Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Yes, it's the wildly beautiful month of April again. And, as most of you know, Earth Day occurs every April 22nd. John McConnell founded this celebration in 1970 with the hope that on this day every year, millions of people all over the world would join in prayers and peaceful actions on behalf of our environment. And, it does happen - after decades of annual celebrations, now a billion or more people take part in Earth Day observances.

One of the most effective ways to celebrate your appreciation of the environment on Earth Day is by planting a tree. It's a great way to join in the fight against global warming. It has been estimated that, for each tree you plant, you will reduce 13 pounds CO2/year in the atmosphere. Less CO2, less damage to the environment, plus it brings beauty to its surroundings, helps hold back soil erosion, and offers a much needed home to the birds.

If you live in a place where you can't plant a tree, you can find another place to plant your tree - like in a neighbor's yard or in a park. Or you might plant a tiny sapling in a large container and let it grow there for some months while you decide where to put it later. All you need right now is a sunny spot on your patio or in a window. Wherever you put it, it will be a decorative reminder that "getting greener" means taking positive actions.

There are also a lot of special tree-planting events going on in many communities, so just take a look around for those opportunities. If, for some reason, you can't plant a tree on Earth Day, select another day of the year - like your own or someone else's birthday or an anniversary of some importance to you - and maintain that date as your annual tree-planting day. (By the way, if you are as old as I am, you may remember Arbor Day. Does anyone know if it's still observed somewhere? And how?)

Be sure to choose a tree that is native to your area. You'll probably have better luck getting a "native" to grow into a mature tree, and it surely won't create any ecological problem. Many saplings are available for $10 to $100 or maybe even be given away free on Earth Day - a public library is giving away saplings in my town. Do not soak the sapling before planting. Dig a hole two to five times wider than the root ball. In the bottom and center of the hole, leave a base of undisturbed soil. Put the root ball in the hole and put the soil around to two inches over the top of the hole. Hold the tree upright while backfilling with dirt and soil. Remove grass and weeds around the tree. With extra soil, build a small boarder around the hole. Then soak water down into the roots and mulch around your tree.

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