It had to go because it was a hazard to the house it towered over (possibility of huge falling limbs), dropping 6 inch long flower clusters on the roof, clogging the gutters in Spring, and dropping huge leathery leaves on the roof, clogging the gutters in Fall. I wanted to get rid of the other Cottonwood tree also (who needs two Cottonwoods on a suburban lot?), but my husband likes the Cottonwoods, so, as a compromise, one gets to stay (for now). Over the Winter, the "Van Helsing" tree company cut down the hazardous monster. Time to plant something different, better, stronger, more attractive. Enter Bebb's Oak, Quercus bebbiana, a/k/a Quercus macrocarpa x alba.
Bebb's Oak is a natural hybrid, so it could be construed as planting a native tree. Squirrelhaven doesn't have room for either Q. macrocarpa or Q. alba, but the hybrid is supposed to be a more compact tree than either parent. Here's hoping that's the case. I ordered a large seedling/small tree through mailorder because Bebb's Oak forms a large taproot, so must be transplanted when small. I waited for an overcast day and prepared the planting hole, i.e. I stomped on my shovel to cut through the old root of the Cottonwood.
Then I gently removed all the soil from around the roots and spread them out in the hole. I put the potting soil on top of the tamped down unamended soil surrounding the roots, and watered. Drumroll please, highhat cymbal crash- a tree is planted! All it needs now is a nice surrounding of mulch and some chickenwire to keep the squirrels at bay.
(The sign is a quote from Dante's Inferno, "Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.")
I just wanted to mention that we got our first frost here at Squirrelhaven on Sunday, but it didn't reach any of the gardens, just part of the front lawn