Thursday, May 17, 2012

How to select a tree to grow at Home



The wonderful thing about planting a tree is that in doing so we not only help ourselves but also perform a service to the world. If we were to go into all the benefits that trees provide there will be little space left for the topic at hand. Just briefly, one may reiterate that trees absorb carbon during their growth and that helps stabilize climate. Trees produce life-giving oxygen. Planted at home they enhance aesthetics and value of the property. Depending on the variety they may also produce fruits and other food besides. Planted in places of work, they improve work environment; planted on a street or park trees improve human habitations and planted in the countryside they adorn and enrich mother earth; all this while they work steadily to improve climate, soil and provide food plus shelter to numerous birds and animals.

One may have noted that most plants and animals serve nature and earn good karma just through the process of living, for example birds help spread seeds of trees and manure over wide territories. A human is perhaps the only animal that may do more harm to the planet than good during his or her lifetime. However planting a tree is a good thing that humans can do more easily than other animals if they choose to. In case one decides to plant one or more trees, the question that arises is which tree to plant. There are so many kinds. Selecting the wrong variety can lead to problems.  The simple way out is to just plant what a neighbor has planted or plant a tree that a nearby nursery suggested. One could make a more informed decision though. There are three things one may consider while selecting a tree - Adaptability, Desirability and Suitability.

ADAPABILITY

Not every tree will grow easily in every climate. Before you go about selecting a tree to plant, there is a need to find out which trees are native to your area and which trees are potentially native. Native trees are the trees that grow wild in the countryside or are common in the city or town you live in. Potentially native trees are those that are not common in your area yet, but will grow easily, if planted. There is no strict definition of what a potentially native Tree is, but for convenience we may define a Potentially Native tree as one that will grow outdoors with no fertilization, insecticides and will not require watering that is more frequent than once a week in the first year of its growth during the hottest and driest months.

A potentially native tree will probably require no more than monthly watering during its second year and no watering at all in subsequent years. It is a different matter if you fertilize the tree and water more frequently to speed growth and enhance fruiting in later years but that is optional. The advantage of planting a potentially native tree as opposed to a native tree is that one may thereby introduce greater bio-diversity in an area. Discovering what trees are potentially native to your area and bringing saplings to plant from distant places is another matter. In the absence of professional advice, it may take some experimentation. If such trees are is planted in a home garden or farm one may wish to plant more than one variety in close proximity. Incase they all come up; some can be pruned or removed later. It takes time to grow a tree but it does not take much time to remove one. The best option would be if there were government sponsored tree propagation centers in your area that provide required guidance and saplings at reasonable cost. Alas, few such exist and this is something city, provincial and national governments must consider developing.

DESIRABILITY:

A fruit tree may be excellent for a home garden or perhaps you want one that looks pretty. Some trees will be both pretty and provide fruit. There are trees like the drumstick trees that provide much food. Its fruits, flowers and foliage are all edible and highly nutritious. If you were planting on a farm you may wish to consider some trees for their timber value. Hard wood trees yield wood for furniture and construction and can be sold for a good price. A tree may be cut down without a guilty conscience provided one plants some more to replace it. If it were up to this author, he would oblige all farmers with land areas greater than ten acres to reserve at least ten percent of land for orchards or other trees by law. Such a law may come up in future as more and more forests are cut down to make room for more farms.

Those with farms larger than twenty acres may be obliged to create a pond or lake of around at least two-acre size as well to catch rainwater. This will conserve ground water resources and possibly fishery if they were inclined to it. It may be pointed out that creation of lakes and ponds to store rainwater is the proper method of rainwater harvesting. Directing rainwater deep inside the ground through pipes is the incorrect method. That leads to pollution of ground water sources. Water that reaches under ground reservoirs from lakes has the benefit of bacterial purification above ground and natural filtration through the ground. Such reservoirs once created can help water plantation during dry months.

SUITABILITY:

If you were planting a tree at home you may wish to consider the eventual shape and size of the tree depending on the size of the garden. It may shade out a potential lawn, flower or vegetable bed. Planted on the south side of the home it may block winter sun, unless it sheds its leaves in winter. On the other hand, a conifer or other slim trees will add grace to a home without producing much shade. If you are fortunate enough to live in a home with a large garden you can become more adventurous and plant several trees, some that may become huge, some that come up quickly and others such as a walnut that will develop over numerous years.

Many homeowners with a small garden choose just one fruit tree such as an apple, cherry or almond in cool climates or perhaps a dwarf mango or citrus tree in a warm one. There are small fruit trees such as a variety of limes and lemons that do not occupy much space and can be planted in large numbers even in a small garden. However, a tree need not be planted at home only. One can venture out on the street, parks and countryside (depending upon local needs, regulations and laws).

An excellent option for those who dwell in apartments is to grow an indoor tree in a pot. It will brighten up the apartment for a couple of years. When it becomes taller than three feet it may be shifted to the countryside during a picnic with a shovel and a basket of sandwiches with coke or beer. Do consider planting a tree, while encouraging others to do the same and then go on to plant bushes besides. You do not have to buy tea from a store if you have a tea bush, jasmine or white mulberry tree growing at home.

The picture is a photo of a couple of trees in my backyard that I grew around ten years ago.

8 comments:

ashok said...

The blogger editor stopped to work properly on my older browser. therefore I downloaded google chrome and tried it. This is the first attempt. However the picture that is a picture of trees showed up as a black box. Perhaps it will show up on its own later or I have some more figuring out to do about loading pictures.

ashok said...

but if I click on the picture it shows up properly in a new window?????

ashok said...

After this I went back to my old browser IE6 and opened the blog there. Over there one can see the picture of trees in the post. Something really funny is going on that I have not figured out yet. could someone explain please? it would be very funny if one has to use google chrome to upload a post and internet explorer or firefox to view it!

Vincent said...

The picture appears OK for me on Chrome, IE8 & Firefox.

As for the blogger editor, they have made everyone upgrade whether they want to or not. But you can go back to the old familiar version: see instructions here.

Vincent said...

For me, one sentence stood out in your essay:

"A human is perhaps the only animal that may do more harm to the planet than good during his or her lifetime."

I agree with pretty much everything you've said, including the above sentence, but isn't it odd, that Man has knowledge of good and evil, arising from disobedience in the Garden of Eden according to Genesis, together with the capacity for evil?

Odd that Evolution should throw up something which threatens everything.

The kind of oddness that makes us suspect a flaw in our perceptions or deductions.

ashok said...

Your response is very thought provoking Vincent. I would have to reflect on it more to respond appropriately.

Man has the freedom to choose and out of these arise good and evil choices.

I think Nature is pretty confident of its own standing and feels well able to permit this freedom, like a wise mother that allows the freedom to her kids to play or even mess around in the garden, perhaps with the hope that the freedom would lead to the growth and maturity of children.

Evolution works like that I think and it has further designs for humans to evolve further, all the while learning from their choices and the consequences of those choices

ashok said...

For some strange reason my Chrome browser just shows a black rectangle instead of the picture but the picture shows fine on firefox and IE. Just some setting or software problem that I shall hopefully figure out eventually.

Thanks for the information. Apparently in this computing world they do not believe in the old adage - dont fix it if it ain't broken - and we poor user have to constantly keep up with changes, some that seem completely unnecessary.

ashok said...

Thanks for the information on the old blogger Vincent, but perhaps it is best to get used to the new one since sooner or later they are likely to pull out the old one. Just wish they had not changed it so much though.