We have often noticed plantations along exposed lake fronts and river fronts where normal development seems to have been greatly retarded and a considerable loss from winter-killing has been experienced. A definite problem in the selection of plants adapted to these locations is presented, especially where the prevailing winds during the colder periods in the year are from the water.
The plant materials listed in this group are selected from those which have been found hardy under the exposed lake front and river front conditions near the Great Lakes and the smaller rivers of the northern portions of the middle west. Many plants which apparently are hardy under the more even and severe climatic conditions of the inland are not hardy under these water-front conditions. This is largely due to the sudden changes of temperature during the worst of the winter months, and also to the possible effects of the spray freezing on the stems. In general plants which do not ripen their growth until very late in the season are not recommended for use under these conditions.
No plants, not even the more hardy types of those included in these lists, will adapt themselves to normal conditions of growth as early as the same plants would adapt themselves under inland conditions of climate and atmosphere. A greater percentage of loss will be experienced and the only practical method for obtaining a complete planting is by careful addition and replacement during the first three or four years. It is necessary for much of this material to become acclimated to these more severe conditions, and it may be advisable at times to plant some of the more rapid-growing trees and shrubs as a partial protection during the first two or three years.
It is preferable that material used on the steeper slopes of river fronts and lake fronts should possess a deep root system which will aid in protecting the slopes against erosion. If the slopes are steep and wash badly during periods of rain such types as locust, sumacs, willows, and the matrimony vine will form a deep root system quickly. The process of naturalizing trees and shrubs on the slopes of river banks and lake shores is a slow one. It should never be attempted as a single operation. The material should be young, a great percentage of loss must be expected, and only the "survival of the fittest" rule can apply.