Inspiring people to plant and celebrate trees in our community, Vulcraft of Alabama distributed approximately 300 free pecan saplings in honor of Alabama's Arbor Week this past Friday.
While most holidays celebrate something that has already happened and is worth remembering, Arbor Day represents hope for the future. The simple act of planting a tree represents a belief that the tree will grow to provide us with clean air and water, cooling shade, habitat for wildlife, healthier communities, and endless natural beauty — all for a better tomorrow, according to the Arbor Day Foundation.
Loretta Bean, Environmental Engineer at Vulcraft, said, "We like to do projects that have an environmental flair, and for this one, we're doing it in honor of Alabama's Arbor week." This is Nucor's third year giving away trees to the community.
Arbor Week is celebrated in Alabama the last full week in February. Everyone in Alabama is encouraged to plant a tree during Arbor Week. Fort Payne resident John Montgomery always tries to plant a tree every year; he received four trees at the giveaway, one for each family member. "I think it's great they do this to replenish the trees because we lose so many every year, and with the drought a couple of years ago, we lost a lot of trees up here, so it's good they're putting the trees out," he said. "I think people should plant trees, and arbor day is a good way to remember to do that."
Step-by-Step guide from the Arbor Day
Foundation for planting bare-root trees:
1. Unpack your trees, remove all packing materials, carefully untangle the roots and soak the roots in water for 3 to 6 hours. Do not allow the roots to dry out.
2. Dig a hole wider than it seems necessary, so the roots can grow outward without crowding. Remove any grass within a 3-foot circular area. To aid root growth, turn the soil in an area up to 3 feet in diameter.
3. Plant the tree at the same depth it stood in the nursery, with plenty of room for the roots. Partially fill the hole, firming the soil around the lower roots. Do not add soil amendments such as peat or bark. Do not use fertilizer, potting soil, or chemicals on your new trees.
4. Shovel in the remaining soil. It should be firm but not tightly packed. Construct a water-holding basin around the tree. Give the tree plenty of water.
5. After the water has soaked in, spread protective mulch two inches deep in a 3-foot diameter area around the tree's base but not touching the trunk.
6. The soil and mulch around your trees should be kept moist but not soggy. During dry weather, generously water the tree every 7 to 10 days during the first year. Water slowly at the dripline.
Planting Location: To give your trees the best start, plant in a protected area with worked-up soil such as a garden. After 1 to 2 years, transplant to the permanent location when the trees are dormant.
Signs of Dormancy: Plant or transplant your trees when they are dormant. In fall: after the leaves have dropped or, on evergreen trees, when light-brown clusters form on the top. In early spring: before leaves or new growth appear.
Depth and Distance of Holes: Measure the roots of each tree. Dig one hole for each tree 1-foot-wide and 1 inch deeper than the roots. Holes should be 2-1/2 feet apart.
Fertilizer? Do not use fertilizer, potting soil, or chemicals on your baby trees. Such products will kill your young trees.
Watering: Keeping your baby trees watered is important during their first year. Keep the soil and mulch moist but not soggy. In dry weather, you should water generously every 7 to 10 days. The water should soak into the soil and mulch. Avoid watering so much that you see standing water.
Protection: It is recommended to put a fence (such as chicken wire) around your trees if your site is a feeding ground for rabbits, deer, or other wildlife.