Trees and autumn are almost synonymous in my part of the country, for with the loss of summer flowers, midwestern trees fill the land with year-end color. The brilliant foliage keeps our landscape exciting and even, at certain bends in the road, magnificent.

The Trouble with Trees

My mom always felt trees made property more valuable and beautiful. Don’t tell my mom, but I’m of the opinion that some trees are nothing but t-r-o-u-b-l-e. I know; I’ve owned a few. They are what I affectionately refer to as “trash trees.” You know, the ones that produce ugly stuff that looks like cigar debris or tobacco wads. These unsightly castoffs from the tree are tossed around by the winds, leaving an ugly path throughout the neighborhood that causes neighbors’ lips to purse when they pass you, the owner of the tree, in the grocery store.

And what about the trees whose roots are like tentacles, looking to choke out the life of your septic system, part your driveaway like the Red Sea, or disembowel your sidewalk? One year I planted some bamboo trees for a privacy screen next to our deck. What I didn’t realize was that bamboo has a sneaky habit of sending out leader trees underground that pop up in neighbors’ yards. Those are the same neighbors who didn’t desire a privacy screen, a bamboo tree, a koala bear, or now us as neighbors. 

Many trees produce lovely flowers, fruit, and fall color without negative fallout. Of course, before planting a fruit tree, one should realize they are labor-intensive because of the pruning, the fruit felons that attack the tree, and the autumn debris. Yet I think a few fruit trees are worth the seasonal struggles.

The Rewards are Sweet

Yes, trees offer many rewards: sipping iced tea under the shade of a wonderful tree; tying a swing to a high branch, and trying to touch the clouds with your toes, or taking a nap in a hammock stretched between two tree trunks. And I surely wouldn’t want to miss out on the flaming red and yellow maples in the autumn. They are fall’s fireworks. 

Trees add stability, beauty, and value, which is probably why Scripture encourages us to become like well-watered trees, trees that are lush with foliage, deep in roots, and continually bear fruit (see Psalm 1:3; Jeremiah 17:8).

Branch Out through Scripture

Branch out in your life by spending time in the scriptures. Turn to the concordance in the back of your Bible and look up all the verses listed under “tree” and “fruit”. I think you’ll be encouraged and instructed … I was.

Some of My Favorite Trees

Saucer Magnolia

The short-lived, stupendous flowers are followed by delightful, oval-shaped, mint-colored leaves that deepen for autumn interest.

Japanese Maple

This tree is a miniature way to add a little frill and a lot of color-depth to your garden.

Barlett Pear

The fruitless version of this tree has beautiful flowers in the spring and colored leaves in the fall.

Apple

The gnarly trunk and limbs add a sense of history to the landscape.

Flowering Plum

This plum-pretty tree develops dark leaves and in spring, dainty flowers.

Dogwood

Bark up this tree and find lovely pink of white spring flowers looking back atcha.

Weeping Cherry

Cheers me up somehow.

Blue Spruce

A great refuge for birds, this tidy tree lends gently coloration and a wonderful shape to the garden.

Birch

Has a great parchment look.

Crab Apple

Well, it just fits my personality

Palm Tree

Pass me a coconut dah-ling. On windy days, palms look like feather dusters sweeping the sky.

Excerpt from Stepping Stones, A Garden Path

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