Trees are important. The existence of large numbers of large trees in our neighborhoods and planet-wide have measurable impacts on the local and global environment.
Simply said, trees are good. Trees are natural filters of air and groundwater. They can remove carbon dioxide and pollutants from the environment. A single tree can absorb 26 pounds of carbon dioxide per year. The property value of homes landscaped with trees is 5 to 20 percent higher than that of non-landscaped homes.
Clinical research with patients has shown that an environment well planted with trees has a healing and soothing effect compared to scenes without plants. Other studies have demonstrated that trees and other plants in neighborhoods, increase social activity, promote good community relationships, and reduced vandalism.
National Arbor Day is celebrated the last Friday in April. However, in Florida, Arbor Day is the third Friday in January. It’s a great time to plant trees. In fact, let’s take Arbor Day from one day to a whole month! How many trees can you plant and plant them right?
- Plant the tree at the same level in the ground as it was before. Deep planting kills many trees.
- Before digging the hole, find the point where the top-most root emerges from the trunk (dig down next to the trunk to find this point),
- Measure the distance between the top-most root and the bottom of the root ball. Dig the hole slightly shallower than this depth and as wide as possible (at least 1.5 times the width of the ball).
- Do not dig the hole deeper than the root ball.
- Backfill the planting hole and be sure to eliminate air pockets by mixing soil and water during the process.
- Build a water ring at the edge of the root ball with soil or mulch to facilitate the most important part of successful planting – establishment irrigation.
- Water is a key ingredient to successful planting. To establish newly planted trees, water must be applied to wet the root ball thoroughly. This usually cannot be done with an automatic irrigation system.
- For large trees, apply 2 to 4 gallons of water per inch of trunk diameter so that it soaks into the root ball.
- Do not apply additional water to rain-soaked or otherwise wet root balls.
- Here in the warm climate of central and south Florida, do this every day for 4 to 6 weeks and then twice weekly for up to 6 months or longer for large trees or palms.
- Eventually taper off to once a week until regular new growth is observed.
“When we plant a tree, we are doing what we can to make our planet a more wholesome and happier dwelling-place for those who come after us if not for ourselves.”
— Oliver Wendell Holmes