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The Alexander Center Forest By John Negusanti (Retired MNR/MOE Forester/Phytotoxicologist)

by John Negusanti,

The major credit has to go to a Sudbury legend- Cliff Fielding whose persistence paid off to plant a forest on his property at Alexander Center.

In 1975 he had 5000 SW planted and they all died.He called me the spring of 1976 and inquired about getting trees planted for free for research purposes.Part of my MNR job at the time as a contract forester was to do research into establishing trees in the Sudbury barrens. I told Mr Fielding that I couldn’t Deem planting his property as research but that I would visit his property and give him advise on planting.

So I met with MR Fielding and I suggested that he get his property grassed and then plant a mix of Pr and Pj bareroot stock.I knew through my work with Keith Winterhalder of Laurentian University that the grass was needed to provide the micro-site to enable the trees to establish in such a harsh environment. 

Through his connections with INCO Mr Fielding  got Mike Peters of the INCO ag dept. to establish grass on his property that summer/fall.

I ordered 2500 Pj and 2500 PR bareroot stock grown at the MNR Midhurst nursery grown from seed collected in the Sudbury seed zone.  I delivered the trees to the site in early May 1977 on a Friday (bags of 500 trees) and put them down by the Creek and tarped them to protect them from the sun. I showed up early on the Saturday morning and there was a member of Mr Fielding staff placing the bareroot stock out on the field every 10 feet before planting to get perfect rows at the spacing that I recommended. I had a canary (Italian moment) and blasted the poor employee that was just doing what HE WAS TOLD. We quickly gathered up the trees and put the roots in the creek water.I supervised the rest of the plant that weekend.

The survival was a lot higher than I anticipated but I think Mr Fielding had his staff water the trees until they were established.

I noticed that MR Fielding had more trees planted over the next several years. The end.

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