What Trees to Plant at the Lake

by Richard Judd, Jr.

Trees are very valuable to have at the lake. In some places before building or remodeling, we see beautiful old trees (some approaching 100 years) chopped down. In many cases, the plan could be revised to save the tree. They enhance the value of not only the property, but the environment. Early summer is not too late to plant trees at the lake.

Young and actively growing trees reduce the carbon footprint by turning carbon dioxide in the atmosphere into oxygen. Conversely, old and dying trees provide nutrients to the soil and reverse the process by putting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Their shade cools our yards and homes and reduces the electric bills from air conditioning.

In the U.S. Department of Agriculture Soil Survey for Cass County, they list the types of soil conditions around Magician Lake and what trees might grow best. Since much of the soil is wet and close to water, some trees will fare better than others. This is a listing of which will do best – coniferous-type trees (have seed cones), red and white pine, spruce, and cedar. Among the deciduous trees (leaves that fall every year) – walnut, oak, and beech do well, but have a prolific production of nuts. The yellow poplar or commonly called Tulip Tree is a fast growing and beautifully full tree and loves moisture. The river birch is a lovely tree and loves wet soil, but does not provide much shade. The silver maple is a fast growing tree and adapts well to wet soil. The true red maple is also a beautiful tree and, though slower growing to full maturity, it will have a much longer life span... Both are excellent shade trees. The tamarack is one of only two kinds of deciduous conifers. It is of the pine family, but in the fall, its needles will turn fall colors and drop off each year. Tamarack does well near water, but is not too common in our area.

For more information, consult a good local landscaper or the Cass County Extension Office in Cassopolis. Time to plant!