Trees for Our Future

Posted by – Shawn Keenan, Assistant City Planner

Today is Arbor Day, a time to give trees the spotlight because they provide a variety of benefits for our community and environment.  Here are just a few of those benefits:

  • Trees help improve water quality by intercepting and absorbing storm water runoff
  • Trees improve air quality.  One single tree releases enough oxygen for a family of four over a one year period
  • Well-placed shade trees can save up to 20 percent on your summer air-conditioning bill
  • A mature tree in a well-landscaped yard can increase the value of a house by 7 to 19 percent
  • Trees provide habitat for birds, pollinators and beneficial insects

If you’re interested in adding a tree to your landscape, now is the perfect time to plant one.  You’ll find a wide variety or high-quality trees at your local tree nursey.

Things to consider when selecting a tree:

  • Select a tree suited for the planting site. Consider sun/shade, drainage and soils.  Also look up to see if there are any overhead wires you will want to avoid
  • Consider tree species native to Southeast Michigan, since they are well adapted to the local growing condition
  • Make sure the trees you purchase are northern grown, this will help assure your trees survive Michigan’s harsh winter
  • Select trees that have a straight trunk and are State Department of Agriculture Nursery Grade No. 1 or better
  • Look for trees with good branch arrangement. Good attachment angles (wider angles are better than narrow) with branches well-spaced both vertically and in circumference

Once you’ve purchased your tree you will want to plant it correctly.  It’s fairly easy, just follow the guidelines in the diagram below.  Make sure the root flare is visible and just above the ground when planted.  This means that you might have to remove some soil on top of the root-ball.

Once your tree is planted, watering it is critical for its survival. Water the tree at least once a week.  Distribute the water evenly over the root system and mulched area.  Keep the soil moist but not soaked.  Last but not least, replenish mulch each year by extending the mulch in a wide circle out from the base of the tree and always remember to keep the mulch a least 1 to 2 or up to 3 inches away from the trunk of the tree.