November 19, 2018
LYNN AND LESLIE SAGE
Continuing a family tradition
Concerned about the low tree coverage in Oxford County, Lynn and Leslie Sage initiated a tree planting project on their farm, following in the footsteps of past generations.
The sisters own three farms along Old Stage Road, two of which have been in their family for five generations. One property is home to a provincially significant wetland with Kenny Creek winding through a large heritage deciduous bush.
To protect the elderly trees from harsh winds, the sisters planted seedlings along the perimeter of the bush to create a windbreak. The Upper Thames River Conservation Authority provided 350 native tree species including white pine, sycamore, tamarack, white cedar and bitternut hickory.
“Our interest in planting trees has stemmed from my great grandparents planting many hard sugar maples along roadsides and laneways and my parents planting seedlings every spring,” said Lynn Sage. “I’ve done it for years, never thought about winning an award for it, but it’s a wonderful thing to encourage tree planting.”
The trees are a legacy to their ancestors and the Sages will continue the family tradition to ensure future generations can also enjoy the natural beauty of this area.
“This area has always been enjoyed and deeply appreciated by all the generations past,” said Lynn Sage.
Throughout the summer, the sisters mowed between the rows and trimmed around the trees every month to control the weeds. The UTRCA also sprayed the rows with herbicide to release the seedlings from vegetative competition.
The Sages are always monitoring the area and removing any invasive species they find. And if any of the trees don’t survive the winter, Lynn said they will replace them with seedlings they already have around the farm.
Stewardship activities on the Sage farm extend beyond tree planting, but also include buffers and grassed runways, no-till practices, crop rotations and lots of vegetative cover to reduce erosion and nutrient loss.