Garden Clippings: Planting Trees for the Future

Plant trees in public places for all to enjoy in the future.


| April 2008


How many times have you stood in amazement while gazing at the outline of a majestic tree? I'm not talking about the giant sequoias or other renowned trees of the Americas, but rather those that we pass by in everyday life.

I find myself in awe at the generation before me that had the forethought to plant for the future. Stately bur oaks grace many old homesteads in my area of the country, whether they still have the structure of a house with them or not. The people who planted these trees generations ago were not doing so with the thought that they would provide quick shade from the summer sun, but that they would provide something their grandchildren would appreciate.

I don't think people today are opposed to planting for the future, but it is sometimes difficult to think about the long-range plans for trees at a time when the average person could live in two or three different homes before retirement age. There is still a chance to plant for your future satisfaction, though, even if you don't plan on staying in one place too long.

City parks, schools, universities and cemeteries offer a chance to plant or donate trees that you, your children and grandchildren will be able to enjoy. Most all of the previous entities welcome the donation of a memorial or honorary tree to enhance the grounds. There are a few things to know, however, before such an offer is made, to avoid possible hurt feelings if an offer is rejected.

A tree donor may not be able to dictate the exact species of tree that will be planted on public property. Many institutions have a landscape master plan to follow when it comes to the placement and type of trees planted. These plans ensure that the aesthetics of the overall landscape blend together. For example, it would be difficult to incorporate a flowering crab apple tree in an area where a shady species is desired.

Another reason for a master plan is for the selection of low-­maintenance trees that fit well with ever-stretched budgets. While a flowering cherry is a gorgeous tree, there is also a lot of maintenance that goes into preserving a specimen, through insect and disease treatments, in areas of the country where it is not well-acclimated.





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