Unitil Corporation, (Unitil.com), a provider of natural gas and electricity to customers in New England, is encouraging its’ customers to plant a tree for National Arbor Day.
“Trees are critical to healthy communities and when strategically placed offer important wind protection and shade for a homeowner,” Sara Sankowich, Director, Sustainability & Shared Services for Unitil, said. The nonprofit Arbor Day Foundation notes that trees’ shade can cool cities by up to 10 degrees. In addition to cooling, trees help combat climate change by sequestering carbon—providing clean air—along with wood products, food, animal habitat, beauty, recreation, erosion control, fertilization of the soil, fuel, medicine, windbreak, shade and jobs according to Sankowich.
It is important to carefully consider the type of tree to plant by determining how tall it will grow according to Sankowich. She noted that tall growing trees could interfere with overhead power lines and expansive root systems could impact underground utilities. Maple trees that stand 15 feet tall will also have roots that will spread more than 15 feet in all directions. “Homeowners should always call Dig Safe, 811, before digging to have underground utilities marked,” Sankowich added.
If a tree is planted within 40 feet of a power line, lower growing trees are recommended such as Japanese lilac, Kousa dogwood and Carolina silverbell. Homeowners can learn more about expected mature height and crown spread of trees they are considering at www.arborday.org/treeguide.
National Arbor Day kicks off the start of tree planting season and is the last Friday in April for many states, including New Hampshire and Massachusetts. This year it falls on April 29 and marks the 150th anniversary of the tree planter’s holiday.