Make the world a better place — plant a tree, improve your health


Make the world a better place — plant a tree, improve your health

Make the world a better place — plant a tree, improve your health

Let's look at "Do's and Don'ts" for tree and shrub planting. Here is a list of things to avoid when planting trees and shrubs. Surprisingly, most of this list was once recommended as proper planting procedure.

1) Do not amend the backfill with peat, sandy soil or manure. This practice can cause the newly planted trees and shrubs to grow like they are in a separate pot and never put roots into the rest of the soil. Even added organic matter will eventually decompose and cause the plant to settle too deep.

2) Do not dig a hole deeper than the container or the correct planting depth. (More on that in the list of do's.) The soil will settle and then the plant will be too deep.

3) Do not prune any top growth. Plants tend to grow back the parts that have been recently pruned. Planting normally removes roots, so roots will grow first if the top is not pruned.

4) Do not tightly stake the tree so it cannot sway in the wind. Severe staking weakens trees and keeps them from developing strong trunks.

5) Do not fertilize at planting.

Now for the "Do" list.

1) Dig a hole two to three times the pot diameter. Root growth is nearly all sideways.

2) Set the plant at the same level it was growing. This can be harder than it sounds, because plants often have extra soil even in containers or balled and burlapped plants. The plant's root flair is the critical point that needs to be planted at ground level and practically not below.

3) Remove as much burlap and wire as possible and especially all synthetic burlap.

4) Backfill the hole with the soil from the hole and water in thoroughly to remove air pockets in the soil.

5) Build up a one- to two-inch berm to hold water around the perimeter of the hole.

6) Apply a four-inch layer of mulch in a volcano pattern with a hole right next to the plant.

Here are some other quick tips. With containerized plants, slice down through the root ball in three to four places to help with root bound or girdled roots. With severe girdling, the root ball may need to be "butter flied" before planting. In clay soil, vertically score the edge of the planting hole to prevent a clay pan from forming that roots will not grow into. In sandy, droughty sites, planting into a slight depression is recommended.

Upcoming meetings

Mark your calendars for the following educational meetings. All of the meetings will be held in the Grandstand Meeting Room on the Finney County Fairgrounds beginning at 7 p.m.

March 20: "Tips for Growing Trees Successfully"

April 2: "Healthy Yards and Communities"

April 8: "Growing Annual and Perennial Flowers"

If you have any questions about planting trees or any other concerns, call David Coltrain at 272-3670 or email

4-H'ers growing up

Join the ranks of the famous ... join 4-H. What do Jennifer Nettles, Faith Hill, Al Gore and David Letterman have in common? They were all 4-H'ers.

It's true.

Faith Hill reportedly first sang in public at a 4-H mother-daughter luncheon when she was 7. Jennifer Nettles sang in the Georgia State 4-H Band and Choir corp. Former Vice President Al Gore showed Angus beef cattle in Tennessee. And before we knew David Letterman as a late-night talk-show host, he hosted a children's television show, "Clover Power," that featured 4-H members.

As we know, they did not grow up to be farmers. So if you think 4-H is all about agriculture and rural America, you need to hear about the 4-H of the 21st century. 4-H is a community of young people across America who are learning leadership, citizenship and life skills.

4-H is quite proud of its traditional roots in agriculture and domestic arts, but 4-H is so much more in 2014. Today's 4-H programs focus on science, public speaking, environmental stewardship, robotics, creative arts, small animals, horses, engineering and more. 4-H youth become community leaders. Many began their leadership role in their community clubs.

Members can take on leadership roles at many levels — club, county, state and national.

4-H'ers are leaders in trying to improve their communities through a variety of projects as an individual, club or county service.

Nationwide, 4-H leadership has produced 14 governors, 33 university presidents and chancellors and 31 company CEOs.

If your child is interested in being part of the same organization as 14 professional athletes, 23 recording artists and four astronauts, look into 4-H. For information about the Finney County 4-H Program, call Barbara Addison at 272-3670. Club members learn leadership, citizenship and life skills.

Calendar events

* 4-H Family Consumer Judging, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Friday at the Finney County Extension Office.

* Finney County Pig and Goat Sale, April 5 at the Finney County Fairgrounds.

Improve your health

Has it ever happened that you say: "Tomorrow I will start a strict diet to lose weight," and on the second day you already hate it and want to give up?

When we make a drastic decision, it's usually too hard to stick to for a very long time. Taking just one "small step" at a time to improve your lifestyle choices can drastically enhance your health. For example:

* To prevent weight gain of one pound a year, eat 10 calories less per day on average.

* Walk one-half mile five days a week for three months to burn the calories found in one pound of body weight.

* Two small food choice changes that improve health are to eat breakfast more regularly and to replace white bread with a whole grain type.

* Eat fruits and vegetables more often instead of selecting foods high in added salt or sugar.

* Read the Nutrition Facts labels on foods, and select the ones that are low in fat, sugar or sodium.

* Instead of drinking soft drinks, go for water or fat-free milk.

Gradually improve your food selections. Being more physically active will greatly reduce the risk of getting type 2 diabetes, or at least postpone the risk.

You don't have to make lots of changes. That can lead to feeling overwhelmed. Start by improving just one or two of your lifestyle choices, and you can expect measurable benefits to your health and quality of life.

Any questions or concerns, call Léhisa de Fornoza at 272-3670 or email

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