Plant a tree and tend it, make sure it’s watered, protected, and free of vines until it’s twice your height. Then plant another. Find saplings at the edge of a woods.
It is one simple act everyone can do that guarantees a reduction of carbon in the atmosphere and helps a local ecosystem in multiple ways without question.
Get your friends, family, and co-workers to plant a tree. The benefits of planting trees are almost too numerous to mention. To name a few: they absorb carbon dioxide, release oxygen, increase property values, reduce rainwater runoff that causes soil erosion, buffer noise pollution, cool your home, streets, and communities, and they can reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and improve one’s mood.
The type of tree you plant depends on what pleasures you want the tree to offer. If you want to see blossoms in spring plant a flowering dogwood, crab apple, or red bud. A fruit-bearing tree like pear or cherry have beautiful blossoms with the added benefit of fruit for pies which is always a good thing.
One thing to consider: The warming climate is affecting what trees thrive in which latitude. Here, The current mix of maple, beech, and birch is already shifting northward, and the oak and hickory forests south of us are headed our way. If you are thinking beyond the next 20 years or so, consider planting the hardwoods to come rather than trees that might do less well in higher heat, avoid trees known for easily broken limbs, and get good advice about any conifer.
But please don’t plant an invasive (defined as a tree that triumphs over native plants). They don’t support local wildlife with anything animals are used to eating. They diminish biodiversity and may harm the environment. These include the Norway maple, Ailanthus (tree of heaven), Callery pear, Amur maple, Amur Corktree, Common Buckthorn, Glossy Buckthorn, Black Locust, Box Elder, Quaking Aspen, Russian Aspen, Tamarisk and White or Sliver Poplar. Use a reputable nursery. It either won’t sell these trees or will label them as invasive. For more information, search for invasive trees or visit these sites:
- Wikipedia – List of invasive plant species in New York
- The Morton Arboretum – Invasive trees and plants
- The Spruce – 20 invasive trees
Maybe you are just starting a family and want to plant a sapling and watch it grow with your young kids. The tree becomes indelibly tied to you, your family, and your memories.
Maybe you want to provide a flowering tree for pollinators, or a conifer for a patch of green to relieve the unremitting grays and browns of winter. Maybe a large shade tree that the kids can climb, you can put a swing on, and that feeds the critters. An oak tree or native maple would be a good choice.
Whatever you want from a tree, there is one for you. And, for many years to come, you’ll be doing a little something to combat global warming. Just plant a tree.