Tree Planting Doesn’t End At The Sapling

At the end of January, we read this story about a planting initiative in Turkey that didn’t go quite as planned. Only a few months after a record-breaking planting of 11 million trees, up to 90% of those saplings may have already died.  

While we love to hear about planting initiatives around the world, we’ve noticed a recurring issue that we want to bring some attention to: tree care. It’s easy to assume that once a seed is in the ground it’ll become a tree — that’s how it works in nature: trees shed seeds and seeds become new trees, right? Well, it’s a little more complicated than that. 

For a tree to thrive, its seeds must hit the soil in the right place and at the right time, weather conditions have to be perfect for that specific plant’s development, and the plant has to get very lucky as natural predators live and grow around it. This doesn’t happen as easily and often as you’d think.

That’s why our forestry team acknowledges works with the future in mind. 

TreePeople's Nursery

If you take a look at our events calendar, where you can find and sign up for our forestry events, you’ll notice that only some of the events are listed as “plantings,” while many say “restoration” or “tree care.” That’s because our arborists know that the trees we plant need care and support in the long run. 

TreePeople Zev Yaroslovsky Open Space tree care

It takes up to five years for a tree to grow to a point that it can take care of itself. During that time, we return to our planting sites with teams of volunteers to clear invasive plants from the area, water plants, restore berms, and make sure that everything we put into the ground will be able to grow and thrive without our help one day.

King Gillette Ranch tree care

Tree care is a vital step in creating a greener future and while failed initiatives like the one we saw in Turkey are sad to see, it’s important that the world understands that planting trees doesn’t stop at the seed. Trees need people and people need trees, and the more people who understand that, the faster we can move forward!