Most of us tend to go about our everyday activities without giving the trees surrounding us much thought. National Arbor Day is a holiday that reminds us all of the importance and value every single tree has. Arbor Day is recognized and observed around the world by all different cultures. In the United States, it is celebrated on the last Friday in April. On this day, it is encouraged to get outside and plant a tree. Planting just one tree has many different benefits for the environment. Some of these benefits include purifying the air, supporting wildlife and providing shade to protect us from the damaging effects of the sun on our skin.
It’s time to act today! The Davey Tree Expert Company is committed to making a difference and providing solutions for a growing world. Along with The Shade Foundation, Davey Tree is looking for us all to apply nature’s sunscreen this Arbor Day. The healthy trees around us actually act as a natural sun protectant. Trees are equally important as applying sunscreen, wearing sunglasses and putting on hats. They act as our defense against the harsh rays of the sun. That’s why it is important to join in and take the pledge. It’s easy, and reminds us that we are held accountable for our health and nurturing the environment around us!
Gardening With Trees
Many people overlook trees when it comes to gardening. An interesting fact I've learned about trees is that they provide the first available food for pollinators in the spring. Trees create a natural habitat for the pollinators we all know and love. So planting trees ends up benefitting your garden by attracting the beneficial insects needed to make it successful. They can be especially beneficial because of the density of their blossoms. Trees support different species of hummingbirds, moths and butterflies. These species end up pollinating more than 85 percent of flowering plants. That's a large amount of work they do for us! A favorite tree of mine, the crabapple, has over 308 dependent species. Pear, Oak, Willow, Hickory and Elm are a few of the best trees that support pollinators. Get outside today and create the best pollinator habitat you can, and your garden will be thriving in no time!
Benefits Of Trees
Trees provide us with clean air and shade for people as well as homes. This saves energy that we use to stay cool which can lower the cost of air-conditioning. Trees can also help regulate water flow and improve water quality. One of the best benefits of trees is that many provide food. There are lots of different varieties of fruit and nut trees you can plant in your very own backyard. A few of my favorites are Harrow Sweet pear, North Star cherry, and American chestnut trees. Trees planted in your yard can increase property values up to 20 percent. Research has proved that just spending time near trees can improve physical and mental health. It can increase our energy level, and improve how fast we recover from injury. Being around trees is known to lower your stress levels and blood pressure. They increase biodiversity and provide animals with a habitat, food and protection.
According to Jim Zwack, director of technical services at Davey Trees, limiting exposure to UV radiation minimizes harmful effects of sun to the skin, but sunscreen is not enough. The American Cancer Society agrees that shade from trees can add another element of protection. If we keep our trees healthy, they, in return, keep us healthy. It is important to take note that not all shade is created equally. Here are some helpful facts to keep in mind when keeping yourself protected from the sun.
Keep Yourself Protected
The National Institutes of Health reports incidences of melanoma doubled in the U.S. over the past 20 years. It is important to keep in mind that skin cancer is highly curable if found early and can be prevented. As mentioned above, tree shade can provide protection from the sun. In addition to this, make sure you cover exposed skin with clothing. It is also a great idea to wear wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses with UV-A and UV-B protection. Farmers and gardeners are at high risk of exposure being out in the sun all day. Implementing these clothing choices can really make a difference on your health. Make sure you regularly use sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher. On hot, sunny days, it's a great idea to relax under some trees in a hammock to further block out the harmful rays.
According to The Shade Foundation, one in five children grow up to develop skin cancer. They share more helpful information with us when it comes to staying protected. Remember to use caution when near water, snow and sand. Plan in advance and check the UV index before going outside. You can check the UV index for your area here. It is still important to receive Vitamin D, so do so safely through diet and supplements. Give yourself regular examinations and check your skin once a month.
Keep Your Trees Healthy
The healthier the trees and environment around you, the healthier you will be in return! It is important to regularly inspect your trees and shrubs from the bottom up. I usually spend extra time doing this in the spring because of the harsh winters we have here in New England. Look for brittle or dead branches, soft or decaying wood, small holes in the trunk or shallow pits in the bark. During yard cleanup, remove parts of trees that look unhealthy or dead to keep trees thriving and encourage new growth. It is also important to apply a slow-release fertilizer to keep your trees strong. This replaces nutrients and protects trees from disease, insects and stressful weather. Keep all your plants well watered through the season as it is important to keep trees hydrated. A watering method that quenches roots is necessary for all trees and shrubs. Keep an eye out for those suffering from drought stress. Makes sure to give these trees a deep watering. It is important to do your research before and when planting trees in your yard. You want to plant a tree in an area it will thrive and benefit off the conditions. Just like flowers, you wouldn't plant a bulb that thrives in sun in your shade garden. It may grow, but it will be weak and struggle throughout the seasons with the wrong conditions. You want to make sure you are not only maximizing your tree's lifespan, but also improving the quality of your landscape.
"Certified arborists can spot hazards, explain concerns and find something you missed. Schedule regular check-ups with an arborist to ensure the best care for your trees." - Jim Zwack, Director of Technical Services at The Davey Tree Expert Company
Plant A Tree
The most important step when planting a tree is doing your research. There are so many great online resources for this. One of my favorites is the Tree Wizard. Through some easily answered questions, Tree Wizard will recommend the best tree for you! It's great especially for someone like me who often doesn't know where to start. Also, don't underestimate the amount of knowledge you can get locally at garden centers and from arborists in your area. Never be afraid to ask questions. You want to provide your tree with the best conditions possible. A tree is alive just like a family pet you care for, and relies on you to help it thrive.
If you are looking for step by step instructions, check out a helpful three part video series shared by Davey Tree here. I'm a visual learner, so watching this really helped me understand and guided me through the process. You can watch Talking Trees: How To Plant a Tree (Part 1) below.
"Don't underestimate the value of trees and plants. Plant trees in the right place, and provide proper tree care and landscape maintenance this spring and beyond to enjoy the benefits for years to come." - Jim Zwack, Director of Technical Services at The Davey Tree Expert Company
I feel like we all, in some way, have a special connection with the trees around us. Memories of climbing them as a child, lying beneath them during summer vacation, and playing hide and seek in our yard. We all have flashbacks that wouldn't be the same without those leaf filled branches above. Planting your very first tree is something that you will always remember--I can guarantee it! Do you have any fun stories about planting trees? Perhaps planting a tree when you moved to a new home, or planting one to mark a special occasion? I would love to hear all about it in the comment section below! Is there a certain variety that you would like to add to your yard? Tweet me @thefreckledrose and feel free to show me pictures. Don't be intimidated! Get out there and plant a tree today! It can't hurt to give it a try, and the good you are doing for the environment is truly infinite. Happy Arbor Day everyone!