Arbor Day is the day when people around the world celebrate and plant trees through community programs or school events. The US Arbor Day is celebrated on different days, usually during the spring. It was started on April 10, 1872 in Nebraska City in the United States by J. Sterling Morton. On this day, participants are encouraged plant trees and recognize the importance of trees.
Mulching is the method used to keep plants, trees, and shrubs healthy. It helps to conserve moisture and reduce the loss of moisture from soil through evaporation. Mulches prevent fungus infection and soil borne diseases, maintaining a constant soil temperature in different weather conditions to promote the growth of earth worms and microorganisms which make the soil fertile. Yard waste, dry grass, twigs, leaves, newspapers, peanuts, wood clips, sawdust, and wheat straw are some of the organic mulch materials which decompose to promote the growth of microorganisms in soil. Excess mulch is not encouraged because the plants can get damaged by herbicides and fertilizers.
The application of fertilizers to plants is called fertilizing, and excess fertilizer can inhibit the plant’s growth in some cases. It also pollutes lakes, streams, and rivers. Fertilizers contain mineral elements such as nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium. Urea is a fertilizer made from nitrogen. Natural fertilizers such as cottonseed meal, dried blood, fish emulsion or animal manure can also be used to provide nutrition to the soil. Soil testing is done to assess the need of a type of fertilizer, for which, a sample of soil is collected to be analyzed for pH and presence of mineral components.
Tree anatomy consists of trunk, branches, and roots. The trunk is made up of layers of wood over the older wood. On the top is the dead bark which protects the wood from environmental elements. Branches are attached to the tree trunk and interlocking tissues are produced year after year, holding the trunk and the branch base. Mostly, roots develop and survive in the top 3 feet below the soil and they need adequate moisture and oxygen to grow.
Gardening in Shade
Shades can be partial, open, filtered or dense. Filtered shade can be found below the trees of honey locust, birch, and mimosa. Open shade refers to the shade where there is no tree to block the sunlight and plants are grown in shade of a building. Partial shade changes as the day proceeds, and deep shade is found in heavily wooded landscapes.
Problems from Roots
Mulching exposed roots prevent soil erosion and they protect the roots from heating up in direct contact with sunlight. The septic system occurs around the sewer lines and septic field, and tree roots can damage the pipes as the trees grow into the cracks and widen the breaks. Roots can cause cracks on pavements and sidewalks so barriers should be erected in the soil to prevent it. Many trees such as wild cherry and sweet gums re-sprout when they are cut and care should be taken to bury wood after cutting to prevent re-sprouting.
To plant trees, you will have to select the plants or trees which are most suitable for planting in your garden. Care should be taken to select healthy plants with suitable size, color, and shape. The plant should be uniformly shaped, and you should examine the trunk for cankers and splits. Do not select trees with sharp and upright branches. It’s also important to check the container for drainage holes. Examine the root system and avoid circular roots which can choke the plant. Avoid plants with black roots which indicate infection or poor growth.
To plant trees, you need tiling, digging, and preparing the entire bed for the growth of tree or plants. Plants can be grown in three ways: bare roots, container grown or ball and burlapped. Container can be used to grow plants and it is best to start planting during late fall or early spring. These are the times when roots grow into soil. To incorporate organic matter, 3 inches of organic matter can be placed on 12 inches soil. The planting hole should be three times the width of root for container grown plant. Sometimes, the gardener spreads the roots to enable it to grow close to the soil surface to promote root accessibility to oxygen and moisture. To plant trees in poorly drained sites, the roots should be kept partially above the soil level and the soil should be loosened beyond the planting hole to promote aeration.
Trees have self-defense mechanism to prevent wounds and cuts. Tree form a wall or a barrier to seal the injury but the storage capacity of injured wood is lost and you need to prune trees to prevent decay of tree. Pruning is done when the tree is very young and it’s difficult to prune older trees. Pruning should be done when there are problems in tree branches. Pruning of trees such as honey locust, walnut, maple, and birch should be done in late spring, and tree such as dogwoods should be pruned in May, June or July. Certain trees such as River Birch are pruned into multi trunk, and most other trees are pruned to the central trunk.
Damage to Tree
Trees can be damaged when the roots grow in a place where there is inadequate oxygen or moisture. Older trees could not adjust like young trees to the environmental changes and care should be taken while doing any type of construction work close to the trees to prevent damage to trees. Construction material should not be kept below trees. Installations in the house should not be made where they may damage the trees. Removal or filling the soil at the top can cause major changes in the soil and it can have adverse effect on trees. After construction, the bruised bark of the trunk or branches of tree should be allowed to heal. The top and bottom of the tree should be rounded so that moisture and nutrients can flow to the damaged parts. Scatter fertilizers to the roots to promote new foliage growth and apply water to nourish damaged roots. Lightening, storms, snow, and ice are some of the weather conditions when tree branches break due to weight or wind. Pruning is done to prevent further damage to broken trees and branches. Infections and injury by lawn mowers should be taken seriously, and weeds and grass should not be allowed to grow at the base of trees.