Posts Tagged ‘trees’

Celebrate Earth Day Wednesday, April 22

 

 

Earth Day is a time when people from all over the world unite to celebrate the earth and appreciate its beauty. Founded in 1970, Earth Day was first organized in “to promote ecology and respect for life on the planet as well as to encourage awareness of the growing problems of air, water and soil pollution.”  Much progress has been made over these last 45 years, but there is lots more to do.

 

What will you do to celebrate? You can…..

 

– Plant a tree – it’s spring!

– Sow some seeds for your garden

– Visit a local farm

– Change a conventional light bulb to an energy-saving compact fluorescent or LED

– Pick up litter on the beach

– Take part in a trash pick-up

– Use a travel mug rather than a styrofoam cup for your coffee-to-go

– Drink from a reusable, BPA-free water bottle

– Recycle newspapers, bottles and cans

– Start a compost bin in your backyard for kitchen waste

– Make a commitment to drive less and carpool or walk more

– Take public transportation

– Shorten your shower by one minute

– Shut down your computer for one hour

– Pick up roadside trash

– Attend an Earth Day event in your area or volunteer

– Include your kids and grandkids and teach them about the importance of protecting our beautiful earth

– Serve an Earth dinner with local, organic ingredients; use candlelight

 

Coincidentally, I will be moving into our just built, energy-efficient, healthy green home, which after several years of designing, permitting, living in rentals and dealing with the headaches of building, is at last ready. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate Earth Day!

More blogs to come about what makes our new home green. Stay tuned…..

 

Some information compiled from: http://www.timanddate.com/

 

For more green tips, visit greenwithbetsy.com.

 

Plant a Tree for the Future


The social, aesthetic, and environmental benefits of trees are numerous.  They manufacture oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide.  They provide shade in summer and windbreak in winter.  The beauty and serenity of trees have been shown to help hospital patients recover more quickly. Trees reduce crime in low-income urban areas and increase property values.   Trees help us save energy and improve air quality, conserve water and provide homes to wildlife.   Large and majestic trees are an important part of the community.

According to American Forests, the national urban tree deficit now stands at more than 634 million trees.  Unprecedented environmental stresses are making it more difficult for trees to grow and flourish in today’s world.  Because trees sequester carbon and offset our carbon footprint, or the amount of energy a person consumes in their day-to-day activities, it is more important than ever to plant trees.  The average person produces 26 tons of CO2 per year.  6 twenty-five year old pine trees absorb 1 ton of CO2.  36 twenty-five year old maple trees absorb 1 ton of CO2.

Planting trees is a way for people to give back to the environment for future generations and to offset the damage done by their carbon footprint. Spring is the perfect time to plant.  Plant a tree for a new grandchild, in memory of a beloved pet, or to honor a special anniversary.  When it comes to planting, the smaller the tree the better.  Smaller trees develop a better root system and you’ll be amazed how quickly they  grow.    If you live in a condo, an apartment or have no place to plant a tree, americanforests.org will plant a tree in your name with a small donation.  Makes a great gift too!

Hot Tea!

Tea is tasty, nutritious, medicinal and “hot” right now.  So is compost tea for your lawn, trees, gardens and shrubs!

What is compost tea?

Compost tea is a natural organic fertilizer made from compost, or more specifically a water extract of compost that is brewed to give the bacteria, fungi, protozoa and nematodes a chance to increase in number and activity using the nutrients present in the water.   It is also a highly effective natural insect and disease inhibitor.  Compost tea is inexpensive and often an easier method of applying compost, especially to your trees and shrubs.

How is compost tea made?

Aerobic water steeps the biology off of the compost through an extraction process. Food-grade molasses, garlic, kelp, and fish emulsion are then added to the mix. The foods activate and cause the biology to multiply, creating a powerful, nutritious food for your plants.

How do you apply compost tea?

