Arbor Day is fast approaching, and stressing the importance of trees in our environment to your family is helpful. But a hands-on experience is the best way to make learning about trees both educational and fun. Whether you plant your tree in your backyard or in your community as a volunteer, you can still watch your tree grow for years to come. So, what better way to celebrate Arbor Day than by leaning how to plant a tree with your family?
Tree Planting 101
If you don’t have a lot of experience with gardening or planting trees in particular, it can be helpful to research the best way to plant a tree before you get digging. The first order of business is to pay a visit to a local nursery for a beginner’s lesson in the planting process and care required to grow a tree. You can also plan a visit to a local farm, greenhouse or even a home garden store for a quick crash course in tree planting. Call ahead to inquire about any scheduled special events or classes, or simply ask for the most knowledgeable clerk who can walk you through the process of picking the right spot in your yard, what items you will need, and how to plant a tree the right way.
Prepare your yard for your new tree by digging a hole twice as wide as the root ball and slightly shallower. The kids will love getting their hands dirty so have plenty of shovels handy. Be sure to remove the tree gently from its container, taking care to protect the branches and leaves. Separate the roots carefully, and make sure the tree is straight and positioned correctly before you start filling the hole with soil. This is a great time to make use of any compost you might have on hand. Mix it in with the soil before you pack it in tight. Grab your watering cans and give your tree a big drink to start. Put the kids in charge of checking on the tree once a week for the first month to see if it needs water.
Picking The Right Tree
The key to successfully growing a tree is picking the right one for your area to ensure that it will thrive. With California currently in a drought and no end in sight, picking a drought-tolerant tree is the best option for my family since we live in Los Angeles. This year, we’ve decided to plant a Meyer Lemon Tree for Arbor Day, which is fast growing, drought-tolerant and provides fruit that we can enjoy and share with our friends.
When you select a tree to plant, you should think about general environmental factors, like climate. It’s also important to consider conditions specific to your own backyard, like space, access to sunlight, power lines that may be affected as the tree matures, and even what’s going on under the soil such as a septic system or underground cables that could be damaged by spreading roots.
Arbor Day Alternatives
If you live in an apartment or you don’t have a lot of planting space in your yard it doesn’t mean you can’t plant a tree. Smaller varieties of trees can thrive well in large containers as long as they have good drainage and plenty of sunlight. Another option is to look to your community as your own backyard. As the Arbor Day Foundation explains, many conservation organizations offer opportunities to take part in planting trees around the holiday. Look for a local organization or a community event where your family can volunteer together for the day. It will make a great experience to learn about planting trees and give you an opportunity to give back to your community as a family.
Whether you plant a tree in your own backyard or in a local park, the experience will be a priceless lesson in sustainability and caring for the environment, not to mention, a great way to bond and make new memories.
Do you plan to celebrate Arbor Day by planting a tree with your family? Show us your trees on Instagram with #GoodMatters!
This article was brought to you by Tom’s of Maine. The views and opinions expressed by the author do not reflect the position of Tom’s of Maine.