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The Douglas Tree – Friend or Enemy?

Von Gary Blackburn

Friends of our family recently joined a tour through the woods nearby guided by the local forester. Our friends told me how well and interesting the forester explained the connections and relations between the spruce monoculture, the climate change, the bark beetle and the devastating situation that we encounter today across huge areas. 

Instead of trees all we see is wasteland with just a few tree stumps left. Some single Douglas trees are standing among those remains of spruces. The Douglas trees get along with the new hot climate conditions far better than the German spruces. But this fact and their presence in our woods is being highly controversial discussed.

In 1828 the Scotsman David Douglas had brought the first seeds from North America to Europe. A close related type of tree had already been present in Europa until the ice age. The Douglas tree was then planted in large quantities in Germany and all of Europe around 1880. The wood of the Douglas tree is well known for its stability, durability and its resistance against parasites. This make it an excellent material for outdoor constructions like balconies.

As a foreigner the Douglas tree faces many opponents in Germany. Some even fear, the Douglas tree might take over what is left of the German forest completely. Some therefore recommend felling the Douglas tree. 

The forester and I can understand why some experts might be worried. But leaving just a wasteland cannot be the answer. How much more attractive is a mixed wood with newly planted deciduous trees and Douglas trees – not only spreading their seeds but also spending some shadow sheltering the young deciduous trees.

As foresters are not allowed to set up fences in the woods, it is up to the tenants and hunters to protect the young trees – many were planted just a few months ago – from wild animals. Without such protection the young forest would not have a chance to grow.

Luckily, most of our customers do not need the help of a hunter to manage their trees and gardens. But what is essential, is the professional and sustainable care. Only this can make sure that your beloved trees are best treated to survive the expected heat and drought of summer.

You have questions? We support you in all your wishes and concerns and give free expert advise to keep your trees and garden safe and healthy. 

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