Compost tea can either be applied as a foliar spray or as a soil drench. As a foliar spray, nutritious compost tea deposits beneficial organisms to plant surfaces so disease-causing organisms cannot find infection sites or food resources. As a soil drench, compost tea develops a biological barrier around roots to prevent root disease-causing organisms from being able to find the roots. The tea introduces organic matter, which provides nutrients for the roots to improve plant growth and moisture retention.

Where can you get compost tea?

If you are in the Boston area, our tree care company, Boston Tree Preservation, offers compost tea treatments and serves as a tea center where homeowners can purchase the tea to apply themselves.  As the organic movement grows, many tree care and landscape companies understand the value of compost tea and are starting to offer compost tea treatments.  You can also find recipes on-line to make it yourself if you have access to healthy, rich compost.

Click on the video below for a demonstration on how to make compost tea.

Compost tea is vibrant, alive and wakes up your soil!  This spring, give your garden a treat with compost tea.

For more green living tips, visit greenwithbetsy.com.

Information compiled from bostontreepreservation.com.

Boxed Water is Better!

photo-2This past weekend I attended a delicious local food truck festival and discovered boxed water!  Not luxury, specialty or flavored water, but plain, purified water in a boldly printed box that says, “Boxed Water is Better”.  What a great idea – in the fast-growing water bottle market, it’s hard to believe it hasn’t been boxed before.

Boxed Water is Better, LLC, started in 2009 in Grand Rapids, Michigan with the mission of creating a new water company with simple, sustainable packaging, one that gives back to foundations and one with a lower carbon footprint than traditional bottled water.

About 76% of the box is manufactured from trees grown in certified, well-managed forests where new ones are constantly grown to replace those harvested.  Using this renewable resource, trees, which also sequester carbon dioxide, makes it one of the most sustainable beverage packages available.

The water is carbon-filtered, purified drinking water from the municipal source in each of their major markets.  The boxes are shipped flat to the local filling company, a significantly more energy-efficient way to ship, where they are then filled.  The boxes are easily recycled and can be flattened to take up less space.

photo-1-2 I love the look of the boxed water.   The no-nonsense black and white printing on the box simply says what it is “Boxed Water is Better” with a water drop.  One panel on the box explains their environmentally friendly, sustainable, give back philosophy.  10% of their profits are donated to world water relief foundations and another 10% donated to reforestation foundations.

Boxed Water is Better is working on US and international distribution in both small and large retailers.  In the Boston area, Boxed Water is Better is carried at Bloomingdale’s.  You can also order a carton of 12 or 24 online.  One 500 ml box cost $1.00.  Cheap!!!

While I still think it is better to use a BPA-free, stainless steel water bottle, there are definitely times when you need to buy one.  This is the solution for me! I’d much rather drink out of a water box from a company with a socially responsible mission than a plastic water bottle.   Look for Boxed Water is Better in your area!

For more green living tips, visit greenwithbetsy.com.

Take The Ecological Footprint Quiz

I consider myself an ardent environmentalist (I ought to be, right?) Even though I recycle and reuse almost everything and have been known to take things out of the trash that my husband threw away to recycle them; even though I always turn off lights when I leave the room and never leave the water running when I brush my teeth;

English: Compact fluorescent light bulb

English: Compact fluorescent light bulb (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 Even though I have replaced all my light bulbs with energy-efficient CFLs; even though I unplug small appliances when I’m away and use an energy-saving power strip that has made turning the television on even more complicated; even though I rarely eat meat and buy organic and local produce (just to name a few of my eco-habits),  I was shocked when I recently took the Ecological Footprint Quiz and found out that I need 3.5 planets to sustain my current rate of energy consumption!  The quiz, sponsored by the Center for Sustainable Economy, asks 27 questions about your lifestyle and the answers determine how much “nature” your lifestyle requires.  It estimates “the amount of land and ocean area required to sustain your consumption patterns and absorb your wastes on an annual basis” and allows you to compare your ecological footprint to others’.  My footprint was lower than “others”, but 3.5 planets is horrifying!  Naturally, the quiz is not totally customized to your lifestyle.  For instance, there was no place to put that I drive an electric car or that my husband drives a biodiesel one, nor that we have planted over 2000 trees on our farm where we are developing a life off the grid. Surely, this would have at least knocked one planet off my consumption level.  Nevertheless, it was eye-opening and scary to say the least to see how much energy I actually consume and need in my daily life.

