How To Plant A Tree– MHH Day of Service

Planting a tree in Thousand Oaks

Today I learned how to plant a tree.  We helped plant over 120 oak trees in Thousand Oaks as part of Mormon Helping Hands’ Day of Service.  When we arrived at the place where we were supposed to plant trees, one of the city’s groundskeepers was there, teaching everyone how to plant the trees so that they’d live and thrive in this rocky soil.  Oak trees are native to this area, and are used to growing in rocky, tough dirt, but since these trees have been transplanted instead of grown in the spot they’ll stay forever, we have to take extra care.

The first thing we did was dig a hole that is about two feet deep and two feet wide.  That is no easy task in rocky soil.  I pulled rocks out with my shovel that were bigger than my fist!  Thankfully, the city’s groundskeepers had already drilled the holes with a machine, and back-filled them, so the soil and rocks were already loose, and not too difficult to dig out again.

After we dug the hole, we took the tree out of it’s pot and put it in the hole, filling in around the edges with rich, brown soil.   Next comes a very important part, maybe the most important part of all.  These trees are going to be on the city’s water drip system, so if there is a drought, we won’t lose all our hard work.  Nature can afford to lose a few trees here and there, but these trees don’t have established root systems yet.  They need all the water they can get!  So, when we were done filling in the hole, we took the extra dirt and made a “C” shape around the base of the tree so the water from the drip system would hit the little wall of earth around the tree and stay with the tree instead of running down the hill.

After we made a ring around our tree for the water system, we pounded in two stabilizing poles, one on each side of the tree.  Then we tied the tree to the posts.  The posts will ensure that the tree is not toppled over by high Santa Ana winds before the root system has a chance to take root.  We don’t want trees that grow sideways.  We want tall, beautiful oaks!  When the posts were all tied, we hammered nails through the rubber ties into the posts to keep them from slipping.

My little sister, Ava, had the job of hammering nails into the rubber strips.  She is very good with hammers and she hit the nail on the head most of the time.

It was really fun to do this activity with my sisters and friends, working together for a common cause.  I enjoyed it very much and I can’t wait until we do it again!

–Anna Celinda Rockwood (age 15)

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