"Trees Through Kids:" John Traxler's unique program

Traxler's Farm provides Northern Ohioans with written information and pictures of trees to ensure the health and well being of your trees and ultimately the enjoyment you derive from them.

Traxler's Farm grows over 10,000 shade and ornamental trees and sells rich organic topsoil.

Traxler's Farm is located on 40 acres hidden by the scenic French Creek in Avon, Ohio at 2980 Stoney Ridge Road.

Phone 440-934-5188

FEATURE ARTICLE from THE MORNING JOURNAL, 8-27-00, By NORMA HIGGINS, Morning Journal Correspondent

"Trees Through Kids:" Avon grower gets special recognition for unique program

"AVON -- The leafy tops of little trees and big trees catch the early morning sun at Traxler's Nursery at 2980 Stoney Ridge Road, Avon.

It is there that John F. Traxler, 43, carries on what began as a top soil business started by his parents Gene and Ollie Traxler in the early 1960s. Traxler noted that he has been caring and cultivating the family's 40 acres of nursery stock since he was 10 years old.

Now the work is done with the help of his wife, Jeanne, and three daughters, Lily, 10, Meredith, 8 1/2, and Elizabeth, 3 1/2 years old. They are now developing an enviable business.

In May, the Traxlers were recognized by Seventh Generation, an environmental group, for their active participation in the group's ''Trees Through Kids'' program.

The Seventh Generation Executive George Espy said the Oberlin-based organization encourages school children to preserve and protect natural resources through education and community action ...

Traxler's civic work extends beyond Seventh Generation. ''Seventh Generation is a non-profit organization, and seven years ago we gave small trees away with one large tree for communities such as Avon Lake, Oberlin, Wellington, and other,'' said Traxler. ''Then, three years ago, Kathy Wilhelm, of Avon Lake, suggested that we become involved in the tree program again,'' he said.

''This year every fourth-grade class in Lorain County had a chance to plant a tree,'' said Traxler, ''Target stores provided a grant for the program, and we supplied the trees, such as Norway maples, crab apples, and sweet gum trees.''

''This helps train the children how to take care of the trees, how to water them,'' said Traxler.

''I think it's a way to give back to the community,'' he said, explaining why he is so enthusiastically involved in ''a way to help the environment by providing trees for shade.''

Traxler has also helped Avon On The Lake Garden Club with plantings of wild flowers and shrubs along SR 83 and Interstate 90.

''I would like to go back to the Ohio State Department of Transportation with a proposal about doing some maintenance there,'' he said, ''So that the group's effort is not wasted.''

''There is also a local group I would like to help, the Avon Garden Club, who have been involved with plantings around Avon City Hall as well as surrounding the gazebo located at the intersection of Detroit Road and Colorado,'' he commented.

Traxler attended Holy Trinity Church school and after graduating from Lorain Catholic High School, attended Ohio State University, graduating with a degree in agriculture.

After his parents bought what was then known as the Wilford Farm, travelers noticed there were fir trees, and they started stopping. ''Suddenly, we were in the Christmas tree business,'' he said. ''That was probably back in 1969,'' he said.

''I was propagating plants in my early teens,'' said Traxler, ''with the help of a friend who had a degree in botany from Ohio State.

''He was a really neat guy. He was a writer in Hollywood and also had an engineer's degree,'' Traxler explained, of his friend Johnny James.

''He really encouraged youngsters to learn and he directed me toward horticulture and I graduated in 1981 from the Ohio State School of Agriculture.''

John Traxler, and his daughter, Lily, 10, at home in Avon. MORNING JOURNAL/ROSS WEITZNER..

Traxler has always been an environmentalist, and he tells the story of a very large pile of rich top soil on the farm, probably worth four or five thousand dollars. After the family had made a decision to cut back on retailing top soil, there was a definite temptation to sell the rich loam, however, they resisted, and it was plowed under.

''But it was tempting,'' he said, with a hearty laugh.

''Dad was of the old school, we would bring compost and wood chips, put it back into the soil, for 12 years, restoring the land.''

Talking about the rapid development in Avon, Traxler agrees the possibly the farm will someday be developed exists.

''It will get developed in time, but what I want to be sure is that it is developed in such a way as to protect what is here.

''You can go throughout the area of Avon and Avon Lake, and there are very few areas along French Creek where there are cliffs on the banks, such as we have here,'' he explained. ''Mostly, there is just a ditch, and I would like to protect these.''

Until that time, he is continuing to improve his business methods and is very interested in an above-ground container method of growing seedlings being developed in Oklahoma. It means a tree can be purchased by the landowners and easily planted because the root ball weighs less than a field grown tree.

He and his wife are partners in their tree business, he said.

''Actually the nursery is both of us. Jeanne runs the office while I'm out in the field,'' said Traxler.

Public education is very important to the Traxlers, and they have a newsletter, descriptive lists making ordering easier, tip sheets with valuable information about plants and planting, as well as a website at www.traxlersfarm.com. Their phone number is 934-5188 ..."

FEATURE ARTICLE from The Plain Dealer, 6-30-01, By Suzanne Hively

``Solutions for mistakes in landscaping

John Traxler of Traxler's Nursery in Avon, and Alan Willoughby of Birdscapes in North Ridgeville have listed the most common landscaping mistakes and solutions.

Construction activity often kills trees if trenching occurs too close, if topsoil is removed, if machinery compacts the soil, if the ground level is changed, or if debris is buried too close.

The solution is to avoid disturbing the soil in a circumference the same as the drip line of the tree ...

Trees too close together compete for soil and sunlight. They have small crowns and stunted lower limbs. Even if thinned, the remaining trees may not regain their full potential beauty. Save only trees of decent overall shape and special value such as oak, nut or black gum. Invest in good topsoil and new well-chosen trees ...

To determine how much clay is in your soil, squeeze a handful of damp soil. If it clumps, it is clay with low organic content. Another method is to pack soil in a gallon milk carton in which the top has been removed and a nail hole punched in the bottom. Fill it with water. It should drain about two cups of water in 10 minutes. Clay won't drain as well.

If you are moving into a new house, have a long-range master plan and save the lawn for last, or risk the possibility of redoing it. After utility runs and hardscapes are installed, put in topsoil, then large shade trees. Shrubs can be planted next, then perennial flower beds.

Pines and spruces are often planted too close to buildings. Select plants appropriate to the site. This means knowing the mature size of the plant and its preference for sun, shade or shelter from windy areas ...

For ordinary field-grown nursery trees, the larger tree is usually the better bargain ...

Trees grown in root-control field containers offer the best choice. Two-inch to 4-inch caliper trees retain almost all of their roots when dug. They are less prone to transplant shock ... ''

Traxler's Farm

2980 Stoney Ridge Road, Avon, Ohio 44011

Phone: 440-934-5188

Web Site: Traxler's Farm

Email: famtrax@midviewinternet.com

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