More trees, please
The drought that affected so much of the country throughout the last decade saw the loss of much of our tree cover. As a result we should be doing all we can to replace these losses and to increase the number of trees in our environment. Trees need our help but, even more importantly, we need trees.
Australia’s National Tree Day will be held on Sunday July 29. This ties in beautifully with the Australian Nursery & Garden Industry’s current More Trees Please campaign. More Trees Please is the second stage of the industry’s Improve Your Plant/Life Balance promotional program. Visit www.plantlifebalance.com.au.
The Nursery & Garden Industry Australia points out that trees and urban forests (the trees and plants in suburbs and cities) provide us with better air quality and improved shade and weather protection.
Other advantages of trees are:
- Trees save on energy use. The US Department of Agriculture claims that: ‘The net cooling effect of a young, healthy tree is equivalent to ten room-size air conditioners operating 20 hours a day.’
- Trees bind the soil together. They reduce runoff, which cuts down on flooding and pollution.
- Trees provide homes and food for native birds and animals.
- Trees are beautiful. They soften hard lines of houses and urban structures.
- Trees improve property value. Some of the most expensive real estate areas are those described as ‘leafy’.
July is the month when new deciduous trees, those that lose their leaves in winter, are available for sale. These trees are sold ‘bare-rooted’, which means they have started life in the ground in nursery beds. Once established they are dug out in their winter dormant period, their roots are cleaned of soil and they are shipped to garden retailers around the country. The bare-root trees, which are usually of quite a good size, are ready to take off in spring. Make sure they’re planted into a well-prepared hole, into which some Dynamic Lifter pellets and some organic matter have been incorporated.
Maples, ashes and birches are some of the bare-root suggestions for this time of year. Blossom trees such as crabapples, flowering peaches and plums and, in cold climates, lilacs are also popular because most have a display twice a year, first with the spring blossom and then some autumn colour. The great advantage of deciduous trees is that they allow sun through in winter and provide shade in summer. Autumn leaves are a bonus, too, as they’re important additions to the compost heap.
Evergreen trees usually do better if they are planted out when they are quite small. Even tiny seedling trees can take off quickly and rapidly form a healthy root system. They’ll often overtake more established specimens that have been planted at the same time. With only a couple of exceptions, native trees are evergreen so they will require careful placing in the garden. Some popular natives are Brachychitons (kurrajongs and Illawarra flame trees etc.), lillipillies, bottlebrushes, silky oak (Grevillea robusta) and flowering gums. Fast-growing wattles are often used as nurse trees to encourage others because they grow quickly but have a short life.
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