How to plant a street tree

“You can’t just cut concrete and plant a tree in the ground,” says Rose Tileston, who is 32 and works on urban tree planting projects ac...

“You can’t just cut concrete and plant a tree in the ground,” says Rose Tileston, who is 32 and works on urban tree planting projects across the country as part of her job at American Forests. , a Washington, DC-based nonprofit organization To plant a tree in a public place, you must first get permission from the city. Many will be eager to grant it. Trees make cities more resilient to climate change by sequestering carbon, absorbing runoff, lowering temperatures, purifying the air, and reducing air conditioning costs and emissions.

Plant the right tree in the right place. “Are there any power lines above? Tileston said. “Are there any water pipes underneath?” You need to plan the tree for full maturity, even if that growth will take decades. Many municipalities provide lists of approved tree varieties to choose from. If possible, choose a species native to the area. For a better chance of survival, plant a larger tree, with a trunk three inches in diameter when measured four and a half feet from the ground.

A tree of this size is heavy; it helps to have three people working together when planting. Dig a hole one to two feet larger than the diameter of the tree’s root ball. Do it as deep as the root ball, but not deeper; you don’t want to cover the part of the trunk where the roots start to bloom. Gently roll the root ball into the hole and cut any thread or burlap. Back up and make sure the tree is straight. Fill in the dirt, packing it in as you go. Drive two wooden stakes into the ground and tie the tree in place. Water abundantly; young trees need three years of regular watering.

The urban population of the continental United States is expected to increase by 91 million people over the next 40 years. To keep up with this growth and climate change, researchers say we’ll need to plant some 31 million trees a year in urban areas. In most American cities, wealthier neighborhoods have more trees than low-income areas. “Some neighborhoods don’t have trees at all,” says Tileston, whose organization works with community groups to fight tree equity. If you are planting outside your neighborhood, make sure you have support first. “Don’t go into a community and say, ‘You need it,’” Tileston says. “Listen to the community to say, ‘We want this. “”

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How to plant a street tree
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