have 5 acres.. why not... i am a collector.. i wanted a birch .. lol .. and i may as well try the ALLEGED borer resistant.. and the white barked one ...

the bowling ball ... we had a irish wolf hound mix [that would be a 100 pound dog, with paws on your shoulder.. he looked me right in the eye] .. and he used to carry it around the yard.. drop it.. bark wildly at it.. get in position like he was going to hump it.. and throw it back under .. thru his back legs... turn like a maniac.. bark at it again.. pushing it all over the 100 by 150 backyard.. and then.. when he got tired.. pick it up and carry it back to wherever he wanted to lay down ..

when i was not enjoying the quiet .. i would make a proper bowling stroke.. across the yard.. and off he would go ...

one time.. i trimmed an 8 inch branch off a maple .. 8 feet long... and when i had it all stripped.. he walked up.. and carried it off.. you should have seen him grab that thing.. and start spinning with it ...

thanks for the memories.. i was wondering if anyone would spot it ...

he has been gone for about 14 years.. but the ball ... sitting in the yard.. makes me smile once in a while ... he died a couple years before we moved here.. but i brought the ball along anyway ...

originally, i think i was going to just throw it away .. and just chucked it out of the garage onto the lawn .. he took it from there ... lol

marshall .... i dont think i have to foresight to plant things so that 11 years later i can entertain us .. lol ... but you are spot on in regard to the winter doldrums on GW .. i gotta couple hundred other stupid questions ready to go ... lol..

ken

    Bookmark   December 26, 2011 at 7:17PM
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j0nd03

Touching story, Ken.

What fun would life be without experiments? At least so far all the birches appear in good health. I would die if I could get bark like that on a tree down here!

    Bookmark   December 26, 2011 at 8:02PM
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karate626(7A Maryland)

I think people plant 3 or less trees instead of 4 because it is cheaper! lol

I like the bowling ball!

TJ

    Bookmark   December 26, 2011 at 9:15PM
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wisconsitom

Ken your Whitespires look better than the ones I've seen. I hate them, excepting yours. Originally, Dr. Ed Hasselkus, a fine plantsman, brought this cultivar to market as a variety of Betula shezuanensis (Sp) IIRC. Later shown to be a gray birch variant. For whatever reason, the ones I've seen around here are vastly inferior to our native papyrifera. Of course, that species is subject to both leaf miner and bronze birch borer.

But...and there's always a but........in good sites, regular old B. papyrifera is unbeatable around here, and I have a woods full of vigorous specimens. No leaf miner or borer. It's cool and moist up there and they loves it.

But I like yours!

+oM

    Bookmark   December 26, 2011 at 10:06PM
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subtropix

The goal in planting trees and shrubs in odd-numbered groups is to create a less formal, less symmetrical, more "natural" look. It boils down to a question of aesthetic preferences. "Formal/classical" European gardens favor strong symmetry. At the other end of the spectrum, Asian gardens have traditionally valued asymmetry in garden design--hence plant in odd-numbered groups (the goal being to obscure the role of man in creating the garden).--Of course, sometimes nature does favor the evens over the odds, and symmetry over asymmetry.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2011 at 7:51AM
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cyn427(z7aN. VA)

Ken, love the Irish Wolfhound story! My BIL had one once. Eye to eye when I was sitting on the couch-ha. Glad you still have the bowling ball! Always knew you are really a softie despite your penchant for CAPITAL LETTERS!

Happy new year to everyone.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2011 at 12:03PM
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jocelynpei

What diameter are those guys going to get? What happens when the water trapped in the small space between them freezes? I know what happens when 4 stump sprouts grow up large enough to touch in a resprouted oak, grin. Come on, somebody guess....I can't be the only fool out there today, huge grin.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2011 at 12:21PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

they are .. on center.. 4 feet E to W ...and 3 feet N to S ...

on the 4 feet.. on center.. that means each tree will need to be a 4 foot trunk.. before they touch ... [that 2 feet off each center]

and i will be dead and gone.. long before then ..

ken

    Bookmark   December 27, 2011 at 1:25PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

Perhaps Ken had something else in mind but someone had already eluded to the answer. Groupings in nature are typically seen in odd numbers and therefore create asymmetry. Planting in even numbers creates symmetry.

