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National Tree Day

Sunday 29 July is National Tree Day. Now into its seventeenth year the Planet Ark event is designed to engage communities around Australia, promoting the care of the environment by way of Australia’s biggest community tree-planting. It’s simple -plant (and care for) a native tree or shrub to improve our natural environment and raise awareness of the need for its protection.

Tree Day is all about native trees and shrubs and the rejuvenation of your local area -the idea being that natives will stand more chance of survival, even in a drought. Each year more than a quarter of a million people take part with over one million seedlings planted on average every year since its inception in 1996.

Any garden with a diverse range of native trees and shrubs, apart from being waterwise, will also provide housing for our native animals. However, whether you are planting for Tree Day or merely planting something in your own garden the guidelines are pretty much the same.

Firstly, find out which natives are suited to your local area, either via your local council or garden centre. The next step is to determine the type of soil you have to work with as this can determine what you plant and also how it is cared for.

Soak the seedlings before you plant them -a tray or bucket of diluted seaweed extract is good to reduce any stress on plants. Make sure you retain the same soil level on the trunk as it is in its pot. A shallow depression around the tree to catch rain is also a good idea and mulch to conserve moisture in the soil.

Anything you plant should be monitored closely for the first three months after you plant it -even native, drought-tolerant plants need regular watering in the initial stages as they establish. A deep soaking every week (depending on your soil and weather conditions) is believed better than light, frequent watering as it encourages stronger, deeper root development.

There are over 3500 community sites with native trees and shrubs waiting to be planted on National Tree Day, with most also providing gloves and tools on the day. So why not get involved? Become a community co-ordinator and supervise a tree planting site or just turn up in your long trousers prepared to get dirty.

Visit www.treeday.planetark.org or call 1300 88 5000 to find your nearest site.

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