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There are endless reasons to plant trees. Trees improve air quality by producing oxygen. They also store carbon, offsetting harmful byproducts of fossil-fuel burning. On average, one tree produces nearly 117 kgs of oxygen each year. Two mature trees can provide enough oxygen for a family of four. When strategically planted around a house, they cut air conditioning costs by up to 50 per cent. Here is how you can go about planting a tree.

When to plant

  • Select the right time of year for planting the tree. If you plant your tree at the wrong time of year it's going to be less likely to survive and grow.
  • Do not plant in late spring or summer because the heat will stress the plant and may cause it to die. Of course, all this depends on the type of plant, because different plants have different needs.
  • Plant a native tree. Once established, they do not need to be watered as frequently and they usually survive a dry period without much watering.
  • Some tree species which grow well under most conditions are Neem, Jamun, Ashoka and Moringa.

How to plant

  • Prepare the hole or tree pit. Take a suitable shovel and dig a hole that is 4-5 times the width of the root ball, more than enough so it will fit, and give room for the fresh roots to grow without stress.
  • Clear the tree pits of trash and animal waste. Dog urine is especially bad for the tree because it leads to a chemical imbalance in the soil.
  • Don't leave a tree's roots out of its container or burlap for too long. Especially in sun and wind, it could dry out and damage the roots.
  • Do not bury over the crown (where the stem changes to root) or leave any roots exposed.

Care for the tree

  • Use some compost or composted manure if needed. If the soil that you currently have is not rich, has clay-like qualities or has the consistency of dust or sand, the addition of manure or compost will give the tree a great start in life.
  • Allow settling, backfill the remaining soil, and water again. This will eliminate air pockets.
  • Use mulch! Cover the planting hole with 1-3 inches (2.5 cm - 7.6 cm) of shredded hardwood or leaf mulch.
  • Keep the mulch 2-3" away from the trunk or the trunk will rot.
  • Don't over-mulch the tree, either. A few inches are enough to keep water in and most weeds out. Mulch a circle out to the drip line, about the same width as the tree's leaves.
  • If your plant needs support, make sure that whatever stakes you use are tied loosely to the trunk and do not dig into the bark or tighten around the tree.
  • Remove the stakes once the roots have a chance to become established, after about the first year.
  • Keep an eye for invasive insects which might cause the plant to die if insecticides are not sprayed or sprinkled.
  • You could go to a nursery and consult on the insecticide which needs to be used for the particular species and how.

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