GOP candidate Mitt Romney at a primary debate in Rochester, Mich. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

He’s never really explained what he was talking about. But some of us from the Midwest can guess what he means — and who he’s appealing to.

The region’s red maples (40 feet at maturity) and butternuts (50 feet) — in contrast to the west coast’s ultra-imposing redwoods or the South’s live oaks or the iconic Southern magnolia — are somehow gentler and feel a bit more accessible. And the fall colors, well, goes without saying.

Besides, the media kept hammering on Romney to relate to ordinary people. So he’s trying. But he’s certainly not going to relate to pet owners — not after they find out that, as he noted in a Fox News interview, he once strapped the family Irish Setter (Seamus) on the roof of his car for a 12-hour drive.

But who doesn’t love trees? And, in what could be a close contest Tuesday, tree-hugger votes can matter. Problems may arise when he gets to primaries in states with taller or shorter trees.

Meanwhile, as we’ve noted, the wild card in Michigan’s open primary could be Democratic crossover votes. Fortunately for Romney, indications are that the typically confused Democrats are as likely to vote for Ron Paul as Rick Santorum.