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Life, nature among reasons to plant trees
Grass is greener...
Don GardnerColor
Don Gardner is an ag and natural resources agent for the University of Georgias Glynn County Extension. - photo by File photo

Before your calendar fills up, here is a good Saturday activity for March.  
At 8 a.m. March 21, the Coastal Bryan Tree Foundation will start planting 33 trees at the new Richmond Hill Middle School along the street island heading toward the school. The foundation will plant Trident Maple, Crape Myrtle and Eagleston Holly.
Planting trees really isn’t about the trees. Instead, it is one of the most visible and long-lasting statements a community can make about its faith in its future.  
We don’t plant trees for ourselves; we plant them for our grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  
The CBTF has been planting for the future while preserving the tree heritage in Bryan County for the past 15 years.
For those who can wield a shovel and spread mulch, many hands make light work.  
For those who are not as physical, you can help support the CBTF and the planting project by becoming a member or donating to purchase trees.  
If you don’t know how to plant a tree — and there are an awful lot of you out there — this would be a great time to learn at the elbows of some of the most knowledgeable and experienced professional and amateur arborists in Coastal Georgia.  
Andy and Katie Lipkis of Tree People in Los Angeles wrote a popular book within the arborist community called “The Simple Act of Planting a Tree.”   
They talk about the profound and beneficial effects tree planting can have on a community. That same passion is at the root of the CBTF.  
But from a practicing arborist’s viewpoint — like that of an auto mechanic up to his elbows in an engine block — there is nothing simple about planting a tree.  
Trees are designed to grow where they sprout as seeds.  They are not mechanically designed to be dug out of the ground, carted around the countryside and plopped into a hole.  
Planting a tree is not a natural act for a tree, but it is a very natural act for us humans.  
Around the world, human beings plant trees along important streets.  
Think of Paris; Washington, D.C.; or Savannah and picture them without trees. What do you get?  Detroit.  
The Romans tried lining the Appian Way with marble statues.  It was such a disaster it was never repeated.  
No, the history is clear; the image of a vibrant, growing, desirable city is painted with its trees.  
Planting a tree successfully takes a decent understanding and appreciation of tree anatomy, tree physiology, soil physics and chemistry and nutrient cycling.  
It also does not hurt to have friends with heavy equipment.  
Just as it is better to have a friend with a boat than to own one yourself, it is better to have a friend with a big, beautiful backhoe than to dig a planting hole and lift a tree into the ground by hand yourself.  
I love the sound of hydraulic pumps at a tree planting site. It smells like victory instead of Ben Gay and an early completion of the day’s work.  
We plant trees as crops in our rural areas for food, clothing and shelter. They meet our basic animal needs for survival.  
We plant trees in our urban areas for different but no-less-significant reasons — reasons that are spiritual.
We plant trees for symbolic dedication and rededication when we plant them to celebrate a birth, a life or an event.  
We provide dignity to our public streets with street tree plantings.  
We identify boundaries within our parks and at our homes with trees that mark our property lines and with shrubs around our homes to delineate our more intimate space.  
And we plant trees into our environment to provide a sense of peace.  
Whichever reason moves you — and they are all good — help the Coastal Bryan Tree Foundation plant some trees March 21. It’s a great and very human way to build community.

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