|The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago; the next best time is now. '|
The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago; the next best time is now. '
"The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago; the next best time is now." When our youngest son was in junior high he made us a little sign on his computer with this saying on it. It hung in the shop for a long time, and I have used the saying in newsletters and for classes over the years. It is an old Chinese proverb that is surely timeless in its message.
The prettiest streets, parks, and yards are those with trees. The simplest home looks charming and inviting when surrounded by trees. If you haven't planted any trees lately, perhaps this is the springtime to do so.
There are so many trees from which to choose. Here in the Delaware Valley, especially South Jersey, we have wonderful nurseries where trees are grown. For best results, it is good to pick a local grown tree that is good for your soil and exposure. Look at trees, then read about ones that appeal to you to see if they are what you need. Michael Dirr's book Manuel of Woody Plants is one of the best of all tree books for complete information.
Many folks make a tradition of planting a new tree each spring or fall. Some town's plant street or park trees, many such as the Boro of Stratford find grants so they can plant unique street trees that are enjoyed by both their residents as well as all who pass through their town. Vice chairman of shade tree commission john Gentless says it is important to pick the right tree for the right spot. "Gentless , along with chairman Jake Gambon, has been involved with the shade tree commission for many years. Gambon is an advocate for diversification when planting trees an d chooses the best tree for s situation. Although about 500 trees have been planted in the past 5 years there are plans to plant at least 150 more this year.
People who want shade often choose an oak, maple, or other tree with spreading branches. For a narrow spot, a chalice-shaped zelkova tree might be good.
For color, there are flowering cherry, plum, pear, redbuds, magnolia, and dogwood. The list goes on and on and on. Trees mark boundaries, they make shade, clean the air, hold the soil, are nesting places for birds, resting and food sources for butterflies and moths, and sources of inspiration for poets.
It you choose the right tree for the right spot, you will have a lifetime companion. For instance, if the soil is on the wet side, a swamp magnolia or maple might work a lot better than a cherry.
Maples are wonderful trees for color and shade. The Red Maple, Acer rubrum, is one of New Jersey's most colorful native trees and is plentiful in low, moist, swampy woods as well as higher and drier places. Not to be confused with the Japanese red maple, which is considerably smaller and not a native, Acer rubrum is a large shade tree. All maples are in the Acer (their botanical name) family, with a second name to better identify them. Of course, there are a few maples to avoid, such as the silver and Norway, because they have really terrible root systems. Others, such as the paper bark, trifoliam, Japanese red maple, and most red maples are very sought after ornamentals. Colorful red or sugar a maples and their cultivars are fast-growing shade trees. It is always a good idea to keep the large maples away from cesspools, sewer pipes, or sidewalks. They do have vigorous roots that seek moisture.
A real favorite for smaller gardens is the Japanese Red Maple tree, Acer Palmatum. This popular ornamental plant is a small deciduous tree that is usually used as a single specimen, but it can be very nice in groupings. Japanese maples include an incredibly diverse and beautiful variety of hybrids (over 300 cultivars). These vary in leaf shape from the 'typical' Maple leaf, to deeply cut 'Lace leaf' varieties.
The Red Sunset Maple tree, Acer Rubrum Red Sunset, is considered one of the best trees for early fall color! This will become a very large deciduous shade tree. Glossy green leaves turn brilliant orange-scarlet, making this one of the showiest in autumn. The species name of rubrum means red. This tree has red flowers in dense clusters in late March to early April before the leaves appear, two-winged red fruit, and reddish stems and twigs. The Red Sunset is one of the best red maple cultivars and an excellent choice for homeowners.
It is often recommended that both Norway and Silver maples be avoided as they have very invasive, large root systems. The have been known to push up sidewalks, break through cement pipes and get in sewers. The Norway is very pretty in fall, often the first to change color, but the large, protruding roots have made it a very unpopular street tree. It trips people and breaks sidewalks. So it is best to plant a maple that does not have invasive roots.
If your garden needs a shade tree or just some color early spring is a good time to plant. Use common sense when planting. Make the right size holes, large enough to accommodate the roots, but not too big. Mix in some good compost or manure in with the existing soil and place the tree ball in. Fill no higher than the top of the soil that was in pot or the top of the root ball. Tamp gently and water well. Be sure to saturate the soil all around the ball of dirt. If you do not water deeply each time you water, the root will grow up to the surface and become vulnerable to heat and cold. A slow- running hose for five or sixhours once a week is what is usually needed, not a tease of lawn irrigation for a short period all the time. This only brings roots up to the surface for water. Add light shredded root mulch, not more than 2 inches, and keep it away from the bark of tree. Never heap much around the tree trunk. This is called volcano mulching and is bad for the tree trunk. Don't feed newly planted trees until next spring.
In summary, there are many good trees to choose from. Of course, oaks are long-lived, maples are pretty and fast growing, and both make great shade. If you want something different there are many others to choose from. Visit an arboretum, a botanical garden and a reliable nursery and look at many kinds of trees.
My husband Ted jokes that if the maple tree doesn't work out, you can always make bowling pins from it. Some sense of humor, huh? But all joking aside, if you have never planted a tree in your lifetime, now is the time to do so. Give mother earth a gift this SUMMERg: plant a tree. It will be even more beautiful 20 years from now. BIG TREES 50 % off for 4 days . come get one now.