Nursery Notes: Trees contribute to well-being

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Sept. 21 was designated National Tree Day by the House of Commons. It asks us to spend some time in reflection on the link between trees and our lives.

Around a large part of the country, the beginning of fall is a great time to establish new trees in the landscape. Where we live, the soil in the earth is at its warmest point of the year. Trees, shrubs and perennials are naturally growing more roots at this time and sending their energy into the earth to be stored for the next growing season. I consider the next three or four weeks to be a perfect planting window. Get your new plants in the ground this fall and they will be ready to grow first thing next spring.

Here are some interesting facts about trees being presented for National Tree Day:

•Trees are the longest living organism on the Earth. In North America, the oldest trees are the bristlecone pine found in Utah, living to somewhere in the range of 4,600 years old.

•The tallest trees in the world are the coast redwoods in California. They can grow to 360 feet tall, about the length of a football field. Creston has a few impressive redwood trees.

•Trees breathe just as we do, except opposite. We breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide while trees breathe in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen. Trees help clean the air by intercepting and collecting airborne particles and absorbing pollutants like carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide.

•Besides providing us with wood, trees can provide us with fruit, nuts, maple syrup and even medicine.

Trees can help reduce the heating and cooling costs of your home or shop. Deciduous trees planted near buildings provide shade in the summer and therefore eliminate the need for air conditioning. In winter, the trees have lost their leaves and the sun can shine through, providing warmth to the building. Evergreen trees can be planted around dwellings to act as a windbreak, therefore reducing the wind speed and a building’s heat loss through winter. Shelterbelts around fields can also help prevent soil erosion from the wind in dry areas. Personally, trees are one of the main reasons I moved to this valley. We have the ability to grow such a wide variety of great trees here. They really have contributed to the economic well-being of the valley from the millwork to mining to railroads and agriculture.

Evan and Wendy Davies own Beltane Nursery at 2915 Highway 3 in Erickson.