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Native Trees

We are fortunate to have become the human tenders of a 5-acre portion of a mixed conifer forest. This particular micro-climate at 9000 ft in the Colorado Rockies is home to a beautiful diversity of limber pines, Douglas firs, Ponderosa pines, quaking aspen groves, and a smattering of other species, including lodgepole pines, true firs, and Englemann spruces.

As the climate shifts, the population is likely to shift toward the Ponderosa pines and aspens, which thrive on warmer slopes at lower elevations, and are more resistant to damage from wildfires. But we are delighted by the other trees that are here at present.

We have a number of young trees growing on disturbed land, such as the slope immediately above the house, where if they were left to grow they would shade our solar panels. We've been experimenting with transplanting them, but had discouraging results the first year, with only three of 20 seedlings (2 aspens and a Douglas fir) surviving being moved to a different spot, despite our faithfully watering them.

The county provides native tree seedlings prepared for planting and we intend to try planting some of them, and following their advice to increase our success. We will also be transplanting two larger saplings that are growing on the spot where we will be installing our ground-mount PV array, and hope that we will have better success with larger plants.

Once we have learned methods of transplanting and nourishing seedlings, we plan to plant a number of trees each year to draw down carbon from the air. In the meantime, we are also contributing to a charitable organization that is working on reforesting in Colorado burn areas, among other projects, to offset carbon emissions.

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