Challenge #24: Plant a tree

Plant a tree.

Plant a tree

“The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”

-Darrell Putman

Hey, folks!

We’ll tell you why trees are super important for the environment. We’ll also take a closer look at the actual process of planting a tree. It will help you choose the right type of tree and the appropriate equipment which you’ll need to properly plant a tree.

The importance of trees

Most of us live in the cities nowadays and are somewhat distanced from nature, however, that doesn’t mean we don’t need it.

You all probably remember some of your first nature classes where you were taught about the importance of trees. Let’s repeat why trees are super important for us humans and all other living things on this planet.

green-tree

Trees are the biggest plants in the world and as such, they are the main oxygen providers and carbon sinks. Using the sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide from the atmosphere they produce oxygen via the process known as photosynthesis.

“The simplest carbon dioxide removal approach is to plant a tree.”

-Ken Caldeira

Moreover, trees stabilize the soil and give life to many wild animals by providing food and shelter. We’ve also been using wood as one of the heating means, as a material for creating many different tools, furniture and even to build entire houses.

We can easily say that the world without trees is unimaginable.

There are fewer and fewer trees

Due to industrialization, human population growth, agriculture (meat industry), urbanization, and other factors, the size of the surface covered with trees has been dropping regularly. We even came up with a word for it – deforestation.

we need trees

When we take into account gains and losses, the total loss in forest area between 1990 and 2000 was 89,000 square km per year and 73,000 square km per year between 2000 and 2005. That is 200 square kilometers per day.

In order to save the environment, we have to do all that’s in our power to put an end to deforestation. We can all start by planting a tree ourselves.

Why plant a tree?

In case we haven’t convinced you yet, here is a list of some reasons why you should plant a tree:

  • trees help prevent soil erosion,
  • trees help prevent water pollution,
  • trees cool the streets and the city,
  • trees clean the air,
  • trees combat the greenhouse effect,
  • trees provide oxygen,
  • trees shield us from UV rays,
  • trees provide food,
  • trees mark the seasons,
  • trees provide a canopy and habitat for wildlife,
  • trees provide wood,
  • trees increase property values.

Small tree

“He that plants trees loves others besides himself.”

-Thomas Fuller

Read the instructions below and go plant a tree!

How to plant a tree?

Planting a tree seems pretty straightforward: you dig a hole, put in the baby tree, fill the hole with soil and that’s it. It basically is that simple, however, to drastically improve the chances of healthy growth and survival rate of your tree, more detailed instructions and some caution notes are in order.

Plan ahead the following:

1.) Choosing the right kind of a tree. You must consider your wishes (what type of tree you want, what are your plans for it, etc.), local weather, and other local conditions (e.g.: type of soil, land slope, neighbors, drainage, …).

2.) Make sure you check local laws for digging holes and planting trees. Some communities have certain laws that you have to consider (in the US you can call 811 before digging to obtain additional information). 

If you don’t have your own land check with local officials if there is a place where you can plant a tree.

3.) Choose the right time of year for planting a tree. This can vary according to the type of the tree and local climate. In areas with a four-season climate, the best time to plant the tree is in autumn or in spring for most of the tree types. 

4.) Prepare the right kind of toolsYou can’t plant a tree without digging a hole, so a shovel is a must-have tool (you can order a good one here). We also recommend using a pair of work gloves to prevent getting blisters and dirt underneath your nails. 

5.)  Buy a tree. You can buy trees in most of the local gardening shops, you can also order trees online. Make sure to ask if there are any detailed instructions regarding planting the type of tree you’re buying.

Trees

The actual planting process:

1.) Dig a hole. Physically speaking, this part is the most difficult one of the tree planting process. As the rule of thumb, the hole must be about 2-3 times the size of the root ball in all three dimensions. This will make the soil around the tree softer, hence it will be easier for the roots to grow. 

2.) Take the baby tree out of the container/plastic wrap and place it in the center of the whole. Make sure you create some kind of a pedestal (a small pile of dirt) in the center of the whole and place the tree on top of it. 

3.) Make sure your tree is straight. Ask someone else to look at the tree from the distance from different directions to ensure your tree is straight.

4.) If possible use high-quality soil to cover first few inches around the root ball. 

5.) Place some organic fertilizer around the root ball. Make sure there is no direct contact between the fertilizer and the roots since the fertilizer can burn the roots (we protect the roots by covering them with a few inches of soil first).

6.) Place a wooden pole next to the tree if your tree is not firm yet. This will ensure the support your tree might need to stay straight.

7.) Fill the hole with the soil. Do it gently, especially around the roots. Every few layers you can step on the soil to make it a bit firmer but don’t overdo it. 

8.) Water the soil around the tree. Most of the trees need a lot of water, make sure to ask about the approximate quantity when you’re buying the tree.

Big tree

That’s all you need. Planting a tree can be a great experience. Watching the tree grow and get bigger and bigger is kind of amazing. We challenge you to plant a tree if possible do it this week.

Take-home points:
  • trees are awesome – they use CO2 to produce O2;
  • we need to stop deforestation now;
  • plant a tree.

“When we plant a tree, we plant the seeds of peace and seeds of hope.”

-Wargari Maathai

Have a great week full of fresh air.

Love,

Good Earthlings

6 comments

  1. Gary says:

    I know what I’m about to write will seem odd to some people, but I have found great comfort in trees. About fifteen years ago, I began meditating beneath them.

    After quieting my mind in meditation, I felt a genuine presence from the tree and understood it was more than alive. It was a conscious being.

    For about 18 months I lived in a camper beside a mature maple. When I lay in bed, I could see the maple out the window.

    It was the first thing I saw each morning for a year and a half and each morning it was different. The quiet strength of that maple helped me through the worse time of my life.

    Yes, plant a tree, but also learn to sit quietly beneath one too.

    • Good Earthling says:

      That sure is something we should all try (sitting quietly beneath the tree). We also enjoy our quiet moments in the nature as often as possible.

    • Joe says:

      Trees provide us with so many benefits. Most imortantly, as you point out, “they use CO2 to produce O2”. This is what our planet needs now.

      There are so many things contributing to climate change, things that our society needs to change, but that as individuals, we may only have a limited impact. But we can all plant a tree!

      • Good Earthling says:

        That’s right, Joe. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.

        Warm regards,

        Good Earthlings

      • Amberlee says:

        What a beautifully written article. I have to say I’ve forgotten that I could do this. I mean, it sounds ridiculous to say that, but I have. I could go to my local nursery and buy baby trees to fill my backyard. I have a yard that is covered in manicured green grass. However, that grass doesn’t give me the beauty that comes along with a tree or the peace of having nature in my backyard. I don’t think my husband is going to be too impressed that I am going to change his beautiful lawn for trees, he has worked very hard to get the yard looking that way. However, I think he’ll understand after his reads this article.

        • Good Earthling says:

          We are very happy to hear that we encouraged you into thinking about planting a tree. We are sure your husband won’t mind. Trees and lawn go great together. 🙂

          All best,

          Good Earthlings

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