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Why Tree Planting is Important and 8 Steps to Start Planting

September 29, 2020

What is our goal for the climate? And why should planting trees help us with our goal? In this article, we explain to you the enormously important role in planting trees plays in achieving climate goals. To start on your own, we included 8 steps to follow your own tree planting journey.

Overview

  1. Our climate nowadays
  2. Why trees are so powerful
  3. The right way of letting trees grow
  4. 8 steps to start planting your tree

1. Our climate nowadays

From the beginning: The EU's goal was to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020 compared to 1990 levels. Did it work out? According to the Federal Environment Agency, 1% of greenhouse gas emissions fell from 1990 to 2014. Sounds great, doesn't it?

And the CO2 emissions?
It sounds less significant when we look at the worldwide figures published by Global Carbon Atlas. According to this, CO2 emissions worldwide increased by 46.6% between 1990 and 2015, through fuel combustion, cement production and land use.

CO2 Emissions

    How can the climate goals be achieved?
    It's the year 2020, and there are many ideas, technologies and initiatives. Specifically, the individual sectors - agriculture, industry or transport - should endeavour to reduce their emissions.

    Hand on heart: what can a farmer do about his cow dung? After all, this is responsible for most of the CO2 emissions in its sector.

    Personal responsibility: We are all part of the bigger picture. An example: if people eat less meat and milk, then a farmer is forced to adapt his business to requirements. That means fewer cows, more wheat fields. In other words, we are all part of the system. If none of us changes, there is no change in the system.


    And trees are part of the system. Or even plants. By starting to harvest your urban garden, you can live a way greener life and even stop the waste created by grocery shopping.
    That means: It is not enough to turn small screws in a single place. All system-relevant elements are required—every one of us. But the good news: The burden is not just on our shoulders.

     

    2. Why trees are so powerful

    There is hardly anything that can reduce emissions as effectively as reforestation. These are the findings of researchers at the ETH in Zurich in the specialist journal Science. Trees can offset no less than two-thirds of the CO2 emissions made by humans so far.

    🔥 Ancient tree in Madeira, Portugal. Photo by Anke Butawitsch from r/NatureIsFuckingLit


    Planting trees doesn't always make sense. That sounds almost too good to be true. So let's swing the spades and sow trees. Unfortunately, it's not that simple. There were also many critical voices on the study cited above.

    Planting trees is all well and good for the climate - but unfortunately, not all plants are the same. Rash afforestation can even destroy existing ecosystems by destroying their balance. This increases the risk of forest fires and pest infestation. Researchers from Texas A&M University in the USA voiced this criticism.

     

     

    3. The right way of letting trees grow

    Now it depends on how and where and which trees are planted. It's not about a single tree. It's about multiple trees, a forest. Or rather, it's about the ecosystem.

    All over the world, there are hectares of land where trees are planted, because the wood has a high value for our planet. The trees have little chance of survival because they have no natural ecosystem and waste surrounding them, which prevents a healthy growing cycle.

    Instead of placing trees mindlessly, we concentrate on providing healthy conditions for nature to grow by removing garbage and to create a space full of life and biodiversity. From the smallest ants to jaguars and trees - natural scientists and foresters make sure that everything grows and thrives in a natural setting. So why not play our part and support their work? Take a few seconds time and have a look through our campaign, directly supporting waste removal in nature.

    Hectare by hectare, step by step. Every hectare has the power to pull 14 tons of CO₂ out of the atmosphere year after year. And if that doesn't sound good - then what?

     

    4. 8 Steps to start planting your tree 

    Planting a tree is not complicated, but it is teamwork. We'll tell you how to grow a tree step by step.

    Overview

    1. Dig the planting hole and, if necessary, prepare the planting surface
    2. Plant pruning on bare-root trees
    3. Drive the stake into the ground
    4. Put the tree in the planting hole
    5. Press the earth down
    6. Secure the post
    7. Water the tree
    8. Mulching

    Trees should be planted in the garden during the dormant period, i.e. between October and March. The soil must be frost-free when planting trees. In areas that tend to be more drought and hot summers anyway, it is advisable to plant trees in autumn so that they can get enough moisture and take root over the winter.