Go to myfootprint.org to take the quiz yourself.  Sometimes a dose of reality is exactly what one needs to make positive changes in life.  The quiz offers lots of energy-saving tips.  Let me know what changes you plan to make!

Ecological Footprint Quiz Results

Ecological Footprint Quiz Results (Photo credit: acordova)

Happy Arbor Day!

With Earth Day over (though everyday is really Earth Day), it’s on to Arbor Day. The last Friday in April is Arbor Day, a national holiday dating back to 1874 when J. Sterling Morton, a journalist and editor of an important Nebraska paper, founded it. (Arbor Day does vary in some states based on the best tree planting time.) His idea was to set aside a special day for tree planting; it is estimated that more one million trees were planted that first Arbor Day in Nebraska.  The tradition began nationwide in 1882 and continues today with individuals and groups celebrating trees and nature.

Tree

Tree (Photo credit: Adnan Yahya)

Planting new trees and caring for existing ones is more important than ever as we battle exotic invasive insect pests, air pollution, soil compaction and contamination, limited water and nutrient availability and the overall effects of extreme weather conditions and climate change.  Trees are much more than just a beautiful big plant; their social, communal, and environmental benefits are numerous.

  • They manufacture oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide.
  • They provide shade in summer and windbreak in winter.
  • The beauty and serenity of trees have been shown to help hospital patients recover more quickly.
  • Trees reduce crime in low-income urban areas and increase property values.
  • Trees help us save energy, improve air quality, conserve water and provide homes to wildlife.
  • Trees offset our carbon footprints.
  • Large and majestic trees are a major asset to any community.

My photo, taken April 25, 2003 at Student Acti...

This Friday, Arbor Day, plant a tree, learn how to care for a special tree in your yard or neighborhood, read a tree identification book, conduct a big tree search, or simply take a walk and appreciate their beauty, especially this time of year.  For group activity ideas, go to arborday.org.


 

 

THE IMPORTANCE OF CARING FOR TREES

The large and majestic trees along our streets, on your property and in parks make up the urban forest. While we are aware of their beauty and benefits, we might not realize that many of our larger trees are suffering from environmental stress and neglect.

Unless we protect them, a majority of our heritage trees will disappear within twenty to thirty years. Air pollution, soil compaction and contamination, construction injury, exotic invasive insect pests and limited water, oxygen and nutrient availability has taken a toll. Mother Nature also causes stress with sudden ice storms, high winds, extreme low temperatures, a devastating spring snowstorm or summer drought. Many new large growing trees are planted in confined spaces with soil devoid of essential micronutrients.  And the life expectancy of newly planted street trees is only 25 years; it is unlikely they will ever reach the grandeur of the majestic trees today.

Trees are slow to respond to wounding and stress. It’s not unusual for a tree to die years after an adverse situation and unfortunately, an arborist is typically called when it is usually too late to save it. Root and branch dieback, decay and foliage scorching are all symptoms of stress and put the tree into a weakened condition. Weakened trees are more susceptible to insect problems and disease.

Image by sergies pics Flickr.com

There are several proactive and organic approaches to prolong the life of a tree and maintain its good health and vigor.

  • Fix the soil with organic supplements. Raking our leaves removes vital organic matter; toxic chemicals and high nitrogen based fertilizers deplete the soil of important nutrients.  We need to replenish the soil with amendments or compost.  Healthy, nutrient rich soil determines how well your trees grow.
  • A tree needs to be periodically inspected for structural defects, insect pests and disease.
  • Trees should be pruned properly and focus on removing dead, dying, diseased and broken branches.
  • Proper irrigation and mulching, especially in times of drought, are essential to maintain a tree’s good health.

Trees are not living statues – they need care and protection just like any other living thing.   Trees play a critical role in the health of the planet.  Please help preserve them.

Information compiled from Bostontreepreservation.com