Although I rarely plant in groupings anymore, personally the only group I avoid is two.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2011 at 6:46PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

frankly .. there is nothing symmetrical about that planting ... other than the number 4 ...

i understand what you all mean ... and if they were something like alberta spruces.. exact clones or duplicates of each other ... so be it..

but i dont see symmetry in 4 trees ... they just dont grow uniformly enough for the symmetry argument ... IMHO

regardless.. great debate ... lets see if i can dream up some other debate issue ...

ken

    Bookmark   December 28, 2011 at 10:36AM
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wisconsitom

I have confidence in you Ken. Dream away!

There's actually lots of straight lines in old-growth forests. Fallen logs acting as nurse logs resulting in rows of trees later. Stuff like that.

+oM

    Bookmark   December 28, 2011 at 10:54AM
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jqpublic(7b/8a Wake County NC)

Well they are all lush on the one side not facing their friends...so they are all heavy on one side...so they could all just tip over or snap during a wet snow or ices storm or even a heavy rain.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2011 at 1:52AM
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wisconsitom

Less certain about "Whitespire" but our native paper birches are unbelievably flexible under load. I've seen 12" diameter trunks bent so that their tips were touching the ground, rebound after the ice melts off as if nothing happened. Pretty fit species for ice/snow loading.

+oM

    Bookmark   December 30, 2011 at 12:24PM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

We plant in threes because here in the upper midwest- trees (the plants) and trees (as in trees a crowd) are the same word. ;-). Landscaper: What would you like down der by da driverway? Homeowner: Trees.

And so it started...

BTW, nature will plant in fours. Pix of a hemlock clump in the Sylvania Wilderness Area in Michigan's U.P.

And looking up...

tj

    Bookmark   January 5, 2012 at 6:08PM
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calliope(6)

I once worked for a nurseryman/landscaper on the growing end of the operation. He had just finished a job on a road I sometimes traveled to work and he asked me my opinion. My response "what job?" I told him I didn't remember seeing any fresh landscaping at any of the business on that road. I didn't expect his reaction when he grinned and said that meant it was a huge success. LOL. He wanted a natural look and evidently got it.

That being said, suggestions on landscape or any floral design is just that. They aren't cut in stone and that means you do what looks good to the eye and balances the picture. Lightening isn't going to strike you if you plant anything in an even number. If you think about it, nature does just that roughly 50% of the time. ;-)

Had some gals from a gardening club come in for some sort of presentation, and a floral designer had been on their program the month before. A lady asked me to please show her which was the 'front' of her plant so she could face it forward in her pot. I told her what ever side looked best to her. She argued to me that plants indeed had a front and a back because he said so! I don't think I convinced her that he didn't mean that in the literal sense.

I spent part of my growing up years in Europe and am rather a fan of formal gardens. I can go either way. I think the only thing I find really disturbing are the 'little-soldiers-in-a-row' foundation plantings or bowling ball shrubs. Oh......one more.....and it's very popuar here. They buy a gorgeous weeping ornamental tree and trim it straight around so it looks like an open umbrella. I always makes me think of Edward Scissorhands.

BTW beautiful birches.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2012 at 10:07PM
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bogturtle(SE NJ 7a)

Had to chime in. Classical ideal configurations have come down to us, and they please me, as well as they did the ancients. An odd number, 3, 5 or 7 is informal and naturalistic. While no more common in nature than any other, actually.
And certain musical tones are, generally found pleasing. C,E and G, sounded together, as an example. Certain color combinations, also.
The golden rectangle, as the base for the Parthenon, is another example. Some, and I try to figure out why, prefer to break these traditional rules. To each their own. But I do agree with Calliope, and find bun-shaped bushes like products of ignorant mutilation. Forsythia does not even bloom well when subjected to such abuse.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2012 at 9:11PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

bumpin for a guy named annie ... lol

ken

    Bookmark   June 1, 2012 at 12:19PM
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cearbhaill

Ken- here are some of mine

    Bookmark   June 1, 2012 at 3:03PM
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Annie2012

Good thing the "guy" named Annie is planting 3 groups of 3 clumps.....eh? LOL

I had thought about the fact that clumps may limit the life as opposed to 1 trunk...correct?

But, I am copying an effect I saw locally....3 separate clumps of River Birch about 28 ft apart each in a line (the example of what I am copying is about 30 years old). All the canopies were touching nicely.

Honestly, I don't expect it to last much longer than 30 years....but I couldn't figure out much I could plant there that would last longer.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2012 at 5:09PM
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