Have you ever driven by a street tree with its roots overgrowing the sidewalk, or a sycamore with half of its branches removed to make room for utility lines and thought: There has got to be a better way! Well, the staff at many local conservation agencies have often thought the same.
When planted properly in a well thought out location, trees provide myriad services. Trees remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, they help save energy by providing shade and blocking wind, they filter pollution to purify the air we breathe. But don't take our word for it. There are tools out there like i-Tree with calculators to show you the value of a tree.
Cuyahoga Soil & Water Conservation District is committed to working with communities and partners to plant and properly care for urban trees. This year, Conservation Education & Communications Manager, Amy Roskilly has compiled information from the International Society of Arboriculture and Trees Are Good to help residents, communities, and contractors learn about proper tree planting, placement, and maintenance practices. These brochures are useful guides that detail everything from how deep and wide to dig the hole, to how much mulch and where to (and where not to!) put it.
In addition to these brochures, we have launched a Let the Flare See the Air! campaign. Trees in nature do not have mulch piled up against their trunk. A naturally planted and cared for tree will have what is called a root flare at the base. If you're tree looks like a light pole (straight up and down to the base), then it is either mulched too high, or planted too low. If you see this, we want to hear about it. Learn more here on our website: https://www.cuyahogaswcd.org/programs/let-the-flare-see-the-air
We are getting into the heat of summer which is not the preferred time for planting a tree. It is best to plant in the fall after leafs drop, or early spring before buds start to emerge. When planting mid summer you need to really ensure the tree gets enough water to handle the heat. If you planted or plan to plant a tree this year make sure you are watering at least once a week and more during hot and windy weather. Small trees will need watering their first 1 to 2 growing seasons. Larger trees may require periodic watering for 2 to 3 years.
Have detailed tree care questions? It is always best to consult with an arborist.
To find tree care materials, check out our website at: https://www.cuyahogaswcd.org/programs/tree-planting
We look forward to helping to reverse our tree canopy loss and return Cleveland and Cuyahoga County to their former Forest City fame.
Blog Author: Elizabeth Hiser, Watershed Program Manager