Tree Talk 4 tips for planting trees
(Family Features) Trees are virtually everywhere you turn,
from your own backyard to nearby parks and forests where
you enjoy hiking. They provide shade and beauty, and some
even bear fruit. Beyond all the immediate benefits, you may
be surprised to discover trees are also a critical key to the
These facts and tips from the book “Now is the Time for
Trees” offer practical insight on the importance of trees and
how to nurture one from selection to planting and beyond.
A compelling and ever-growing body of evidence generated
by scientists, health care professionals, conservationists,
humanitarians and both public and private corporations sup-
ports the critical importance of trees and their impact on the
human condition. Trees filter pollutants out of the air and wa-
ter and provide protection for people and communities from
dangerous heat and flooding. They lower urban temperatures,
reduce energy bills and sequester carbon to slow the rate of
When you plant a tree in your yard or neighborhood, that tree
goes to work filtering out pollutants, intercepting stormwater
and capturing carbon. With proper placement, that tree can
also help lower household energy use by as much as 20%.
You can engage in the tree planting movement and make a
difference by planting trees around your home and surround-
ing community with these tips.
Consider the Growing Region
Choosing a tree that will flourish in your growing region is
fundamental to becoming a successful tree planter. Start by
getting familiar with the growing conditions of your planting
site, including factors like sunlight, soil condition and room
The amount of available sunlight at your planting location will
determine which tree species will be successful. Most trees
require full sunlight for proper growth and flowering. Some do
well in (or even prefer) partial or light shade, but few perform
well in dense shade.
Before you plant, get your soil tested by a lab to evaluate
what’s happening underground. Test results, which are usu-
ally returned in a couple of weeks, provide a complete anal-
ysis of nutrients, possible contamination and pH (alkalinity or
acidity), as well as directions for correcting problems.
Be conscious of overhead or underground utilities, pavement,
buildings, other trees, traffic intersections and other factors
that may impact your planting space.
Shopping for a Tree
When choosing which kind of tree to plant, be conscious of
details like size, flowering, color (including how colors may
vary through the seasons) and your view from inside the
house. While shopping, you can rely on plant labels to learn
details about a tree’s growth pattern, sun requirements, wa-
tering needs and soil requirements.
Two common styles of trees are container-grown trees, which
spend their entire nursery lives growing in a container, and
ball-and-burlap trees, which grow in the ground until they
achieve a targeted size.
A well-tended container-grown tree has been carefully mon-
itored and moved into larger containers as the plant grows.
Be wary of a tree with roots that circle or twist within the
container, which may cause roots to die. For a ball-and-bur-
lap tree, look for a firm, securely tied root ball that is large
enough to support the mature tree; it should be about 10-12
inches wide for every inch of trunk diameter.
Prepare Your Planting Site
Properly preparing your planting site is one of the best things
you can do to get your tree off to a strong start. Before you
plant, make sure your tree is thoroughly hydrated by watering
the container or root ball several hours before proceeding.
When planting a tree into a lawn, remove a circle of grass
at least 3 feet in diameter where the tree will go to reduce
competition between turf and fine tree roots.
Dig a broad, shallow planting hole with gently sloping sides
3-4 times wider than the diameter of the root mass and the
same depth. Mound removed soil on a tarp for easy backfill-
ing. Loosening the soil on the sides of the hole allows roots
to easily expand and establish faster, but don’t disturb soil at
the bottom of the hole.
Once the tree is positioned, replace the soil while firmly but
gently tamping the original soil around the base of the root
ball to stabilize it. Create a water-holding basin around the
tree by building up a ring of soil and water to settle roots.
Spread protective mulch 2-4 inches deep in a 3-foot diameter
around the base of the tree, but not touching the trunk.
Find more tips to successfully plant and care for your trees
A Handy Guide for Planting Trees
A rally cry against climate change, “Now is the Time for Trees”
is an inspirational and informative guide that explains the im-
portant 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 providing sim-
ple, actionable steps to get involved, choose the right tree and
achieve planting success. For each 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/
The Power of Trees
From backyards to tropical rain forests, trees provide the ne-
cessities of life. Trees clean air and water, provide habitats
for wildlife, connect communities and support human health.
• Trees are a proven affordable, natural way to pull
carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.
• Trees filter water and slow storm surge and flooding
• Trees provide shade, cooling cities by up to 10 degrees,
which can help prevent heat-related deaths.
• Neighborhood trees can reduce stress, improve overall
health in children and encourage physical activity.
• Trees support wildlife and aquatic life by providing
habitats and helping keep waterways healthy, which
ensures ecosystem balance and promotes biodiversity.
• Trees and other forest life work together to ensure a
clean source of drinking water, buffer against extreme
weather, provide medicines, offer outdoor recreation
and enrich human culture.
Photos courtesy of Getty Images #15905
Source: Arbor Day Foundation