March 18, 2020

Noting the Importance of Protecting, Planting, Maintaining Native Trees

To the Editor:

One of the things I love most about living in Princeton is the trees. And our trees need help, because we are losing them at an alarming rate. Redevelopment, storms, elm disease, and the looming disaster of the emerald ash borer all make it especially urgent that we protect the trees we have, and plant new ones where we can. Trees sequester an enormous amount of carbon, and all of this is released shortly after they are cut down, especially when they are mulched. Conversely, a new tree takes carbon out of the atmosphere as it grows.

A few easy things anyone can do:

1. Cut overgrowing vines off your trees. Many vines are invasive, and can do serious damage. If you just cut a vine above the ground, the part in the tree will die. You don’t need to remove it from the tree.

2. Plant a tree native to this area. If you think that trees are too expensive, become a member of the National Arbor Day. They will send you dozens of saplings for hardly any money with instructions for planting and care. These tiny trees are fragile and many of them may not make it, so plant a bunch. It’s incredibly satisfying to see them grow up.

3. Protect your (new) trees from deer. Unfortunately we have a serious deer overpopulation in and around our town, and they love to eat bark and tops off small trees, particularly native ones. There are many ways to protect your trees, and they don’t need to be elaborate and expensive.

What good is accepting the science of climate change, if we continue to act as if it’s a hoax?  The best time for planting a tree was yesterday; the next best is this spring. Happy planting!

Véronique Oomen
Linwood Circle