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Sylvia and Her Japanese Maple

February 22, 2018

When it comes to planting trees, the guiding principle is to “plant the right tree in the right place.” Another important part of that principle is “…with the right person.” Sylvia Olivares is definitely a great example of that.

Sylvia and her husband bought their East Sacramento home in 1999 and wanted to plant a tree in front. They had enough space for a small tree and wanted one that provided fall color, so a Japanese Maple seemed to be the best choice. When she received the tree, or as she put it “a twig to begin with,” she was careful to dig a proper hole, making sure to follow the advice that she received from one of our Community Foresters. She dug a perfectly round hole with a pedestal in the middle of the hole to place the tree on. 

Once the tree was planted she gave the tree regular slow, deep water soaks. She weeded around the base of the tree often to make sure that it did not have to compete for water or nutrients. As it grew, she tapered off on the frequency of watering, but to this day keeps an eye on it, even watering it a few times last summer during the heat. “That’s my baby,” she says.

All that attentiveness has paid off. For a Japanese Maple, Sylvia and her husband have a giant. In the fall the tree shows off brilliant color that is first orange then red. It regularly attracts robins, black phoebes and scrub jays. This summer she'd even had bluebirds visit, which she’d never seen before. Recently, it attracted some other local wildlife: she looked outside and saw that four kids who must have been walking home from the elementary school were climbing in her tree. She kindly asked them to climb out, although her robust tree was not at all affected by them.

Sylvia was excited to share her story about her “baby” Japanese Maple, and she encourages others to participate in the Sacramento Shade program. As she says “get shade, get your trees, you have a lot to choose from.” If you are ready to become a proud tree steward like Sylvia, learn more about our Sacramento Shade program.