As a child, I remember that nothing brought more joy into my life than climbing trees. In a way, it was like I could create my own kinds of adventure, like the ones my heroes had in movies or comic books. I couldn’t fly like Superman or defeat bad guys like Indiana Jones, but up there at the top of a tree, I felt strong, almost invincible. And I know many of you share similar memories.
So it pains me to see that the source of so many of my happy childhood memories is becoming more and more threatened. The WWF reports that by 2030 the world could lose 656,000 square miles of forests if we do nothing to stop deforestation rates. But while this issue has many layers that can be difficult to address by regular people like you and me, it doesn’t mean we are helpless. We could plant more trees. And luckily, it's easy!
Why Would You Need to Plant Trees?
Planting a tree is like a lifelong investment, one that directly adds to the wellbeing of the human race. We know that massive deforestation has, at least in part, made waves for the effects of climate change. Trees act as natural air filtration, taking the CO2 from the air and giving us more oxygen.
But because we keep cutting them down, that process of filtration isn’t as strong, and as a result, our air becomes more and more filled with CO2. Many industries contribute to this problem too. In the end, more CO2 makes the temperatures rise, which is the main effect of global warming.
Planting more trees, at a global level, could significantly help lower CO2 levels in the air, especially when paired with other measures of protecting the environment. Still, I get a lot of questions from people who want to help, and encourage others to join a tree-planting movement, but don’t quite have a reason or an angle to help motivate people.
Here are some of my favorite "reasons" to plant a tree:
- Plant a tree in the memory of someone lost. Instead of fighting with local government for a bench in the park, why not plant a tree to make sure someone’s memory lives for hundreds of years?
- To mark an important moment. A friend of mine planted a tree for each of his three children, as a way to celebrate their birth. This is a great initiative that could easily be applied for most happy occasions;
- To buy a tree as a gift, or to donate a tree. What do you give somebody who has everything?
- To prevent flooding. If your area is prone to flooding, trees can help with that, and the community will surely get behind your initiative;
- Make it a kids’ activity. Can’t get the adults on your side? Then speak to local schools and propose a fun outdoor activity for the kids. Planting trees is really easy, and yes, even a child can do it.
- Save the environment. It's getting clearer that planting trees will have significant long term impact in reviving the planet.
Where and When Should You Plant Trees?
You need to make sure you plant the right type of tree in the right place. If you have any available space you think is perfect for a tree, it’s really important to check what kind of species can truly flourish there, based on the climate in the area, and the soil.
Many people choose to plant a tree in the back yards since they don’t need to worry about getting permits and can keep a closer look at it to make sure it grows healthy. While that’s a good idea, for the most part, you still need to be careful in regard to what type of tree you plant. Planting an oak tree sounds lovely, but these trees get really big, and you may have to cut the branches to make sure it doesn’t start damaging your house. In the end, neither you nor the tree is happy.
As for when is the best time to plant a tree, try to choose the dormant season. It’s the moment right after leaves drop in the fall or the bud break in early spring. Weather conditions are usually perfect, as it’s cool enough to allow the plants to establish roots and rainy enough to make sure they are nourished.
Taking Care of the Tree
When you plant a tree yourself, you will still have to care for it. Mother nature will take over at some point, but at least in the first, you need to give a helping hand.
The National Wildlife Federation recommends watering trees once a week for at least the first few years, and then you can reduce your watering sessions when the tree is strong enough to get its own nourishment from the ground. If you’re in a drier area, consider watering the tree every day for the first week, and reduce it as time goes on. Additionally, make sure to remove any potential threats that can affect its growth, like birds, pests, or weeds.
For most trees, after about a year they are strong enough to handle everything on their own, but it’s important to check the trunk and see if the tree has grown nicely. This depends on the species you chose and how well it acclimates, and I suggest you visit the tree at least once 2-3 weeks after it’s developed.
Plant a Tree Now!
It doesn’t take a lot of time, effort, or money to plant a tree, and it can be a lovely experience to share with family and friends. Since it’s the new decade and all about resolutions, why not start this new chapter by leaving something long-lasting behind?
At ReplantAmazon, we plan on doing everything we can to restore the Amazon forest. If you want to lend a hand, you can! Find out more about our mission and how to help.