Celebrate Earth Day: 5 steps to plant a tree

(Family Features) There are countless ways you can make your contributions felt this Earth Day. If you’d like to join millions of others in the fight for the environment, consider one of the most popular gifts given back to the world each year: planting a tree.

According to earthday.org, hundreds of millions of trees have been planted since the first celebration in 1970. You can participate in one of the largest civic events on the planet by planting a tree. Consider these tips to plant a tree in your own yard properly.

Choose the Right Tree and Location

Choosing the right tree and planting location are critical factors depending on where you live and your desired outcome. Larger shade trees help cool homes in warmer climates, evergreens provide privacy, and fruit trees offer a grocery store right in your backyard. Consider your available space along with conditions that will impact the tree itself, such as soil conditions, sun exposure, drainage, and more.

Dig Safely

Before digging, remember that proper tree placement requires factoring in underground utility lines, overhead power lines, and proximity to sidewalks, driveways, and homes. Dial 811, the national call-before-you-dig number, to locate underground utilities, and consider contacting an arborist or tree care professional to ensure you’ve weighed all the important factors.

Break Ground

Dig a hole that’s roughly 2-3 times wider than the root ball of your tree and equally as deep as the root ball. Be sure the trunk flare (where the trunk expands at the tree’s base) is partially visible when planted. Remove any wrapping or cover from the root ball and trunk. Lift from the root ball, not the trunk, to place in the hole, then straighten vertically and firmly backfill soil around the root ball to stabilize. If in an area prone to high winds or heavy foot traffic, you can use a tree stakes kit to help protect your new tree.

Add Mulch

Mulching helps maintain moisture, improve soil conditions, and control weed growth. Place a 2-3-inch layer in a 3-foot radius around the tree’s base without touching the trunk itself. You might want to also consider using a mulch glue to keep your mulch in place and looking good.

Keep Soil Moist

Ensure your tree has enough water to grow strong by keeping the soil moist. Typically, this means watering just once per week, barring rain, but it may require more frequency, especially in hot weather. A tree watering bag is a convenient and easy way top keep you need tree hydrated.

Find more tips for giving back to Mother Earth at eLivingtoday.com.

Troy Petenbrink

Troy, also known as The Gay Traveler, is a well known travel and food writer. His has been a regular contributor to a variety of outlets including National Geographic, Travel Channel, DCRefined, CBS Local, and Metro Weekly. He also appears on local Washington news outlets as a travel expert.

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