Isn’t Arbor Day a beautiful day to celebrate trees?
Since I’m a professional tree lover, and write whenever possible about good planting techniques and care of trees, I’d like to share some ideas with you.
Man climbed down from the trees thousands of years ago, but the trees are no less important to us now than they were eons ago when we called them home.
Trees are the life of the planet, along with the oceans: water and oxygen are the basics of life, and trees overwhelmingly refresh the planet with breathable air and moisture. They hold down the soil and soften harsh climates so we can grow our food in lush fields rather than brave wasted deserts as nomads do.
Simply, without the trees, this planet would be a vast desert with extreme temperatures and uncontrolled winds, sparse rain or snow fall … some inhospitable world out of a Star Trek episode.
Aside from doing Nature’s super job of providing clean air to breathe, it might be easier to understand a tree’s role if we consider how they work in our own yards, shading the house from heat in summer, and cold winds in winter, providing homes for wildlife and feeding the soil.
Tree roots probe deep into the soil, bringing up about 300 gallons of water a day. Not only that, the earth’s wealth in minerals and trace elements is drawn up to ground level and then into the leaves.
Nature’s own recycler, trees use those nutrients and then give them back to the earth, where more life shares them. That’s the single most important reason that fall leaves should be treasured as a store house of the planet’s limited resources, rather than taking up space in landfills.
In the forest, no one sweeps up the leaves. If they did forests wouldn’t last long. You can’t second guess Mother Nature. Diversity in plant and animal life would disappear. There is nothing so sad as a silent wood.
But it isn’t too late for us to learn nature’s lessons. Recycle your trees’ leaves as mulch and soil builder. Don’t bag those grass clippings, add them to the compost or let them lie where they fall. A good housekeeper, nature will make them invisible in a day or two.
Already, local governments have seen the benefits of recycling not only glass and metal, but have set up facilities where the riches hidden in leaves and brush can be redistributed to public parks, gardens and yards as usable compost or mulch. The project pays for itself because treasured places like parks can spend money on plants instead of mulch, giving us diverse gardens to enjoy.
Let’s encourage publicly run recycling projects to harvest nature’s raw materials. Some municipalities already provide that largesse of recycled resources to residents and public parks, but far too many bags of leaves and grass clippings still dot our roads on trash day. Public conservation needs to be encouraged.
Almost 100 years ago, Joyce Kilmer praised the tree and found immortality by that simple act. He handed off the baton to us, and that’s the reason we’re here today: to praise our partners in life. Long live the trees.