Do the earth and yourself a favor by planting a tree this weekend. Trees grow by using energy from the sun to convert Carbon Dioxide from the air and hydrogen from water into the complex hydrocarbon structure that is wood. Trees use the magic of photosynthesis to take the CO2 from the air and release pure oxygen.
I have asked college graduates to hold a heavy piece of wood and tell me where that weight of material comes from. Most do not know. The trunk of a full grown tree can weigh several hundreds of pounds, even after it is cut and dried as lumber. Almost all the dry weight of wood is carbon taken from carbon dioxide that was in the air.
Location Location Location
Pick a location on the South or West side of your house for trees that drop their leaves. This will provide summer shade when the tree grows up.
Plant evergreens to the North of your house where they don’t block the sun, but do block the cold winds.
When you pick your spot think about how big your tree will be in ten years or so. Don’t place it too close to the house, driveway or fences.
What you need
Get a tree that your garden supply folks recommend for your area. Nothing exotic just a big tree that will grow reliably in your neighborhood. The bigger the tree you buy the more expensive it will be. But, the bigger tree is to start with the sooner you will get good shade from it.
Tools: Shovel, scissors or utility knife, garden hose or water pail.
Supplies: One big bag of potting soil to mix with your dirt. (I really like Miracle Grow potting soil.) One bag of mulch.
Tree Planting in Seven Easy Steps
Dig a hole two to three times as wide as the rootball and as deep as the rootball. This will give your tree room to root into good soil. You want the top of the rootball to be just covered with dirt when you plant it.
Gently place the tree in the hole. Handle your tree by the rootball only. If you grab and lift a young tree by the base of the trunk it my be damaged.
Once you make sure the tree is placed straight and upright, remove the container or cut back the burlap and backfill the hole with dirt.
Fill the hole with a mix of one bag of potting soil and the dirt that came out of the hole you dug. It is amazing how dirt shrinks when you dig a hole. Tamp the dirt down lightly as you go to remove air pockets.
Find someone with a green thumb and have them stick their thumb in the dirt around your tree. My wife has the green thumb in our house.
Add two to three inches of mulch around the tree. Push the mulch away from the trunk to prevent rot and insect damage. The mulch holds back the weeds and grass for a time and holds in the water. Both help to give your tree a head start.
Water thoroughly, and make sure your tree gets one inch of water per week (including rain water). A rule of thumb to remember is five, one-gallon milk jugs full of water each week or two pails of water. Watering helps it get growing and helps settle the soil around the roots.
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