Tuesday, May 26, 2009

In Praise of Trees

Celebrate the return of spring and the miracle of new life by planting a tree.

Trees are magnificent gifts of creation that enrich our lives beyond comprehension. Their splendid canopies reduce the heat of a summer's day and provide shelter and warmth from the winter's wind. Trees are the lungs of the planet, providing life-giving oxygen and absorbing the carbon dioxide that threatens the very stability of our climate. They are sanctuaries for the human spirit and provide a compact between generations. Like our children, trees keep us rooted to the ground and yet they encourage us to look skyward to the heavens and to possibilities that we can only imagine.

In one year, a single tree can offset the carbon dioxide produced by a car driving 41,600 kilometers. In addition, trees also filter toxic pollutants from the air with their leaves, and from ground water with their roots. Three trees strategically planted around your home can reduce heating costs 10 to 30 percent, and cooling costs by 10 to 50 percent.

Spring is the ideal time to plant trees because the higher frequency of rain helps to establish strong root systems. Before you start, the Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authority (CLOCA) offers the following tips to ensure that the trees you plant today will provide a future forest for your great-grandchildren.

Before Planting:

• Choose species that are native to your area and grown from local seed, whenever possible. Examples include white pine, white cedar, sugar maple and red oak.
• Consider the soil type, moisture levels and topography of where you wish to plant. This will help you pick the right tree for the growing conditions.
• Select the species based on the value of a mature tree, i.e. shade, windbreak, erosion control, food or habitat for wildlife.
• Trees and shrubs need space to grow. Leave at least 2 metres between trees and one metre between shrubs.

During Planting:

• Tree seedlings can be kept in a cool place for 2 to 3 days.
• Make sure that roots never become dry during the planting process.
• Remove grass and weeds from around the planting area to reduce competition for sun and moisture.
• Dig a hole that is deep enough for roots to be fully extended when planted.
• Once planted, make sure that the soil around the tree is well packed to remove air pockets and reduce the settling of the soil.

After Planting

• Newly planted trees require watering every 7 to 10 days. Keep a rain diary to make sure that trees receive adequate moisture.
• Use tree guards to protect tender young bark against small animals such mice and rabbits.
• Check trees regularly to make sure that grass and weeds aren’t overwhelming them.

Related Websites:

For more information about CLOCA, or to find the conservation authority in your area, visit www.conservation-ontario.on.ca.

Trees Ontario works with local tree planting agencies in Ontario, including regional Conservation Authorities and local Ontario Stewardship councils to implement its tree planting subsidy programs. Planting agencies then work directly with landowners to determine site eligibility, allocate funding and coordinate tree planting.

The Global Forest Science Global Forest Science website offers a comprehensive guide to the most common trees of Canada.

Domtar - the paper people - have a great website for children about the wonderful world of trees. Visit www.domtar.com/arbre/english/

Most people can name their province's official flower, but did you know that each province and territory has its own tree, too? To find out more, visit the Canadian Forestry Association.

Tree Canada is a charitable organization dedicated to encouraging Canadians to plant and care for trees in our urban and rural environments.


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