Gerber Life Family Times --- News and tips for familes of all ages and stages of life

Arbor Day
 Plant a family tree

April 2003 Issue

Credit Card Fraud

Arbor Day--
Plant a family tree

The First Steps
to Potty Training

Sports, Kids
and What Parents
Should Know

Make That Snack
a Healthy One

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Spring is finally within sight and we’re ready to say goodbye to winter for yet another year. As families long to venture outside into fresh air, warmer temperatures and sunshine, trees are waiting to awaken from their dormancy to send out flower buds and leaves at the first sign of spring.

If you’re looking for a reason to shake the mold off the family and get them outside, why not consider celebrating spring by planting a tree in honor of Arbor Day. Trees are a wonderful and necessary addition to our landscape both in urban and rural situations. Trees provide a multitude of benefits, which help the entire community. Trees are responsible for filtering pollutants from the air as well as helping to recycle water. With their advanced root systems, trees help prevent soil loss and erosion. They also create much needed shade which can help reduce your home cooling costs in the summer months. In addition, they provide shelter from wind and rain and homes for animals. And don’t forget that trees also add value to your property and visual appeal to a beautifully landscaped yard.

Planting a tree can be a family event used to commemorate births, birthdays, anniversaries and the like. Year after year, a tree can grow and serve as a continuing reminder of that special event creating a living chronology of your family’s important moments.

Planting a tree is easy and provides plenty of opportunity for children to help. Include your entire family in the tree choice. Your local greenhouse or garden center stock trees suitable for your geographic region and climate. Most trees include instructions for planting but here are a few basic tips to get you started:

Choose a good location. Keep in mind the mature height and width of the tree so it doesn’t impact your home, your neighbor’s home and property, or telephone/power lines above.

Dig a hole wide and deep enough to accommodate the root system or root ball (balled trees wrapped in burlap will have slightly different instructions but the basics remain the same).

Make sure the hole is free from large stones and sticks, which cause air pockets that will dry out the roots.

Handle tree seedlings carefully by the base of the stem, taking care not to scratch or bruise the bark.

Gently lay the root system straight down in the hole giving the roots plenty of room. Do not twist, double-over or bend the roots.

There will be a slightly swelled collar around the tree’s trunk. Plant the seedling slightly above that swelling.

Cover with soil making sure that no roots are exposed to the air and no branches or foliage are buried.

Tamp the soil firmly with your toe to remove any air pockets.

Water well and continue to water, especially throughout hot months and dry spells to allow the tree to establish a deep root system.

Mulch the area around the tree to a depth of 2-3 inches and some distance out from the spread of the branches. Mulch helps keep the new roots cool and also helps retain moisture.

Across the country, Arbor Day is more a period of time than a specific day, with states honoring the day from February through May depending upon their geographic location and first planting opportunities. The first Arbor Day came to us at the suggestion of J. Sterling Morton, a pioneer from Detroit who moved into the Nebraska Territory in 1854. He and his wife (and fellow pioneers) found trees, shrubs and flowers missing in their new home—the barren Nebraska landscape. On January 4, 1872, Morton proposed a tree-planting holiday to the State Board of Agriculture to be known as “Arbor Day”. The date was set as April 10, 1872 and on that day it was estimated that more than one million trees were planted. So start a family tradition and do something good for your property and the environment—plant a tree!

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