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Earth Day 2014 ... and why it’s important

Published: Monday, April 21, 2014 1:54 p.m. CST • Updated: Monday, April 21, 2014 4:17 p.m. CST
Dennis Taylor

Well this year the forecast for Earth Day, followed up by Arbor Day two days later, appears to be bringing outstanding weather. It could have come sooner, as I’m sure you would all agree. After enduring such a long, harsh winter, I’ve noticed people flooding to the outdoors as though they have been jailed all winter. I know the harsh conditions over the past few months helps me appreciate the outdoors that much more, so don’t be surprised if you actually find me hugging a tree in gratitude.

With warm weather, phone calls are not far behind, with requests for diagnosing plant issues or just getting ideas on spring planting. I often hear, “What can I do to help on Earth/Arbor Day?” It can be something as simple as replanting a garden, or better yet planting your first garden. I promise you’ll never regret it. One tip, potatoes by Good Friday. I have personally made that deadline once, but the potatoes are usually still pretty good. Last year I hardly had the chance to plant anything because Brian (my son) has grown very fond of gardening. So much so that he has doubled the garden in the last year. His mother did always remind him, “As long as you have cucumbers and tomatoes …” It’s always a sad day when the last veggies are picked for the year, but that’s why you plant a tree that can be enjoyed all year long.

Planting a tree doesn’t mean just digging a hole, throwing it in and never caring for it again. Like raising anything in life, a little thought should be put into it. What shape or size are you looking for? Where is the tree going? One important consideration in our urban forest is utility lines. Always, always, always call JULIE (811) before you dig. It could save you a lot of money in broken lines. When planting that well thought out tree, if questions come up like how deep do I plant or should I loosen the roots, consult your local arborist or helpful websites like ISA-arbor.com.

As I consider what Earth Day means to me, I realize there is a lot that could go into that statement. We recognize Earth Day (and Arbor Day for that matter) on a large scale once a year. But when it comes down to it, Earth Day is really every day to me. Until we pass on from this Earth, we exist in it together and should do our part to make it better — the present and future. Join me in making it better and plant your first (or hundred and first) plant on this special day.

Dennis Taylor of Princeton is an arborist. He works for Taylors Trees and Turfs in Princeton. Contact him at TaylorsTreesandTurf.com.

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