There’s a bit of a contrast in ideas when it comes to how people feel about autumn and trees. First, people relish the fall colors. Then, almost overnight, people curse trees when those same colorful leaves fall and need to be raked. Then, people love trees on someone else’s property. Or, they complain that they have to rake the leaves that blow onto their lawn from their neighbor’s trees.
All of this demonstrates that trees are a community affair. If no one had trees, there would be no enjoying their benefits and, if someone has trees, the whole community enjoys the benefits.
In springtime, however, everyone enjoys the beauty and fragrance of flowering trees and no one complains. As you drive around the Abingtons this spring, slow down enough to notice the variety of flowering trees planted at South Abington Park or the pear trees blooming on State Street. Also, take note of how the pears behind Colarusso’s Pizza and the flowering trees at the corner of Grove St. and Abington Road in Clarks Green beautify an otherwise bleak commercial landscape. In every case, official shade tree groups are responsible for the planning and planting of these community assets.
Perhaps the tree bug is biting you this spring and you want to add to the beauty of your corner of the community by planting trees. How should you go about this?
First, you can contact the shade tree organization in your municipality and offer to plant trees in the right-of-way along your property. In the fall, you may be able to get a large bare root tree planted on your property. Bare root trees are easy to handle and plant. I can carry a 10-foot tall bare root tree in one hand. Many of the younger trees planted throughout Clarks Summit and Clarks Green have been bare root trees.
Second, you can plant a ball and burlap tree (B & B) on your own. Stay away from container grown trees because the circling roots in the container will eventually harm the tree as it matures. For a B & B tree, dig a hole no deeper than the root ball and two or three times as wide. Put the tree in the hole so that the trunk is plumb and the root flare is above grade. Untie the burlap, clip the basket and backfill the soil, making sure there are no air pockets. Then, mulch the tree, being careful not to allow any mulch to touch the trunk. Water well, and water whenever your annuals, such as impatiens, need watering.
If this seems like a lot of work, especially for a large tree, hire a professional, making sure he or she follows the best practices listed above.
Joshua Arp is an ISA-certified Municipal Specialist, a Clarks Summit Tree Commissioner and an operator of a landscape maintenance business. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.