Thursday, July 17, 2014

Tree Planting 101: It Takes More Than Just Digging Holes on the Ground (Part 1)

If there is one activity that coincides with Earth Day that would be tree planting. Billions of trees are planted every year to compensate the unfortunate fact that billions of decade-old trees are uprooted to make way for buildings, malls, parking lots, etc. Tree planting in the Philippines is a common practice especially among the local industries, but do we really know the essence of tree planting per se?

Planting is simple, and yet organizing a tree planting activity that transcends beyond gender, age, class and even industry is no easy feat.  Here are the basics on how to organize the activity and make it a success. Before we proceed, however, let’s understand what tree planting really is, its benefits, importance etc.

What is tree planting?

Tree planting is an act of planting seedlings. It can form part of reforestation activities involving the community and the local, national or international government. Participants of a tree planting activity, for instance, are usually volunteers.  

What are its benefits?

The mere act of planting helps Mother Earth in many ways. Here are some of the benefits of planting trees.
- Filtering air pollution
- Aiding in water recycling
- Preventing soil loss
- Creating shade
- Providing animal homes
- Making food for both humans and animals

Why tree planting is important?

Without trees, there will be no life. FACT: Trees provide the air we breathe. A tree can produce about 260 lbs. of oxygen in a year enough to support 2 people. Essentially, we – humans – must ensure that we make up for the trees we cut and uproot. Planting trees, therefore, is our responsibility since we consume the biggest benefit of such!

Who can plant trees?

Anyone can be a tree planter. It’ll only take 5 to 10 minutes to learn how to plant a tree properly. Some organizers are distributing learning materials long before the actual date of the activity. Some chose to create a video and post on their social media profiles.

If performed correctly, we can restore deforested areas and thus create ecologically-sustainable resources to use today and in the future.

When should trees be planted?

Trees can be planted any time of the year. However, the right time may depend on the type of trees that you want to plant. In the Philippines, the planting season is from June to January when the climate is not too hot and not too cold.

If you are going to plant a tree alone, you might as well do it on an important date such as your birthday, your parents’ anniversary, etc. if you want, you may do it with a loved one. Through this, you can make the activity more memorable. Just always consider the weather. You don’t want your sapling to drown from excessive rainfall. Saplings do best when they are exposed to mild to moderate temperature.

Where trees should be planted?

The right planting sites generally differ although the most common areas are personal gardens, parks, schools, church grounds and workplaces. You might have to ask for the property managers or caretakers before you may plant a tree on that area.

For organized tree planting activities, it is the responsibility of the organizers to scout for locations and accomplish documents of approval before proceeding to plant. In most cases, however, organizers already have a place in mind, and the vastness of the area dictates how many saplings and volunteers are needed to plant the whole area.

In the Philippines, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon are the most common choices of tree planting sites. Nonetheless, there are organizers who prefer conducting the activity in the city where volunteers can plant trees on roadsides, river banks, etc.

That’s pretty much the basics of tree planting. In the second part, we will discuss how you can go about organizing a tree planting activity.

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