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Get Out and Plant or Transplant Some Trees

April 19, 2008
By KENNETH COBB, For The Inter-Mountain
Everyone knows trees are living things. They are with us all year long and just as interesting to study during the winter months as any other time of the year.

Last year, I pointed out that trees clean the air by producing oxygen. They also reduce noise, provide shade and increase property value. For many people, trees are a joy to see because they soften the blunt skylines of city streets. One acre of trees can remove more than 25,000 pounds of dust and toxic gases from the surrounding environment in one year. Ice cream and salad dressings use a part of trees called cellulose. This product makes these items smooth, thick and creamy.

Not only do trees have leaves, they also have bark, buds, flowers, fruit, seeds and wood that are all worth studying. All trees have flowers, though many do not even come close to resembling the flowers of a garden. Detailed observation of the tiny flowers of timbering trees is just as interesting to study as the large flowers of a magnolia tree.

Certain trees are a wonder to behold. The Giant Sequoia trees of California are the oldest living things on earth. Some were more than 1,000 years old when Christ was born. The big Redwoods also of California are over 300 feet tall. Imagine a tree taller than a 25-story building.

People who enjoy being outdoors have always known that being close to trees makes you feel better. I like the cooling shade from the summer heat.

This is one of the many reasons I like White Ash trees. This particular tree is easy to transplant and is adaptable to all sorts of soil conditions. It grows moderately fast and provides excellent shade. White Ash is a tree to consider transplanting in open areas like parks, campuses and large lawns.

White Ash seedlings have also been successfully transplanted in the reclamation of many strip mines locations in eastern United States. A mature White Ash is tall with a broad crown often with bronze-purple leaves in the fall.

The wood of White Ash is valued for its strength. The best wooden baseball bats are made from this type of wood. As a young teenager, I learned about the usefulness of White Ash from building soapbox derby racers.

People need to remember that all trees have good and bad characteristics. Planting the wrong type of tree in the wrong location can only lead to problems.

Having to remove a tree is expensive, and it can be dangerous if you decide to do it yourself. Here is a small list of trees that many homeowners have regretted planting: hackberry, locust (any type), Mimosa, Silver Maple and Willow (any type).

Choosing the right type of tree should be a well-thought-out decision. After all, this is an investment in money, time and labor. The right selection can bring years of enjoyment as well as a significant increase in property value. I recommend that a person select trees that are native to the area where they live. Avoid exotic trees. These have caused problems such as spreading diseases, crowding out native plants and doing harm to the natural ecosystem.

Proper placement of tree seedlings is important for their long-term survival. A person should check with local authorities about regulations to the placement of trees. There are municipalities that have ordinances restricting the planting of trees within a certain distance of a sidewalk, street, streetlight, or other utilities. Remember power lines and trees do not mix. I emphasized this fact last year. When the selection has been made, take into consideration the tree’s ultimate size.

Try to be considerate of your neighbors. A tall evergreen may block the sun from the neighbor’s flower or vegetable garden.

Throughout the nation, there are communities free of taxes because of the income generated from community forests planted decades ago to meet expenses. A city forest is a project that not only provides income from lumber; it can also be a recreation area and wildlife refuge. Interested people wanting to start such a project need to consult a representative from the United States Forestry Service, state forester, or county agent, to make suitable plans.

This spring, I am going to try my luck at transplanting a shagbark hickory tree. I found this seedling in my front meadow last fall. It is just under 4feet tall and about 4 feet away from the parent tree that is about 40 feet tall. I know this type of tree is difficult to transplant because of its long taproot, but I think if I go at it slowly, I should be able to do it. A good friend of mine at the American Legion Hall said he would like to have it.

I attempted to dig up that Shagbark hickory, but it was attached to an offshoot root from the parent plant. Fortunately, I was able to find another seedling and gave it to my friend. Several years ago, I transplanted a hickory seedling that I got from the Izaak Walton League on Files Creek Road. It is now over 12 feet tall and doing well.

Earth Day is Tuesday, and Arbor Day is Friday. Let us all celebrate these two days by planting or transplanting some trees.



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