You don’t have to be a tree-hugger to appreciate trees. They provide beauty, shade, protection and oxygen. They filter pollutants and sequester carbon. They can reduce noise and wind while stabilizing soil and reducing rain run-off.

All well and good, but we are going through one of the weirdest, hardest years ever with the COVID-19 pandemic. Trees are not exactly a high priority right now. But maybe they should be.

Research shows that being around trees can reduce your blood pressure and stress levels, and it can boost your immune system. Patients with a nature view recover quicker and request less pain medication. Children who play in nature are more relaxed and attentive. What could be a better cure for all the online time than being outside with plants and trees?

Urban trees are found to promote higher birth weights! Crime rates are reduced in neighborhoods with trees. And ask a Realtor, but trees add resale value to your home. Even if you don’t want to sell your house, a deciduous tree can help reduce energy use costs by providing shade in the summer and warmth in the winter.

Now is the time in Texas to plant a tree. Choosing the right tree is important. Look for a healthy tree that likes our region. Some good choices include oaks such as burr, chinkapin, red oak and live oak. Lacebark elm and cedar elm do well, and pecans also make nice shade trees. You can also consider smaller trees or large shrubs such as redbud, crape myrtle, desert willow and wax myrtle. These trees won’t be gigantic shade trees, but they can make a positive impact and might be more appropriate and attractive by staying in scale with your home and smaller urban lot.

Always, always, always take into consideration what the mature size of the tree will be in 10, 20, 30 years. Don’t plant a tree too close to power lines, buildings or other trees. You also need to check that the tree isn’t too close to anything underground as well. Before you dig, call 811 to have the underground utilities in your lawn marked for free. (For more information, visit www.call811.com.)

Don’t be afraid to buy smaller trees or even seedling trees. Smaller trees go through less transplant shock than larger transplanted trees. That means a smaller tree could catch up to the size of a larger tree. Once again, the Denton County Soil & Water Conservation District is taking orders for trees. Selections this year include a variety of oaks, some smaller trees and some evergreen pines. To get an order form, call Denton County SWCD at 940-383-2691 Ext 3 or visit the USDA Service Center in Denton. Orders are reserved upon payment, and quantities are limited. Trees must be picked up on Friday, Feb. 26, 2021, at the North Texas Fairgrounds in Denton from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Or, city of Denton residents can take advantage of the Denton Tree Initiative program to receive rebates on certain trees: bit.ly/392CUUs.

Once the tree is planted, don’t forget about it. For the first three years, it will need more care while it gets established. For more details on proper tree planting and more tree choices for our area, check out www.dcmga.com, email us at master.gardener@dentoncounty.gov or call/text us at 940.349.2892.

JANET LAMINACK is the horticulture county extension agent with Texas AgriLife Extension. She can be reached at 940-349-2883 or via email at jelaminack@ag.tamu.edu.



Source Google News