The Winchendon Courier
Serving the community since 1878 ~ A By Light Unseen Media publication
Week of September 10 to September 17, 2020


Plant Trees Now for Decades of Shade and Beauty

tree with root flare
When planting, the tree’s root flare should always be at or slightly above the soil surface.
Photo credit: Photo courtesy of

Cooler temperatures and warm soil make fall a great time to add trees to your landscape. Make the most of this investment of money and time and give your tree its best chance at survival with proper planting and care.

Select a tree suited to the growing conditions, your landscape design and available space. Make sure it tolerates the sunlight, soil and temperature extremes. Check the tag for the mature height and spread. You’ll have a better-looking plant that always fits the space with minimal pruning.

Avoid planting near overhead utilities since trees and power lines make for a dangerous combination. Contact your underground utility locating service at least three business days before placing the first shovel in the ground. It’s free and all you need to do is call 811 or file an online request.

Once the area is marked, you can get busy planting. Ensure your tree thrives for many years to come with proper planting. Dig a saucer shaped hole three to five times wider than the root ball. It should only be as deep as the distance from the root flare to the bottom of the root ball. The root flare, where the roots bend away from the trunk, should always be at or slightly above the soil surface.

Set the tree in the hole, then peel back and cut away any burlap and wire cages. These can eventually constrict root growth. Roughen the sides of the hole and backfill with the existing soil. Water thoroughly to moisten the roots and surrounding soil.

Continue to water thoroughly whenever the top few inches of soil are crumbly and moist. Proper watering, especially during the first two years, is critical for establishing trees. Watering thoroughly as needed encourages deep roots and a more drought tolerant and pest resistant tree.

Monitor soil moisture near the trunk and beyond the rootball. Since many containerized trees are grown in soilless mix, the rootball dries out more quickly than the surrounding soil. Adjust your watering technique and schedule to accommodate this difference.

Mulch the soil surface with a two- to three-inch layer of woodchips or shredded bark to conserve water, suppress weeds and improve the soil as it decomposes. Pull the mulch back from the trunk of the tree to avoid disease problems.

Remove any tags that can eventually girdle the tree and prune out any broken or rubbing branches. Wait a year to fertilize and two years, once the tree is established, for additional pruning.

Continue providing tender loving care for at least the first two years. Make regular checkups, prune to create a strong structure, and keep grass, weeds and lawn care equipment away from the trunk throughout the lifetime of your tree. Your efforts will be rewarded with years of beauty and shade.

Melinda Myers has written more than 20 gardening books, including Small Space Gardening. She hosts The Great Courses “How to Grow Anything” DVD series and the Melinda’s Garden Moment TV & radio segments. Myers is a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine. Her web site is


Antiques, Collectibles, and Auction news

Pegasus children's ride

It has been over two months since my last update on antiques, collectibles, and auction news. As you might expect, much has occurred since then, including a recently uncovered fake work of art.

The Los Angeles Times reported that a statue attributed to Paul Gauguin that was on display in the J. Paul Getty Museum has now been hidden away in a storeroom. The Getty Museum purchased “Head with Horns” while it was on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City in 2002. The Los Angeles Times reported that the Getty described it as a “superb example” of Gauguin’s work. Fabrice Fourmanoir is a Tahitian art dealer who has studied Gauguin’s works. Fourmanoir informed the LA Times that he was contacted in 2002 by Wildenstein & Co. of New York who was handling the sale of the statue. He told them that he did not believe it was Gauguin’s work because it was smoother than the rougher pieces Gauguin created. Fourmanoir also noted that Gauguin never used a plinth (according to Merriam-Webster: a usually square block serving as a base) in his works. Additional research found that the plinth contained lacewood, which does not grow in Tahiti. Gauguin only used Tahitian wood. Photos of the artwork were later discovered that belonged to Gauguin’s friend, Jules Agostini. Agostini took photos of the statue in 1894 a year before he met Gauguin and while Gauguin was still in France. The new evidence has led the Getty Museum to now attribute the statue to an unknown artist instead of Gauguin.

In more positive news, a 1950’s coin operated children’s Pegasus ride sold well at auction recently. The Antiques and Arts Weekly reported on the sale of the Pegasus. “The symbol of speed and power, this example predated Mobil’s adoption of the steed as its US trademark in 1968,” they wrote. It brought $25,200.

A space suit from Stanley Kubrik’s movie 2001: A Space Odyssey recently sold at auction, according to Vanity Fair. The space suit is believed to have been worn by Keir Dullea during the final shut-down sequence of the HAL 9000 computer. It sold for $370,000, well above the $200,000 estimate.

Another item is expected to bring an even larger figure. Smithsonian Magazine reported that the world’s most expensive coin is headed to auction. According to the magazine report “the rare silver dollar is thought to be one of the first, if not the very first, coins minted in the newly independent United States of America.” The coin will fetch much more than pocket change with its $10 million estimate.

We will feature coins from three different estates in our October 29th online multi-estate auction. There is still time to consign for that sale. The preview for our Warren, RI auction takes place on September 12th with bidding ending on September 16th. Please see the link on our website to register and bid on this auction. I will be appraising items for the Townsend Historical Society’s virtual appraisal event on October 10th. Participants can submit photos of their items to the Townsend Historical Society in advance. You can also bring your items in person on the day of the event, and I will appraise them virtually. Please keep checking for information on upcoming events.

Contact us at: Wayne Tuiskula Auctioneer/Appraiser Central Mass Auctions for Antique Auctions, Estate Sales and Appraisal Services (508-612- 6111)