Natural Landscapes

...or "natural looking" landscapes?

In Northeast Ohio, water and soil combine to create microhabitats that are suitable for only some trees. The original Fairview Cemetery was placed on the highest point of Hiram Village, the outflow from the poorly drained clay soils of the hill, falling into a tributary of Silver Creek, well away from the drinking water supplies and springs of most inhabitants. The clay soils on the hill were cleared in the early 1800s of the mature beech-maple forest that once covered much of the Western Reserve, the beeches and maples forming nature's own wooden columns for the cathedrals of nature formed by these elegant woodlands. By by early 20th century, these high grounds were all taken, leaving behind, the lower, less well drained clay soils that formed the surrounding swales and onetime headwater habitats to Silver Creek. The most recently opened section of Fairview, to the east of the original 1820s cemetery hill is a virtual swamp with poorly drained clay soils over the entire section. This change in soils is a result of farming that presumably cleared the thin humus layers that covered the clay, leaving behind the deep clay clods and unenriched earth that holds water so effectively. Only trees tolerant of "wet feet", i.e. roots that can withstand water, can survive in this area. Therefore, the sugar maple, an original tree favored by our 19th century ancestors can not survive today in this habitat altered by the influence of 200 years of human habitation. Instead we need to plant swamp oak, river birch and bald cypress, trees that are adapted to wet soil conditions.