Trees purify the air we breathe by capturing the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and releasing oxygen back into it. They prevent soil erosion and purify the water we drink. Forests provide habitat for animals as well as food, shelter, and building materials for humans. You may not even realize, but trees impact our lives in countless ways. From the chair you are sitting on while eating dinner, to the book you are reading, forests play a big role in our daily lives.
Yet, we don't take enough care of them. According to the World Bank, an area roughly the size of South Africa was deforested between 1990 and 2016. The rates don’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.
When we cut down trees, we're not only destroying the world's largest storehouse of carbon dioxide, but we damage entire ecosystems too.
We need to change that. We need to cut back on deforestation activity and start planting more trees to undo the damage.
The good news is that planting a new tree is fairly easy. Sure, you will need to make sure that you plant the right tree at the right time, and in the right place. But, once you have the basics figured out, the task is pretty straightforward.
That's what this article is for. Here's everything you need to know about how to plant a tree.
The Best Time to Plant a Tree
Determining when to plant a tree can be a bit confusing. Some experts say that you should plant trees in the fall while others claim that spring is the best season for tree planting.
So, which one is correct?
The truth is that it depends on several factors.
Spring comes packed with lots of nutrients, giving the tree a good chance to grow in the summer and prepare itself for winter. But, planting trees during fall has its perks too. Because the leaves fall in the fall, the tree will require fewer nutrients to feed them. So, it takes all the good stuff from the leaves and diverts it toward the roots and stems.
The climate also plays a crucial role too in determining the best time to plant a tree.
If you live in an area with very harsh winters, a sapling planted during the fall may not be strong enough to survive. The same goes for areas with hot, dry summers. A tree planted during fall will need a lot of extra water to make sure it doesn’t dry in the June-August months.
Why Are You Planting Trees Instead of Preserving the Ones That Already Exist?
The world requires massive reforestation activities to undo the damage it’s done. Trees are essential to our planet and not just because they are a source of oxygen. They act like air filters that suck out the CO2 from the air. The more trees the world has, the better this natural filtration system works. And, the more carbon dioxide trees can absorb, the higher our chances of reducing the impact of climate change.
Some estimates show that we need around 2.5 billion acres of trees to prevent the planet from warming beyond the 1.5 ºC threshold (and that on top of CO2 emission cuts.) But, even if all the countries in the world pull together and achieve this goal, it won't make the difference we would want if deforestation continues.
Preserving the trees we already have is not enough anymore. Deforestation activities in the last century have created a massive carbon debt. In addition to maintaining the forests we already have, we also need to start planting more trees where they used to stand.
Who Will Plant the Trees?
With the right tool and proper tree planting tips, anyone can plant a tree, even a child.
Here are a few key details you should keep in mind:
- Choose native species that can thrive in the local soil, weather, and make a good home for fauna;
- If you plant more trees, try to plant them almost at random to echo the natural look of a forest;
- Take care of the trees in the first 1-2 years. A tree recently planted needs a bit of attention to thrive.
The Right Way to Plant Trees and Shrubs - Seven Steps to Ensure Success
Sticking a tree in the ground, watering it, and walking away won't suffice for it to survive. You need to know when to plant trees and how to plant a new tree to ensure it will endure for years to come.
Don't get discouraged if you don't succeed the first time around. You will probably make mistakes and learn through trial and error. It's a process and with the right tree planting advice, you will eventually ensure that your efforts are successful.
Here is how to plant a tree step by step:
- Dig the Hole
Make sure the hole where you put the tree is three times wider than the mass of the root. That will ensure that the root will have enough space to grow. As for depth, you don’t have to bury the sapling in too much soil, so don’t go too much over the initial depth from the nursery.
- Place It Higher
You can place the sapling slightly higher than the rest of the soil surface and add more soil on top to cover the roots. This prevents the sapling from being too close to its nutrients and drowning in it.
- Prepare the Root
Inspect the root after taking the sapling out of the nursery stake. The root may need to be trimmed or even loosened before planting it.
- Take the Air out
Place the tree in the middle of the hole, cover with soil, and lightly tap the soil around the plant to ensure the root touches the soil and there is no remaining air pocket.
- Add Mulch, Bark, or Leaves
Take any organic matter available and create a berm around the sapling to ensure proper moisture gets to the root.
- Stake & Tie
You can stake a nearby area and tie the sapling to keep it straight and make sure the tree grows upward. It doesn’t have to be a very tight hold, just strong enough to prevent the sapling from leaning.
- Monitor and Water
You should routinely water the sapling in the first year. Monitor it closely to remove any weeds or debris that may interfere with its growth.
Plant a Tree Today!
We rely on forests in ways we can't even begin to comprehend. It's our duty to ensure their health and survival.
Whether you've just now learned how to plant a tree or you've done it before, pass this information to others too. It's important to make as many people as possible understand that the world depends on us. Planting trees doesn't take a lot of time, money or effort, but the benefits are enormous.
Plant a tree now!
As many as you like!$XUSD
You’re a hero! You’ve helped eliminate 10 tons CO2 from the environment!