March 27, 2021
Plant trees and care for the trees you have

By Mary Reid Barrow

This week it’s time to hear what arborist Basil   Camu has to say about how we humans can help trees save the world.

Last week Camu gave a compelling virtual presentation to the Virginia Beach Council of Garden Clubs about “How Trees Can Save the World and What We Can Do To Help.”

The owner of Leaf and Limb, a tree company in Raleigh, N.C.,  believes that trees are one of our best answers to climate change.  Trees soak up water and carbon dioxide and provide habitat for most of the world’s terrestrial animals, among other great attributes.

But we are losing trees on the planet at the rate of a football field of trees every two seconds, Camu said.

“We must plant new trees and care for the ones we  have,” he said.

Last week I wrote about how Camu thought trees could save the world. This I am passing on some of his tips about planting and caring for trees.

🦚 “Plant native or near native trees.  Very few insects will feed on non-native trees.”

🦚 Plant the right tree in the right place.  Think about both the size the tree will be when mature and the habitat it needs to thrive.

🦚Dig a hole two-to-three times the size of the root ball.  Backfill with loose soil and organic compost.

🦚When you plant a tree, “don’t bury the root collar.”  The root collar is where the tree flares at the bottom to spread out into roots.

🦚 “Arborist wood chips make the best mulch.”

🦚 Don’t “volcano” your mulch. It will kill a tree.  Spread mulch around the whole perimeter of the tree but don’t pile it up against the trunk.

🦚Better yet, don’t rake leaves under your  tree at all, but leave them there as nutrients and homes for insects.  “In the forest, a tree has all the nutrients it needs.”

🦚Give your new tree water but not too much.  Feel the soil under the tree canopy.  It should be moist–neither dry nor saturated.

🦚 “When pruning always have a goal in mind.” Make cuts outside of the branch collar, the area where the branch widens as it connects to the tree.

🦚Think twice about using chemical fertilizers and avoid broad spectrum pesticides.  Trees are the  main life  support for insects.

🦚The planet needs billions of new trees.

To find out more about how you can help trees save the world, download Camu’s “top 12 tips for happy,  healthy trees.”

Do you have a favorite tree or plant with a story to tell?  What relationships have you observed  between plants and critters?  Who eats whom?  Who has babies where?   Send an email to



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