Arbor Day 2022: Celebrating Trees for 150 Years

natures lawn and garden treesThis year marks the 150th Anniversary of Arbor Day in the United States. Today, allow yourself to openly express your inner tree hugger! Why? Because trees are awesome.

For many of us, trees are associated with cherished memories of our youth: climbing trees with siblings and neighborhood kids; a favorite tree in your neighborhood that was “safe” for games of tag; finding the perfect tree for a tire swing, or, if you were lucky enough, a treehouse (something that’s still on my bucket list).

Nostalgia aside, trees are essential for our own well-being, and all of nature. Trees help clean our air and water by absorbing harmful carbon dioxide from the environment and, through photosynthesis, they release life-giving oxygen into the air. Their roots prevent soil erosion, which is why you see hedgerows of trees between farmers’ fields. Their fallen leaves provide organic matter that breaks down and contributes to healthier, happier soil. Trees also improve biodiversity in forests and offer ideal habitats for birds and other wildlife.

Trees are natural air-conditioners, cooling crowded urban streets by nearly 10 degrees in hot weather, as well as our individual homes. They keep us dry in light rain and protect us from damaging ultraviolet rays. Planting trees along the border of our property not only provides a beautiful privacy screen, it also reduces noise pollution from surrounding roadways (and noisy neighbors!).

And last but certainly not least, trees beautify our communities, providing parklands for leisure activities and relaxation. Studies show that spending even a short time in green spaces reduces anxiety, elevates our mood, and can even decrease our risk of future heart health problems!

Ways to Celebrate Arbor Day

  • Visit a local botanical garden to see the beautiful displays of exquisite trees and flowers.
  • Visit an arboretum, a place where trees are cultivated for education and display–if you’re in New York State, the one at Cornell University is amazing! If not, try checking out the colleges and universities (especially if they have a focus on environmental sciences) near you to see if they offer anything similar.
  • Take a hike at a local nature preserve. Many parks and preserves offer guided walks to identify trees, plants, and wildlife. If you prefer to go on your own, some parks have libraries where visitors can borrow field guides and binoculars.
  • Join or host a tree-planting event. Spend some time socializing with your neighbors to help out a great cause.
  • Join or donate to your favorite conservation charity to support reforestation efforts.
  • Plant a tree in your own yard, not just on Arbor Day, but to commemorate a special event, or as a living tribute to a late loved one. Your investment today will be repaid exponentially to future generations.

For tips on choosing and planting trees, visit the experts at your local nursery. They can recommend native trees that do well in your area and advise you how to space trees according to their canopy spread.

How To Take Care of a Newly Planted Tree

Caring for any plant always starts with the soil. Like the soil in your lawn, the soil around trees and shrubs needs good aeration and drainage. It also benefits from the addition of organic matter and micronutrients, especially if the soil contains heavy clay, or if it has been treated with pesticides for many years.

Before you plant your tree, you’ll want to improve the quality of soil where it will be planted. The easiest way we know of to improve poor soil is by applying our liquid soil conditioner, Aerify Plus, regularly. If your soil tend to be sandy rather than compact, Nature’s Magic may be the better choice.

When you first plant your tree, you’ll want to make sure the root ball is saturated with water. Water it again immediately after planting, and feed it right away as it acclimates to its new home. Our Bio-Enhanced 16-4-8 is considered a high nitrogen fertilizer which means it works well for most non-blooming, evergreen, or leafy plants. For trees, use during the initial growth flush stage. If you already have some LAWN FORCE 5 (a 14-3-7 fertilizer), you can use this as well. The beneficial root fungus (mycorrhizae) will encourage growth and protect roots from disease.

After the initial planting and watering, make sure your tree gets about 1 ½” to 2” of water a week.

Where to Fertilize Trees

Nature's lawn and garden how to water fertilize a tree
Here is a good illustration of where to water, which is the same as where you would want to fertilize a tree.

If you’re caring for an older, established tree, you only need to fertilize once or twice a year to keep your tree happy. But where exactly should you put the fertilizer?

Liquid fertilizers have an advantage over pellets and stakes, as they can be injected straight into the root zone (known as deep-root feeding) or drenched into the soil (such as using a watering can). Either way, the fertilizer is more readily available, penetrates more deeply than granules and plant food stakes, and is overall better for the soil and the earthworms that live in it.

When fertilizing with the soil drench method, make sure to fertilize both inside as well as slightly beyond the drip line, or canopy line, of dense shrubs or trees. There are a lot of feeder roots there. But do not soak the area right near the trunk of a tree. It can cause rot, and there are no feeder roots in that area anyway.

Whenever possible, maintain a mulch layer of 2-3 inches or more of organic material (compost, shredded bark, wood chips etc.) around the whole root or drip zone of your tree. This organic matter will help keep the soil surface soft and permeable.

I imagine most everyone has a favorite tree somewhere. Let us help you keep yours healthy and growing for many years to come!

Reforestation

This Arbor Day, Nature’s Lawn & Garden is donating 10% of all proceeds to One Tree Planted, where every dollar donated equals a tree in the soil.

One Tree Planted plants trees all over the world with an aim of global reforestation. They plant trees in 28 countries across North and South America, Asia, Africa, and Europe. The work of this organization helps restore land affected by human and natural disasters, while supporting the communities and ecosystems in these areas.

What they’ve achieved: Based on their 2020 report, their efforts have been incredibly impactful. One Tree Planted has planted over 20 million trees and restored over 15,000 hectares of land. In 2021 alone, they raised enough money to plant over 23,588,232 additional trees.

Make your purchase count! Purchase on April 29, 2022, and 10% will go to this incredible, earth-saving charity.

nature's lawn and garden donate to one tree planted