Our Colorado weather is finally warming up a bit and I’m keeping an eye on the tree in our front yard. As some long-time readers may recall, this is our 4th tree in less than 9 years.

The first tree was planted by the builders into hard-as-rock clay without consideration for how high the ground would be when construction was done and the soil leveled. Buried too deep, it didn’t survive the winter.

The second tree was the under-warranty replacement and grew nicely. Until ash borers took up residence in the trunk and sucked the life out of it. (See my previous post on being aware of the unseen.)

Since we really wanted shade in our front yard, we looked around for a type of tree that was resistant to native bugs and could handle our soil. Upon the recommendation of others, we bought an oak. Unusually hot and dry weather while we were out of town mixed with a malfunctioning sprinkler head … and it wilted and dropped half it’s leaves. I suspect the remaining leaves weren’t enough to supply the tree with the necessary fuel for growth and survival and by the next summer, we were looking for yet another tree.

Tree number four is a maple. And we are babying this one. Soil tests. Root stimulator. Organic material. Careful watering. Tree stakes to support it against the gale-force winds we’ve had in the past month. And cardboard-like tape wrapped around the truck to protect the young bark from frost.

Why? Because young trees need protection until they are strong enough to survive on their own. It takes time to develop a strong root system and thick bark. But there is a balance between babying new growth and letting it face the elements alone. Protect too long and it may be permanently weakened. Let go too soon and risk permanent damage.

The same is true of my life. Times when I was fragile (emotionally or physically) and needed protection from the storms of life. Times when I was young and needed support so I wasn’t blown about by the shifting winds of popular opinion. Times when I shelter and nurture my own children … and then gradually pull back until they can stand on their own.

What about you? How much protection do you need from the elements? Where is the balance between protecting our children and letting them experience the world?

Like A Tree – Protected
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