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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Plant a tree for Arbor Day

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Iowa's Arbor Day is nearly here, and the best way to observe the holiday is to plant trees. Arbor Day in Iowa will be celebrated on National Arbor Day, Friday, April 29.

Before you get started, you want to make sure you're planting the right tree in the right place. A tree serves many purposes. It is wise to first determine which functions are most important to you when selecting a new tree to plant. The main functions of a tree are:

*Shade: Trees are an excellent source for cooling because not only do they block the rays of the sun, they add water to the air through transpiration. Plant where you want the shadow during the hottest time of the year.

*Beauty: Trees add color and can enhance your home depending on where it's planted.

*Windbreak: These are most effective when you plant trees in a dense, step-like arrangement of both conifers and deciduous trees.

*Boundaries: Trees can help delineate your property.

Once you determine the tree's function, you need to pick the best spot to plant it. To help ensure that you plant the right tree in the right place, there are a few things to consider:

Short flowering trees are ideal planted under power lines. These trees will not clash with the lines and will add color and beauty to your yard. Some examples of short flowering trees are redbuds, dogwoods and crabapples.

Large deciduous trees are best used to shade your home and yard. These trees should be planted on the southeast, southwest and west side of your home to provide cooling shade in the summer and won't obstruct the low winter sun. Examples of large shade trees are maples, oaks, spruce and many pine species.

To slow strong winter winds, many people use evergreen trees, but large deciduous trees work well, too. Windbreaks should be planted on the north side of your home, a fair distance from the nearest structure. Spruce, firs and pine trees make fine windbreaks.

Americans have been planting trees on Arbor Day since 1872.