Plant a Tree, Save the World

This past weekend, my mom, my husband, my kid and myself planted a tree at local Rail-to-Trail as a memorial of my late Grandfather.  It was a small oak that will hopefully grow into a mighty oak which will outlive all those that planted it. (meaning it will live a VERY long life, as well as those who planted it).  This is a wonderful way to remember a wonderful man.  This is surely a gift that will keep on giving.

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Trees do many things positive things that we know of, and I’m sure many that we do not.

Here is a list of 10 positive things trees do:

1) Restores biodiversity.  Bugs live in trees.  Birds and Squirrels live in trees.  Bird eat the bugs that live in trees.  Bigger birds eat those smaller birds who eat the bugs.  This biodiversity is not limited to the animal kingdom.  A tree creates a shady spot which creates cooler environments.  Plants that like cooler, shadier areas now have an environment to thrive.

a robin nest nestled deep in an evergreen

a robin nest nestled deep in an evergreen

2) Provides shade and shelter for your critters.  Our chickens love to hang out under the shade of the oak tree we planted for Jaxson when he turned one.  I have heard bees become more productive (and are overall happier) when the live in the shade of a tree.  All animals benefit from having the shelter/shade of a tree available to them.  This includes: birds, sheep, goats, horses, goats, and bees.

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3) Prevents Erosion (3 ways): (a)The tree protects the soil from the impact of the rain, which can hammer the earth’s surface.  (b) The tree sucks up water from the soil.  This means that the soil will not become over saturated.  When you have heavy/flooding rains, picture what the surrounding creeks and stream look like.  They are muddy and icky.  This is from the soil being flushed out along with the water.  A tree helps to reduce this.  (c) A tree holds onto soil, especially on sloping lands.  And by holding on to that soil allows other plants to set roots down; therefore, increasing the biodiversity we discussed our first reason trees save the world.

oak tree with acorns

oak tree with acorns

4) Helps replenish the soil.  A tree accumulates biomass.  Biomass is the mass of living things in a given area.  When a tree drops it’s leaves, the leaves decompose and turn into worm food and create soil.  Trees also have two types of roots: perennial and annual.  The annual root system dies every year and becomes worm food, creating more soil/organic matter.  With their roots, trees suck up nutrients deep in the ground and bring the nutrients up the their leaves.  These nutrients now become available to the surface of the earth.

walnut tree at the forest edge

walnut tree at the forest edge

5) Stores solar energy and makes it usable (in a sustainable way).  Chris and I heat our house with solar energy.  Yes, our home is south facing, so we benefit from passive solar, but we also benefit from stored solar energy in the form of wood.  When we burn wood, we are simply releasing the solar energy stored in the tree.

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6) Act as a wind buffer.  Trees will slow gusting winds down.  Anyone who has run or biked in the country has felt this.  You are chugging away down the road and all of a sudden you are surrounded by fields and you feel like you are about to be knocked over.  Trees act as a natural wind buffer.

young paw paw tree

young paw paw tree

7) Create oxygen.  Well that’s pretty cool.  Anyone with an elementary school education is aware of this.

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8) Provides food.  Possibly.   If you want.  It is possible that a tree after doing all the above will also provide you with food.  Anything from peaches and pears to walnuts and almonds.

An immature peach on a tree

An immature peach on a tree

9) Look pretty.  My goodness.  Trees are amazing living things.  Certain species can live thousands of years.  Some are so big cars can drive through them, some are so small they look like nothing more than a blade of grass.

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10) Provides materials.  As a woodworker, Chris uses wood to make shelves, lids, chicken coops and fences.  This material can be re-purposed when it’s original purpose is no longer served.  Wood products are longer lasting, healthier (less yucky chemicals), and more attractive than their plastic counterparts.

All this was spurred by a short two and a half minute video which features a woman who reclaims the dessert by planting trees:

So get out and plant your trees today!

One thought on “Plant a Tree, Save the World

  1. Joan Strong

    Julia, I enjoyed this so much. Have you read the book “The Man Who Planted Trees”? The Story of Elzéard Bouffier by Jean Giono. It is also available as an animated video with a really unique and beautiful animation technique, you can view it on YouTube. Dennis and I first saw the film at an animation festival and it made us cry (with joy). Also, the Arbor Society is a truly economical source for very small native trees. They send them as bare root seedlings in late fall. When you visit me, I will show you the trees we planted about 10 years ago. I guess most are at least 15 – 20 feet now and provide a wonderful screen during the summer. You can hardly see the houses below us. I love to watch all the branches dancing and swaying when the wind blows. The video you posted is wonderful. So amazing what can be accomplished by determined, dedicated individuals.

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