Phillip Elden: Plant a Tree, Save the World

Phillip EldenTrees are something that we take for granted, says conservationist Phillip Elden. However, deforestation in the name of “progress” means that the United States is losing thousands of these valuable resources every day. Anyone concerned about the loss of green space has the power to make a difference by planting a single tree.

According to Phillip Elden, each new tree that is planted provides many services to both people and the environment. First, Elden explains, trees help filter the air. Next, trees, of all shapes and sizes, serve as a habitat for small mammals and insects.

How to plant a tree

Phillip Elden reports that it is not difficult to successfully plant a tree, even one that has been wrapped in burlap and is missing part of its root system. He explains that site preparation is imperative. 

The planting process begins with locating underground utilities. This is important and ensures that you do not run into a problem with gas, electrical, or sewer lines. Next, Phillip Elden says to identify where the root system begins. He says this as an area at the base of the trunk where the tree begins to spread out.

Phillip Elden notes that the planting hole should be broad and shallow. Ideally, it will be three times wider than the roots but flush with the top of the root ball. The height and width of the hole are crucial because roots planted deeper than necessary may not develop properly. Phillip Elden explains that this is because of the lack of oxygen.

Before returning the dirt to the hole, which is known as backfilling, the tree must be positioned perfectly upright. Pack the soil gently, but not loose, to stabilize the root ball. Fill the hole slowly to eliminate air pockets as these can dry out an already-fragile root system.

Phillip Elden cautions against under-watering and notes that fertilization should wait until the root system takes hold.