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Earth Day celebration: Plant a tree in your backyard

Earth Day celebration: Plant a tree in your backyard

Apr 14 2016

Earth Day is nearly here. On April 22, folks across the globe will rally together and do their part to protect the planet. According to Earth Day Network, this day began with the environmental movement in 1970, and the idea still carries great importance today. Homeowners have a unique opportunity to reduce their ecological footprints, from conserving water with artificial grass installation to decreasing energy use with LED outdoor lighting. Perhaps the most traditional way to celebrate this day, however, is to plant a tree. If you're a property owner and want to add some foliage to your yard in honor of Earth Day, here's what you need to know:

Selecting the ideal tree for your home
One of the best aspects of being a property owner is the ability to make your home unique to your personality and lifestyle. Fortunately, nature has given us plenty of plants to work with, and the array of options means there's surely a tree that will speak to your taste and backyard design.

While it's important to select an Earth Day addition that mixes well with the aesthetics of your home, you must also consider your environment, namely the size of your yard. After all, a towering evergreen might overwhelm a smaller space, and a single tiny Crape Myrtle may not do a large yard justice.

Size matters
If your home looks out on sprawling space, you have more options at your disposal - you can plant a large tree or several small ones. The following trees may benefit a go-big-or-go-home route:

  • Northern red oaks can reach heights upwards of 75 feet and turn a rustic red shade in the fall. These trees also grow at a rapid rate, so homeowners need only wait a few years before they experience this plant's dense foliage.
  • Bald cypress trees yield a brilliant, burnt orange in the fall, adding gorgeous color to a yard. With a height of 50-70 feet, these trees are great for drought-tolerant landscapes, though they also grow well in wet conditions.
  • Atlas cedars are of the evergreen family but produce purple pine cones, too. They grow up to 60 feet tall.

Homeowners of more condensed yards still have plenty of choices. Better Homes and Garden highlighted several small trees that add natural beauty to a space:

  • Kousa dogwood trees bear a beautiful combination of deep green leaves and white flowers, though the Satomi variety yields pink buds. It grows up to 25 feet tall.
  • Crabapple trees have red, pink or white flowers that bloom often during the fall. They also produce small fruit in shades of burgundy, gold and red. However, they may require pruning and watering during the first year to maintain their beautiful shape.
  • Saucer magnolia trees produce large pink, purple or white blossoms, adding brilliant color to a yard. Growing to just 20 feet tall, they're ideal for smaller spaces.

Determine a purpose

"Consider what you want from your tree."

Once you've narrowed your options down based on the size of your yard, it's also important to consider what you want from your tree. While the initial purpose may be to commemorate Earth Day, this backyard addition will be there all year-round and for decades to follow. For example, do you need a natural source of shade? Opt for a tree with more foliage and extended branches, like a Carpathian English walnut tree. Do you want to add some color to your backyard design? Select a plant with colorful flowers or an ornamental variety, such as the blue Chinese wisteria tree.

There are plenty of options for planting trees in celebration of Earth Day, though homeowners must consider aesthetics, space and purpose before making a decision.

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