(Family Features) – Trees are virtually everywhere you turn, from your own backyard to nearby parks and forests where you love to hike. They provide shade and beauty, and some even bear fruit. Beyond all the immediate benefits, you may be surprised to find that trees are also a vital key to the future.
These facts and tips from the book “It’s Tree Time” offer practical insight into the importance of trees and how to care for them, from selection to planting and beyond.
A compelling and ever-growing body of evidence generated by scientists, health professionals, conservationists, humanitarians, and public and private corporations supports the critical importance of trees and their impact on the human condition. Trees filter pollutants from air and water and protect people and communities from dangerous heat and flooding. They lower urban temperatures, reduce energy bills and sequester carbon to slow the rate of climate change.
When you plant a tree in your garden or neighborhood, that tree goes to work filtering pollutants, intercepting stormwater and capturing carbon. With proper placement, this tree can also help reduce home energy consumption by up to 20%.
You can get involved in the tree planting movement and make a difference by planting trees around your home and the surrounding community with these tips.
Consider the growing region
Choosing a tree that will thrive in your growing region is fundamental to becoming a successful tree planter. Start by familiarizing yourself with the growing conditions of your planting site, including factors such as sunlight, soil condition, and growing space.
The amount of sunlight available to your planting location will determine which tree species will be successful. Most trees need full sun to grow and flower well. Some do well (or even prefer) in partial or light shade, but few do well in dense shade.
Before planting, have your soil tested by a lab to assess what is going on underground. Test results, which are usually returned within a few weeks, provide a full analysis of nutrients, possible contamination, and pH (alkalinity or acidity), along with instructions for correcting any issues.
Be aware of overhead or underground utilities, roadway, buildings, other trees, traffic intersections, and other factors that may affect your planting space.
buy a tree
When choosing the type of tree to plant, be aware of details such as size, flowering period, color (including how colors may vary through the seasons), and your view from inside the house. . When shopping, you can rely on plant tags to learn more about a tree’s growth pattern, sun needs, watering needs, and soil needs.
Two common styles of trees are container-grown trees, which spend their entire life in the nursery growing in a container, and bale and burlap trees, which grow in the ground until they reach a targeted size.
A well-maintained container-grown tree has been carefully monitored and moved into larger containers as the plant grows. Beware of trees with roots turning or twisting in the container, which can lead to root death. For a ball and burlap tree, look for a firm, securely attached root ball that is large enough to support the mature tree; it should be about 10 to 12 inches wide for every inch of trunk diameter.
Prepare your planting site
Preparing your planting site well is one of the best things you can do to get your tree off to a good start. Before planting, make sure your tree is well hydrated by watering the container or root ball several hours before proceeding. When planting a tree in a lawn, remove a circle of grass at least 3 feet in diameter where the tree will go to reduce competition between the turf and fine tree roots.
Dig a wide, shallow planting hole with slightly sloping sides 3-4 times wider than the diameter of the root ball and of the same depth. Mount the removed soil on a tarp to facilitate backfilling. Loosening the soil on the sides of the hole allows roots to grow easily and establish faster, but don’t disturb the soil at the bottom of the hole.
Once the tree is positioned, replace the soil by firmly but gently tamping the original soil around the base of the root ball to stabilize it. Create a water retention basin around the tree by constructing a ring of soil and water to settle the roots. Spread a protective mulch 2 to 4 inches deep in a 3 foot diameter around the base of the tree, but not touching the trunk.
Find more tips for successfully planting and caring for your trees at arborday.org.
A practical guide to planting trees
A rallying cry against climate change, “It’s Tree Time” is an inspiring and informative guide that explains the important role trees can play in preserving the environment.
Author Dan Lambe, CEO of the Arbor Day Foundation, offers compelling reasons to plant more trees while offering simple, practical steps to get involved, choose the right tree, and plant successfully. For every book sold, the foundation will plant a tree in a forest in need.
Pick up a copy wherever books are sold or visit arborday.org/TimeforTreesBook.
The power of trees
From backyards to tropical rainforests, trees provide the necessities of life. Trees purify air and water, provide habitats for wildlife, connect communities and support human health.
* Trees are a proven natural and affordable way to extract carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
* Trees filter water and slow down storm surges and flooding in cities.
* Trees provide shade, cooling cities by up to 10 degrees, which can help prevent heat-related deaths.
* Neighborhood trees can reduce stress, improve children’s overall health and encourage physical activity.
* Trees support wildlife and aquatic life by providing habitats and helping to keep waterways healthy, which keeps the ecosystem balanced and promotes biodiversity.
* Trees and other forest life work together to provide a source of clean drinking water, protect against extreme weather, provide medicine, provide outdoor recreation, and enrich human culture.