    If you want to take a look at a quick guide:

     

    For example, apple trees should be planted in autumn. However, this does not apply to all fruit trees: Frost-sensitive trees should be planted in spring. Spring planting is also recommended for areas with rather heavy soils because the earth doesn't dry out so quickly there. In the case of spring planting, it is necessary to water carefully.

    If you want to be on the safe side, you should plant one way or another in autumn, as the summers are generally relatively dry and hot at the moment and the subsequent moisture to grow would be missing in the case of a spring planting.

    1. Dig the planting hole and, if necessary, prepare the planting surface

    Prepare the Soil to Plant Your Tree

    Dig out the planting hole and loosen the adjacent soil so that the roots can more easily find their way. If you are still a gardening beginner, have a look about our best tips to start gardening. The hole should be slightly larger than the root ball so that the roots can spread out quickly. The colour of the bark indicates how deep the tree was originally planted. It should be set that low again now. 

    If the soil conditions are not ideal, the hole should be about twice the size of the root ball. Heavy soils can be made more porous with sand so the roots can breathe well. Expanded concrete is also suitable for this.

    2. Plant pruning on bare-root trees

    Usually, trees are still pruned at the nursery. However, bare-root trees may even need to be cut. Shorten the roots of these by about a third and remove broken and dry roots. The crown should also be shortened. This ensures that the crown branches better and prevents bald spots in your tree from forming.

    No pruning is required for container and ball plants. Here it is enough to remove damaged and crossed branches. 

    3. Drive the stake into the ground

    Before planting, put a stake in the ground to which the tree will later be tied. This will prevent roots from being injured by driving the stake in. For bare-root trees, one post is usually sufficient as support; for container and ball plants, two to three posts are required, depending on the tree size. 

    4. Put the tree in the planting hole

    Putting the Sapling in the Whole of the Tree

    Make sure the roots are well hydrated before planting. Lift the tree into the planting hole. Check that the roots are well placed and not squeezed in. Fill the gap around the bale with earth or, in the case of heavy soils, with an earth-sand or earth-expanded clay mixture. If you like, you can also enrich the soil with compost or other fertilizer. 

    Of course, the planting hole must be big enough.

    5. Press the earth down

    Now press the earth down. It is important that the ground is firm enough that the tree is stable. However, the soil should not be trodden too hard; otherwise the roots will no longer get air.

    Common mistakes when planting trees:

    • Dried out roots: make sure that the roots do not dry out. Especially bare-root trees dry out quickly during transport and storage.
    • Earth is pressed too tightly: only step on the earth lightly. If the soil is pressed too hard, the roots can no longer breathe.
    • In the case of grafted trees - the grafting point is also buried: In the case of grafted trees, the grafting point mustn't also be buried. Otherwise, it can happen that not only the substrate is rooted.

    6. Secure the post

    Now tie the tree to the post or posts. Use webbing or tree straps for this. This gives the roots additional protection, and they stay calm even if the treetop is rocking in the wind.

    7. Water the tree

    Water the tree well after planting. A pouring rim is helpful here. To do this, pile up the earth in a circle around the trunk. It prevents the water from spreading; the water is more focused on the tree. This is the only way for the root ball to actually absorb the water.

    In the first year, make sure that the root area is always well supplied with water. Freshly planted trees should be watered less from year to year: in the beginning, every week, after five years then only once a month and later not at all. 

    A tree trunk with a small earth wall in which water collects.

    This is what a pouring rim looks like. The white paint protects against evaporation and sun.

    8. Mulching

    Mulching in Order to Keep Your Tree Healthy

    To avoid root competition due to wild growth when planting, half a meter around the trunk should be kept free of plants. Therefore, after sowing, mulching the area around the box is recommended. The mulch layer should not be higher than two inches. The mulch mustn't touch the trunk. Otherwise, it could rot. The mulch layer also protects against the cold in autumn and against rapid drying out in spring.

     

    We hope you could benefit from our guide with 1 or 2 tips that were helpful. Be aware that your actions take consequences - whether they are good or bad. With every single action you take for benefitting our planet, you will secure our future and plant a seed for the upcoming generation.

    Have you grown a tree on your own yet? Tell us more about it or your opinion on the subject in the comments.


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