The Standard Journal

Plant a hardworkin­g tree, reap the benefits

- By Ricky Ensley Polk Extension Coordinato­r

Trees are hard workers. They reduce air, water and noise pollution. They add to the value of our homes, conserve energy, reduce water runoff and protect us from harmful UV radiation.

Trees make good policemen. A study at the University of Illinois found that residentia­l buildings with high levels of vegetation had more than 50 percent fewer total crimes as compared to those with little vegetation. Trees also keep us cool. Cars parked in shade can have an internal temperatur­e of 20 to 30 degrees cooler than those in the sun. Trees make good salesmen. Shoppers are willing to spend up to 10 percent more for merchandis­e if the stores have trees around them.

Trees work hard for little pay. Why not plant a hard- working tree this spring! Though fall planting is best, spring planting is okay – but plant them soon before the weather gets too hot and dry.

The most important part of a tree is undergroun­d. Plan to pamper and protect the roots. If you fail to do this, you may get a lazy, sick tree instead of a diligent laborer. Poorly planted trees are a headache and often their problems cannot be fully corrected. Plan before you plant.

Carefully select your tree. Many fast-growing trees are also fast dying. Buy trees locally, from reputable firms. Trees from Michigan and other far off places will do well in Michigan, not Georgia.

Get a copy of our brochure, Trees f or t he Landscape.

Use this informatio­n to select a tree that is adapted to our area. Select one that has few problems and will not get too big for your site. Do not plant trees too close to power lines, other trees, houses, etc.

Dig an extremely wide planting hole. It should be at least two to five times as wide as the root ball. It is best to dig up a large bed and plant the tree in the center of it. The more soft soil you supply, the quicker the plant can take root. Slope the sides of the hold. Do you know where the undergroun­d utilities are? Find out before you dig!

Tenderly care for the tree before you plant it. Keep the root ball moist but not wet. Carry the tree by the root ball, never the trunk. Store the tree in a cool place and do not nick the trunk.

Plant the tree no deeper that it originally grew. Plant potted trees with the top of the root ball at the soil surface. On bare root trees, look for the enlarged root collar to know how deep t hey were growing.

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