30 Days Towards Sustainability

Day 10: Plant lots of trees!

Keep a green tree in your heart and perhaps a singing bird will come. - Chinese proverb

The impact of human activity on world climate is a subject of intense debate and study, but as far as
I am concerned, I think we should all have an attitude of "better safe than sorry". Fortunately, there isn't much debate about the value and importance of trees. And one thing we can do to ameliorate the negative impacts of climate change is to plant trees - lots of trees. It is particularly important to plant fruit and nut trees. There is nothing quite like pulling a tree-ripened peach right off the tree and biting into it. You can find a lot of info about planting trees in Oklahoma at http://www.okplanttrees.org/ .

If you don't have room for full size trees, then plant dwarf or semi-dwarf varieties. If you don't have a place
to plant a tree, then donate trees to your church, your neighborhood school, a public housing
project, or public park. 2007 is our state's centennial, and one of the projects is to plant "Centennial Groves" of trees.

When you plant a tree, remember this saying: Dig a twenty dollar hole for a fifty cent tree. Which is to say, a deeper and wider hole for the baby tree is much better than a smaller and shallower hole. Once you dig the hole, fill it with water and let it soak in, then plant the tree. Keep the young tree watered.

In Oklahoma, fall is a GREAT time for planting trees. Many local nurseries will have fruit and nut trees for sale. Don't plant just one, plant several! You want at least two peach trees (if they are semi-dwarf), to have enough peaches to eat fresh, make jam, and freeze for making peach cobbler later. If you have any questions about planting trees, I encourage you to contact your local county extension office. They are listed in the phone book, or you can find contact info for Oklahoma extension offices at http://countyext.okstate.edu/ .

Planting a tree is a gift across generations. We can enjoy shade today because somebody before us cared enough to plant trees. If we want our children and grand children to enjoy trees, then we must plant the trees whose shade they will enjoy. If you plant trees, generations that follow you will call you blessed.

And remember: Don't be afraid to go out on a limb. That's where the fruit is.

As I age
in the world it will rise and spread,
and be for this place horizon
and orison, the voice of its winds.
I have made myself a dream to dream
of its rising, that has gentled my nights.
Let me desire and wish well the life
these trees may live when I
no longer rise in the mornings
to be pleased with the green of them
shining, and their shadows on the ground,
and the sound of the wind in them.
- Wendell Berry, Planting Trees

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the sweet earth's flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree."
- Joyce Kilmer, 1886-1918, Trees

Bob Waldrop, Oklahoma City




These tips may be freely forwarded, credit for authorship is appreciated. They are posted online at http://www.energyconservationinfo.org/30days.htm .