A tree is a living symbol of benevolence that deliberately provides benefits to humankind. Trees are tall perennial plants with a well-defined, clear woody trunk with a spreading crown whose single trunk exceeds the diameter of 15 cm and attains a certain height and live for several years, and bears flowers and fruits.
Importance /Benefits of Trees:
- Trees supply us with life-sustaining oxygen.
- They provide food, fuel, fodder, and timber for use.
- It also supplies different raw materials for the paper, dye, and paint industries.
- Different forest products like gum, resin, rubber are also obtained from the trees.
- Trees like Cinchona are also used for deriving different important medicine.
- Trees provide shelter for numerous birds, animals, and insects.
- It creates the beauty of the surrounding through its colorful flowers and leaves.
- Trees are used in landscape garden making for aesthetic and functional purposes. They are used in the gardens as windbreaks, specimen plants for roadside planting and screening.
- Tree planting is highly advantageous to check air pollution. They give oxygen to the air and absorb the harmful Carbon di-Oxide gas from the atmosphere.
- Trees have a profound effect on checking soil erosion. The tap and branch roots of the plants bind the soil particles tightly between them, which checks the soil erosions.
- They help to maintain ecological balance.
- Trees also have educative value.
Selection of trees:
You should select the tree properly before going for planting. Different tree plants grow in different situations. So, it is essential to select the specific species for specific areas properly.
Selection of trees may be in two ways-
Ecological distribution of trees:
- Trees suitable for moist areas: Moist locality consists of areas where rainfall is high and longer duration. The soil remains moist, but not necessarily water logged prevailing high humidity in the atmosphere. eg- Alstonia scholars, Alstonia macrophylla, etc.
- Trees suitable for marshy land/areas: Areas that remain waterlogged for many years come under this ecological environment. Suitable trees are Eucalyptus rostrata, Tamarix articulata, etc.
- Trees suitable for dry areas: Dry areas include the tract where the rainfall is less and the duration of the rainy season is short. eg- Acacia arabica , A. nilotica , Acacia auriculitormis etc.
- Trees suitable for arid region: This ecological condition prevails in areas with scant rainfall and high temperature. Trees suitable for such regions are Albizzia lebbek , Albizzia procera etc.
- Trees suitable for saline tracts: Saline tracts are present along with the coastal areas where the tidal waves periodically submerge the land. Besides, vast saline tracts are met inside the country, where waterlogging is a perennial problem. The soil’s surface layer remains saline for decades or even for centuries. eg- Casuarina equisetifolia , Tamarindus indica etc.
Selection of trees for growing purposes:
- For shade: Generally, trees are planted to provide shade during the months. Trees with a round canopy or umbrella-like crown are usually selected for planting. Leaves that are large and have dense do not allow sunlight too tall on the grown common trees like Azadirachta indica, Alstonia scholaris, Ficus benjamina, Mimusops elengi, Swietenia macrophylla, etc.
- Specimen use: Trees planted singly for their attractive shape, beautiful foliage flowers, and drooping branches are called specimen trees. Araucaria cookii , Ficus elastica var.Decora etc., can be successfully used for specimen trees.
- For the flower: Trees are planted for beautiful and colorful flowers. The trees like Cassia fistula, Delonix regia, Lagerstroemia speciosa, Plumeria alba, etc., are planted for their attractive colorful flowers.
- For roadside: Some trees are selected along the roadsides for shade and flowers. Grevillea robusta, Ficus intectoria, Cassia fistula, and commonly used trees.
- For screening: Tall trees that are upright in growth are planted very closely to provide a screen look. Trees are too wide unwanted objects or sides. Trees like Eucalyptus sp., Polyalthia longifolia, and Grevillea robusta are used for screening purposes.
- For air pollution: Some trees with thick shining leaves are used for planting to check the air pollution.
The selection of trees will largely depend on the prevailing climatic conditions of a particular locality. It depends upon the adaptability of the individual tree. Trees of tropical climates do not grow well in the temperate climate.
Planting of a tree:
Site selection: The site should be at least 3-4 months before planting. The site should be such that it can get sufficient sunlight. There should not be shade from other trees. The land situation should be high or medium. There should be sufficient space for planting the trees.
Land preparation: Trees are perennial in nature and will stay and live for several years. Prepare the land once in such a way to plant trees properly.
Dig pits of 100x100x75 cm size at the selected sites in March-April. Dug-up soil of the pits should be left open under the sun. Then in early June, the soil should be mixed thoroughly with FYM or compost in a ratio of 5:1. The pit should be dilled up with the mixture to the sound level.
Don’t use fresh cow dung or raw manure as it invites white ants. Where the soil is unsuitable for plant growth, it should be discarded, and fresh soil should be collected from another place to fill the pits. When the soil of the pits has subsided after the first two or three showers or by water, the pits are ready for planting.
Spacing: The pit should be dug up at proper spacing. The distance between two pits or plants depends on the visor and spread of the trees to be planted. There is a common tendency to plant too many plants with close spacing. Such trees fail to attain proper height and occupy the space when they mature. For dwarf trees pit should be made 5-6 m apart, and the far larger trees’ pit should be 8-15 m apart.
Time of planting: Suitable time for planting trees is January-February and July-September. Where irrigation water is available, winter is considered the best time to plant deciduous trees. The rainy season is the best time for planting semi-deciduous and evergreen trees. The evening is the best time for planting. Plant a tree on a rainy or cloudy day during the monsoon.
Way of planting: The nurseries supply the one-year-old seeding or sapling for planting. An earth ball remains attached or intact around the roots. While planting, the earth ball should not be broken or removed. The roots should be loosened. The injured portion of the roots and branches should be cut off. A hole should be made in the middle of the pits that are sufficiently deep to receive the sapling roots.
The spacing should be placed in an erect position in the hole. Thus made, the soil is packed tightly around the base of the plant. Care should be taken so that the root color remains just under the ground level. It is harmful to plant too deep by burying the stem underground. After planting, the sapling should be given thoroughly watering.
Age of sapling: Year-old sapling is the best for planting. Saplings over two years old are undesirable, as they take a long time to recover. One-year-old saplings get established in the pit for a few days.
Intercultural operation (Care):
Weeding: Weeds have a very harmful effect, particularly on young trees. The deciduous tree species suffer more than the evergreen trees. Weeding is very important to prevent the shadowing and suffocation of young trees by vigorous weed growth. Weeds should be uprooted, and the entire pits should be kept from weeds.
Hoeing: Pits should be dug up with a hoe as soon as the soil is dry. The loosening of the soil increases the aeration, and ultimately, root growth stimulates.
Staking: Staking is necessary for the early stage to keep the tree’s stem erect and straight; otherwise, the trunk would bead, and the plants make abnormal growth. The stake should be strong enough and should be of the proper size to provide the support. Straight bamboo sticks can be used as stakes. It should be placed 5-7 cm away from the main trunk.
Protection: Young tree plants need protection against grazing by animals, human beings, and adverse weather conditions until they are completely established. Fencing can be given by putting thorny bushes around the tree, placing a perforated bitumen drum, or keeping a tree guard made of iron or cement.
Irrigation: Irrigation in the first few years must be given regularly and only according to the need of the plants. Watering during the hot and dry period is necessary.
Training: Training of young trees is most urgent. All the woody, malformed, or dangerous branches hanging over roads, buildings, etc., should be cut away. Damaged and diseased branches should also be cut away. All the cut surfaces should be painted with Bordeaux paste to prevent the plants from the attacked by the pathogen.